CasaPound’s collective identity builds upon a composite repertoire of imageries, styles and practices. To overcome the risks involved in collective action, a sense of belonging among members is created through the pre-existing solidarity established by hybrid and commercialized symbols, musical references, coded clothing, tattoos and violent practices, all of which develop a sense of commitment to a shared cause. These encompass, but are not limited to, classic extreme-right features. Rather, the main element uniting these different dimensions seems to be the strategic hybridization of symbols and practices stemming from distant political cultures, including pop culture, and the progressive-left movement culture. Hence, the imagery and aesthetics of the group offer an unconventional mixture of icons, exemplified by the clothing style of CPI’s militants, which has little in common with the extreme-right skinhead stereotype. Ultimately, music and violence play a crucial role in integrating individuals within the community and socializing them to the ideals and lifestyles promoted by the group.
In conclusion, the high profile that CasaPound has achieved over the years partly rests on its capacity to build a solid, clearly identifiable collective identity. This is achieved by hybridizing extreme right symbols and coded references mediated from different political cultures. CPI’s coded aesthetic and stylistic choices facilitate recognizability of the group among sympathizers, and help to avoid stigmatization by outsiders. As we shall show, these codes offer a solid base for CPI’s collective action, by sustaining group identification and insulating members against external influences. To disentangle how CasaPound’s hybrid identity and symbolism relate to its strategies of mobilization, the next chapter focuses specifically on its repertoire of action.
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