Total Mobilization in the West - Fiume 1919

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Haimo SCHULZ MEINEN, Institute of Sociology, Germany
Religious drive in public is prevalent when the majority feels inspired. Seen from a functional perspective on religion, if considerable parts of the broad public and of elites both are fulfilling their tasks and are keen on enlarging their mission to reach certain supported goals, the society should be considered religiously driven, not mainly secular.

A case study about a people less than a hundred years ago can indicate how modern mobilization can engage in an urban community. Italian fin-de-siècle-poet Gabriele D'Annunzio invented and illustrated powerfully in 1919 how a city of 40.000 enlarged by volunteers from the rest of Italy and hundreds of inspired from abroad can be converted into a western caliphate. Heroic speeches from the balcony, rhythmic war cries, blackshirts with skull and crossbones and specific salute forms as well as a very modern constitution were used to create successfully an all embracing feeling of difference. Everybody in then occupied Fiume (today Rijeka, Croatia) was urged to endorse the mission, his mission. Drawing on diverse elements of art, literature, political rhetoric, military talent and inventing modern propaganda, D'Annunzio with some colleagues set the path to what today has to be considered a religiously mobilized public. Being opposed to the then leading powers of the world turned to be helpful in mobilizing.

Analyzing the Fiuman adventure with the methodology of a sociologist of religion can throw light both on recent forms of political units with religions dominant in public spheres like the caliphate of the so called „Islamic State“ as well as on the mobilized society of the West enshrining the human rights utopia (see second abstract contribution to the session The Categories of Religion and the Secular in the Post-Secular Discourse).