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01/2022 – WHAT IF…: la letteratura ucronica tra realtà storica, finzione e politica

ISSN: 2037-495X
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congetture & confutazioni: mattarella dopo mattarella

Leader senza partiti, partiti senza leader Sofia Ventura

La cerimonia cannibale dei candidati al Quirinale. Come la logica dei media condiziona un rito non mediatico Luigi Di Gregorio

La fiera delle vanità Fabio Martini

I partiti populisti, il sistema politico, la crisi, le alternative. Un’interpretazione possibile Marco Damiani

Il bis del bis: un bisbiglio di innovazione costituzionale? Alessandro Sterpa

Le tre sfide emergenti dopo la rielezione del Presidente Mattarella Francesco Clementi


dossier: what if… l’ucronia tra letteratura, storia e politica

Un gioco maledettamente serio. La letteratura ucronica tra realtà storica, finzione e politica

Federico Trocini

Il revisionismo assoluto dell’ucronia, ovvero di tutti i futuri possibili Gianfranco de Turris

E se Hitler e Mussolini…? Il mondo dell’ucronia all’ombra della svastica e del fascio littorio Federico Trocini

La ghianda e la quercia. Le donne e il tempo in Swastika Night di Katharine Burdekin Annamaria Loche

Un’altra Germania. Voci dalla notte della storia Alessandro Fambrini

Mussolini nella letteratura ucronica italiana Emiliano Marra


osservatorio italiano

La comunicazione social di Giorgia Meloni. Retorica populista e costruzione dell’identità nazionale Silvia Gazzola


politica comparata

I regimi autoritari contemporanei tra aggiornamento, sopravvivenza e crisi Loretta dell’Aguzzo

Il rafforzamento del capo del governo durante la pandemia di Covid-19: il caso di Angela Merkel Michelangelo Vercesi


osservatorio internazionale

Il Dragone, l’Aquila e il ritorno geopolitico dei supercontinenti Giuseoo Giuseppe Romeo


Notizie sugli Autori






Federico Trocini, A Damn Serious Game. Alternate History between Reality, Fiction and Politics

The aim of this introductory essay is to explain what alternative history actually is. To this end, it investigates the conceptual assumptions on which it is based; how it redefines, from a postmodernist perspective, the relationship between historical truth and fiction; what political uses it lends to; how it relates to the science fiction and dystopian genres; and finally how it contributes to a more problematic reflection on the infinite possibilities of history. After tracing its genesis over the centuries, it then focuses on that portion of alternate history, which, by developing the “scandalous” hypothesis of a Nazi-Fascist victory after the Second World War, sought to exorcise the nightmare of a past that might reappear and, in so doing, to normalise the memory of Nazi-Fascism.


Federico Trocini, What if Hitler and Mussolini…? The World of Alternate History in the Shadow of the Swastika and of the fascio littorio

This essay focuses on the international uchronian literature, which, from the 1930s and 1940s to the present, has developed the counterfactual hypothesis of a worldwide political triumph of Nazi-Fascism. It consists of two parts. The first examines the three main ways in which this hypothesis was developed and the main functions it served. In the second part, it then analyses the Italian case, highlighting its peculiarities compared to the international panorama.


Gianfranco de Turris, The Absolute Revisionism of the Uchrony, i.e. of all Possible Futures

Is it possible that even apparently minor events have a profound influence on the course of history? In so doing, is it possible that their different development could even challenge the most traditional conceptions of history? These are the main questions this essay aims to answer, in the belief that history is actually like a tree with countless virtual branches. Passing through the reflections carried out by Adriano Tilgher in Il casualismo critico (1941) and by Guido Morselli in Contro-passato prossimo (1975), it clarifies the conceptual presuppositions at the basis of the counterfactual speculation, illustrates the different approaches and finally highlights its anti-deterministic potential.


Annamaria Loche, The Acorn and the Oak. Women and Time in Katharine Burdekin’s Swastika Night

Undoubtedly, uchronia is a distinctive characteristic of dystopia: Burdekin in her “feminist” dystopia, Swastika Night, gives a crucial role to women and time. Firstly, socio-political changes occur in time and these changes produce seemingly definitive transformations in society and in human beings. Secondly, the time of the dystopia is not casted only into the future, because, in the years in which Burdekin writes (1937), Nazism is already a realised dystopia. Finally, the conclusion of the novel seems to suggest that the dystopia will have an end. But such an outcome would not be possible without women’s crucial role against the Nazi domination.


