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1 - The capital and the provinces

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 October 2009

Girolamo Imbruglia
Affiliation:
Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli
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Summary

THE THEORETICAL AND HISTORIOGRAPHIC DEBATE

The events involving the capital and the provinces in the Kingdom of Naples in the eighteenth century cannot be fully understood without taking into account the complex relationship that had always linked these two realities. The awareness of this relationship is particularly strong in the juridical and political theory of the eighteenth century, which emphasised the distinctive aspects of contrast and – on the part of the provinces – of emulation and even of protest. It became evident in the controversy raised by Enlightenment intellectuals from the second half of the century onward. The interest of Neapolitan intellectuals in the provinces can be dated back to the second half of the seventeenth century, when Cartesian criticism and economic ideology began to weaken the certainties of the dominant élite regarding the validity of the existing order, which was based on the primacy of jurisprudence and on values deriving from the Aristotelian-scholastic system. The diffusion of the new ideas helped both to highlight the malfunctioning and imbalance of the existing political and social organisation, and to begin a critique of the very values upon which that organisation had been founded.

Benedetto Croce had already pointed to the renewed flourishing of Neapolitan culture beginning in the second half of the seventeenth century.

Type
Chapter
Information
Naples in the Eighteenth Century
The Birth and Death of a Nation State
, pp. 4 - 21
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2000

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