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Time, Deindustrialisation and the Receding Horizon of Working-Class Activism in Late Twentieth-Century Italy (Fiat, 1979–1980)

Myers, M. (2023). Time, Deindustrialisation and the Receding Horizon of Working-Class Activism in Late Twentieth-Century Italy (Fiat, 1979–1980). Contemporary European History, 32(4), pp. 619-636. doi: 10.1017/s0960777323000012


This article seeks to understand how experiences of time change after influential social groups and institutions are disempowered. By analysing the response of a wide range of actors to key disputes at car manufacturer Fiat between 1979 and 1980, it suggests that changing conceptions of time came to register Fiat workers’ disempowerment within Italian society during the late twentieth century. A new present-centric sense of time came to predominate amongst laid-off Fiat worker activists, while a future-orientated sense grew amongst company managers. With a feeling of loosening connection with the immediate past and anxiety about the future, an indefinite present became the point of departure for workers’ inquiries into the past. The history of the Italian workers’ movement after 1980 shows the inextricable link between undermining collective organisation, delegitimising shared experiences of time, and the plausibility of transformative visions of the future.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited. Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
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