(Words and) Images of power in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Petrolio

Alberto Vespaziani


This contribution focuses on an unfinished novel, Petrólio by Pier Paolo Pasolini to reflect on nature and images of power, as interpreted by one of the greatest Italian post-war intellectuals. The central thesis is that while the peasant and fascist society was based on the male command, on the normative force of tradition, the contemporary consumer society is based on female persuasion, on the push to conform and not to differentiate. However, while patriarchal authoritarianism allowed emancipatory rebellion, consumerist homologation was able to prevent forms of resistance by disseminating power in an infinite network of relationships, whose plot cannot be dissolved. The reading of Petrólio invites the jurist not to focus exclusively on the rational aspects of the rules and procedures that limit power, but also to devote herself to reflecting on the two dimensions of power, the discursive and the aesthetic.


Pasolini. Power. Petrólio. Society. Literature

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PASOLINI, Pier Paolo. Petrolio, translated by Ann Goldstein. Pantheon Books, New York, 1997.

TREVI, Emanuele. Qualcosa di scritto. Milano, 2012.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18759/rdgf.v20i3.1784


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