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Memoria e Ricerca

Drifting images. Pictorial migrations between Right and Left

di Luciano Cheles
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 41 (2012), p. 121

Parties frequently appropriate propaganda images from other movements, which all too often belong to the opposite end of the political spectrum. This article considers the main forms of visual appropriation and illustrates them with examples drawn from Italian and French post-war propaganda. It argues that the phenomenon is widespread especially among right-wing parties, which tend to adopt the imagery created by well-established political organisations to legitimate themselves, to present themselves to the voters in a more modern and appealing way or to attempt a dialogue with them. The technique of imitation may also be used to create a sense of confusion with the ultimate aim of neutralising the messages of other parties, or to steal votes from their natural constituencies. Left-wing parties too at times mimic the images (and slogans) of the right, but usually with parodying intentions which can escape the public at large. Key words: Propaganda. Posters. Mimicry. Movimento Sociale Italiano. Alleanza Nazionale. Forza Italia. Partito Democratico della Sinistra