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Arnaldo Bagnasco

In 2004, the beginning of the political year was marked by an intense

focus on the middle class. Even earlier, during the closing months

of the previous year, the public had been alerted to the middle class

as an issue by virtue of journalistic investigations documenting the

malaise of social groups, which, all things considered, had been supposed

to be in good or passable health up to that point. There was

talk of poverty among vulnerable sections of the population, but not

yet of the impoverishment of the middle classes. Whether or not the

middle class was indeed becoming poorer then became the main focus

of the discussion. In this chapter we shall try to see how the question

emerged, how far it corresponds with the facts, and, finally, its significance

for Italian politics. With this in mind, we shall be asking, in particular,

whether in future the crisis of the middle class is destined to be

an important topic and recognized as such in the political arena.

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Stiletto Socialism

Social Class, Dressing Up, and Women's Self-Positioning in Socialist Slovenia

Polona Sitar

Following the communist takeover in Yugoslavia in 1945, a new middle class emerged with sufficient economic and cultural capital to be spent on material goods. This new class was defined primarily in cultural terms and less by socioeconomic

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Women's Work and Men

Generational and Class Dimensions of Men's Resistance to Women's Paid Employment in State-Socialist Poland (1956–1980)

Natalia Jarska

, Mark Pittaway has explicitly related this resistance to “working-class masculinity.” 5 Recently, scholarship on men and masculinities in postwar Central and Eastern Europe has challenged the argument that state socialism did not attempt to reshape men

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Masculinity on Stage

Dueling in the Greek Capital, 1870–1918

Dimitra Vassiliadou

manifestation. The duel, from the second half of the nineteenth century to its decline sometime within the first third of the twentieth century, was defined as a modern practice conveying particular middle-class characteristics. 1 Following recent trends in the

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“Maternal Impressions”

Disability Memoirs in Socialist Poland

Natalia Pamula

hear, which, ultimately, did not affect him. Sport enabled him to “transcend impairment” 46 and granted him first-class citizenship. Success in sport, similarly to reading lips, contributed to the symbolic erasure of his disability. Domańska

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‘Men Don't Cry Over Women’

Expressions of Love and Grief in Egyptian Popular Music

Ahmed Abdelazim

you, I won't be able to live’. The expression of vulnerability, depression and helplessness of a man who is dumped by his female lover has become, in recent years, a common theme in the lower-working-class music referred to as mahragānāt , the

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Hybridization and Purification

The Experiences of Mizrachi Middle-Class Adolescents in Israel

Guy Abutbul Selinger

In contrast to the view, expressed widely in public and in academic discourses, that ethnic categories are no longer significant in explaining Israeli social processes and that ethnic relations have become less hierarchical, this study demonstrates the continuing importance of ethnicity and hierarchical relations in Israeli society. Their importance is reflected in the social processes undergone by middle-class Mizrachi adolescents. Mizrachi families endow their adolescents with family capital—that is, social and cultural patterns—similar to that of middle-class Ashkenazi families. However, because these social and cultural patterns are identified as Ashkenazi, public discourses and practices signify for Mizrachi adolescents their ethnic identity and thus restore the blurred ethnic boundary. This signification is done through mechanisms of 'hybridization' and 'purification', as discussed in the article. These cultural mechanisms maintain the hierarchical relations between Mizrachi and Ashkenazi Jews within Israel's middle class.

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Guest Editors' Introduction

Football and Society in Israel—a Story of Interdependence

Tamar Rapoport and Amir Ben Porat

Israel, where it has been played every weekend all over the country since before the establishment of the state. Football is not just a game that children and adults love to play and watch; it also involves individual, group, and collective identities, and local and national identification. Football reflects, and often accentuates, political and social conflicts that highlight ethno-national, class, political, and gender hierarchies and tensions in society. The game is largely dependent on the surrounding context(s) that determines its “relative autonomy,” which shapes its distinguished fandom culture(s) and practices (Rapoport 2016).

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Sergio Rizzo and Gian Antonio Stella

In this chapter, the efforts of the Italian ruling class to cut the costs of politics during 2012 are analyzed. An informal division of labor was established between Monti's executive, which was to take care of budgetary problems, and the Parliament, which was supposed to tackle the frequent scandals of corruption and public money mismanagement. The results of the latter's efforts were amply (and predictably) disappointing, justifying once more the low levels of trust that citizens display toward politicians. In particular, we consider five points: the expenditure cuts by the constitutional bodies, the failure to reduce the number of MPs, the effort to cut back on the public funding of political parties, the “anarchy” of regional expenditures, and the inability to decide about the abolition of provincial government.

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The Decline of Rome

The Never-Ending Crisis in the Capital

Giada Zampano

The first female mayor in Rome’s history, Virginia Raggi, is faced with a dual challenge. First, she must try to solve the chronic problems of a city mired in debt and struggling with an ongoing emergency caused by chronic traffic problems and chaotic waste disposal. Then the young mayor must experiment with new ways of exercising power to establish the transparency required to restore the reputation of a political class that has led Rome to become known as the “Mafia Capital,” with its own “in-between world” made up of corrupt politicians, business people, and criminals. Since assuming office, Raggi has faced a political impasse, and her administration has suffered an embarrassing string of resignations and judicial scandals that have brought into question the city’s future prospects. Rome is now at a crossroads that may lead to either a much-awaited renaissance or a definitive meltdown.