Alessandro Fambrini, Another Germany. Voices from the Night of History

In the last decade of the 20th Century, a debate on the “impossible” hypothesis of a victory of the Third Reich in the Second World War runs through German historiography: it reflects an apparently dispassionate vision, which translates a clear trend towards normalization after 1989. «If Hitler had won, National Socialism would have been suffocated in its own radicalism, or it would have become bourgeois», writes Alexander Demandt in 1995. Otto Basil’s novel, Wenn das der Führer wüsste (1966), anticipates this debate by more than two decades. In fact, it develops the motif of “Nazism after Nazism” in a uchronian key, denying those later normalizing perspectives and outlining scenarios in which, far from having evolved along lines congruent with the bed of history as we know it, National Socialist hegemony has given rise to a regime in which repression and terror appear widespread and frightening. This paper aims to summarize his novel and its narrative strategies.


Emiliano Marra, Depictions of Benito Mussolini in Italian Alternative History Tales

Counterfactual hypotheses about fascist regime outliving World War II are common scenarios in Italian alternative history tales. In these works, the figure of Benito Mussolini has been significant since the genre’s debut in the Italian context with Ramperti’s Benito I imperatore. This paper offers a review of Mussolini’s portrayals in Italian alternative history literature, covering a frame of time from the period immediately after World War II’s end to the 2010s. Different kinds of Duce’s depictions and different reasons of his possible absence from the narrative landscape are both analysed.


Silvia Gazzola, The Social Communication di Giorgia Meloni’s Communication through Social Media. Populist Rhetoric and the Construction of National Identity

The literature on the populist phenomenon in the Italian panorama has given little relevance to Giorgia Meloni, leader of the right-wing party ‘Brothers of Italy’ (Fratelli d’Italia) which today is competing for national primacy after an increase of more than 14 percentage points in just two years. This study aims to partially fill this gap by offering a broad and in-depth overview of Giorgia Meloni’s communication on social media, with particular attention to adherence to the principles of populist rhetoric starting from those identified by Martin Reisigl. The presence of these principles was sought in tweets published by @GiorgiaMeloni account in 2018-2021 period, with a particular focus to the electoral campaigns for the national political (2018) and the European Parliament (2019) elections, the Covid-19 pandemic communication and the opposition to the Mario Draghi government (2020-21). The most interesting results were obtained from the analysis of political emotions, dramatization strategies, dynamics of celebrity politics, and rhetorical mechanisms aimed at building national identity, core of the right-wing sovereignist party.


Loretta Dell’Aguzzo, Upgrading, Survival and Crisis in Contemporary Authoritarian Regimes

During last decades non-democratic regimes have received increased attention. The new wave of studies on authoritarianism has been dominated by the neo-institutionalist approach, which has focused on the impact of pseudo-democratic institutions on authoritarian resilience. According to most studies, dictators adopt formal political institutions because they perform specific functions that favor autocratic survival. Yet, pseudo-democratic institutions presents several risks for dictators’ survival and, aware of the threats that may stem from their adoption, autocratic leaders tend to introduce them only when they face domestic or international pressures and when other survival strategies are exhausted or unavailable.

Against this background, I suggests that researchers should be wary of considering the introduction of legislatures, parties and elections as a signal of authoritarian upgrading and treat them as mere survival strategies, whose adoption entails not only opportunities but also relevant dangers for the incumbents. Moreover, I suggest to focus also on other factors, especially on economic resources and international sponsors, that could influence authoritarian stability. Actually, empirical evidence shows that changes in the authoritarian pact due to negative economic performance are associated with higher risks of regime breakdown. Also external sponsors may enhance, through their support, the capacity of autocracies to face domestic threats. On the contrary, democratic powers are believed to decrease the degree of freedom of their illiberal allies and induce them to adopt decisions that may reduce their chances of survival.


Michelangelo Vercesi, The Strengthening of the Chief Executive during the Covid-19 Pandemic: The Case of Angela Merkel

Combining literatures on the presidentialization of politics and political crisis leadership, this article analyzes the way in which the German Chancellor Angela Merkel managed the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. Moreover, it investigates the impact, if any, of the crisis on the ‘monocratization’ of German executive politics. The findings show that Merkel was successful in personalizing crisis management. In particular, she took advantage of a process (albeit relative) of monocratization, which had been characterizing Germany for some years. The outcome has been the enhancement of the informal policy-making power of the chief executive.


Giuseppe Romeo, The Dragon, the Eagle and the geopolitical return of supercontinents

The rise of China on a global scale – from a technological, economic, political and military point of view – brings to the attention of academics, historians and analysts of international relationships, the theme of supercontinents and geopolitical importance which – if we also look at the role that the United States continues to play – they seem to increasingly cover. The dominant idea, in this new form of power configuration, consists in concentrating and then distributing the ability for political action in a broad sense outside its own nation and continent by aggregating spaces made economically homogeneous.