Through a case study of a group of Neapolitan political activists incarcerated in Naples after the 1848 Revolution, this article aims to rescue the Italian convicts’ experience from its subsidiary status, presenting the prisons as a site of struggle and in particular highlighting the international, European dimension of political imprisonment in the nineteenth century. I argue that together with the exiled, political prisoners also acted as transnational actors of the Risorgimento; they aroused the interest of both public opinion and the world of diplomacy and were perceived as a humanitarian cause. Neapolitan political prisoners became spokespersons of their national and political cause abroad, had a clear agency and exploited European public opinion. This study will thus explore the dynamics of the Risorgimento from a transnational perspective, as well as in relation to British and French imperialistic policies in the Mediterranean, the international de-legitimization of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and more generally in terms of foreign humanitarian interventions in the nineteenth century and the role of political prisoners. The Neapolitan dungeons were not significantly different from those of other European states; however, they became the target of international diplomacy showing how Naples was considered somewhat in between European and non-European states.

Political Prisoners of the Italian Mezzogiorno: A Transnational Question of the Nineteenth Century

Bacchin E.
2020

Abstract

Through a case study of a group of Neapolitan political activists incarcerated in Naples after the 1848 Revolution, this article aims to rescue the Italian convicts’ experience from its subsidiary status, presenting the prisons as a site of struggle and in particular highlighting the international, European dimension of political imprisonment in the nineteenth century. I argue that together with the exiled, political prisoners also acted as transnational actors of the Risorgimento; they aroused the interest of both public opinion and the world of diplomacy and were perceived as a humanitarian cause. Neapolitan political prisoners became spokespersons of their national and political cause abroad, had a clear agency and exploited European public opinion. This study will thus explore the dynamics of the Risorgimento from a transnational perspective, as well as in relation to British and French imperialistic policies in the Mediterranean, the international de-legitimization of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and more generally in terms of foreign humanitarian interventions in the nineteenth century and the role of political prisoners. The Neapolitan dungeons were not significantly different from those of other European states; however, they became the target of international diplomacy showing how Naples was considered somewhat in between European and non-European states.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3754372
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