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Social Sciences

The Fascist Roots of the Italian Penal Code: Fascist Law and Contemporary Commentary in Comparative Perspective

1 April 2011 - 30 June 2012

PI/s in Exeter: Professor Stephen Skinner

Funding awarded: £ 3,004

Sponsor(s): British Academy

About the research

This project investigates the history and politico-legal status of the current Italian Penal Code, which is derived from the 1930 Rocco Code introduced by the Fascist regime and amended but not replaced after the Second World War. The starting point for the project is to question the implications for modern Italian and European democracy of a symbolic and substantive connection between the current Code and its Fascist forebear, given the absence of a clear break between them. This requires methodological reflection on the historiography of law connected with the authoritarian past, and research into the Code's ideological roots, original content, how it was perceived by contemporary commentators in liberal and authoritarian systems, and how the Code has been reformed. The research is particularly relevant in the context of Italian and European political history and current affairs, and it would fill significant gaps in English scholarship.

The BA Small Grant funding applied for would cover two essential research visits in order to access material that is unavailable in the UK.