Giuseppe A. Micheli

Where does the Italian great calm of births arise. Backstage of a nonstandard view point under construction

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Every official report on the long-term stagnation of births in Italy unleashes great attention in the Italian public opinion. However, the decision-making models reductively rely on the rules of rational choice, devoid of historical depth. At the root of the current great calm of births, maybe, a drastic change in the collective mood, concerning the choice to have (or not to have) a child, took place during the last quarter of the twentieth century. The a. presents a sort of backstage, preparing the way for an alternative interpretation, drawing on categories belonging to a wide range of social studies. A ‘macroscopic’ approach, connecting the clues collected by the «historians of the moods» and giving unity to the whole in a longitudinal, trans-generational sequence shot replaces the standard approach, relying on extensional analyses of microdata. In such a way, delaying and/or denying a child seems not to be the mere effect of occasional lacking material support, but rather the effect of a remarkable degeneration (refraction effect) in the public mood, when the material contingencies of lack turn into chronicity and pinch more generations together. The trans-generational sequence shot, finally, shines a light on the crucial role played in lowering fertility by two anthropological cornerstones of the Mediterranean ethos


  • essentially byproducts
  • sequence shot
  • generations
  • public moods
  • refraction effect


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