Research Proposal #8: Qualitative Data Sources for Interpretivist Research

I am proposing to research the changing meaning of various Italian national anthems from 1922 to the present. I would like to find out what discourses explain the differences in the Italian national anthems Giovenezza, Marcia Reale, and Il Canto degli Italiani. This research attempts to explain to readers how actors such as the Italian public and the government portrayed the three different anthems, each sharing similar lyrical meanings and original intentions, in different ways. [1]

The piece that first introduced me to the discourse surrounding the Italian national anthem is The Role of Music in Fascism Propaganda: The Example of the Mussolini Italy by Derya Karaburun Doğan. Doğan analyzed the decision of the Italian fascist party to never formally adopt a national anthem, but to merely employ a tactic of requiring the de facto anthem (Giovenezza) to be played regularly throughout the public. The anthem to the fascists, she argues, represents an appeal to the roots of traditional Italian society and rejection of the monarchical hymn Marcia Reale. The fascists began to require radio stations to play the Giovenezza at the conclusion of every radio show, eventually leading to a national rejection of the long and gaudy Marcia Reale that had concluded radio shows since the beginning of the century.  When the Marcia Reale was officially reinstated in 1945, the anthem had become so despised by the public that it only lasted one year before being removed as the official anthem. Until 2017 when it became official , Il Canto degli Italiani served as the de facto anthem. This gradual narrative adjustment of  Italian anthems began from fascist undertones that still exist today in Italian anthem literature. 

In Italy’s New Patriotism; Putting Pinocchio to work, Barbie Nadeau argued that the entrance of Italy into the European Community created a backlash of sorts, leading to a desire for Il Canto degli Italiani to be officially codified as the de jure anthem. These grassroots organizations mobilized around existing sectarian lines, expanding regional schisms. Il Canto degli Italiani was perceived as a symbol for Italian sovereignty in the wave of European cultural unification  in the early 2000s. Political organizations such as the Liga Nord used the de facto national anthem as a rallying cry in the lead up to general elections, most notably in the recent 2019 election where they gained a majority of seats in the legislature. Organizations such as Liga Nord often conflict with pro-European groups such as Forza Italia, who remained ideologically similar except in regards to their embrace of either European or Italian symbols. [3]



[1] Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. Fitzgerald, The Craft of Research (4th ed.), Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016, 54.

[2]  Derya Karaburun Doğan, “The Role of Music in Fascism Propaganda: The Example of the Mussolini Italy / Faşizm Propagandasında Müziğin Rolü: Mussolini İtalyası Örneği,” Folklor/Edebiyat 25, no. 97 (2019): 229–243,

[3] Barbie Nadeau, “Italy’s New Patriotism; Putting Pinocchio to Work: [Atlantic Edition],” Newsweek, International Ed.; New York, March 17, 2003.