In the last decades of the nineteenth century, with the assertion of elementary schooling, a broad debate on education in Italy developed. How to introduce the masses into new ambits of capitalist production? How to build a feeling of belonging to the nation that is transversal to the different social classes? Beginning with these needs, which will accompany the events of the country far beyond the historical contingency in question, the socialization and nationalization of the masses became central aspects of the educational processes that took shape after the unity of Italy, in a process that witnessed, on the one hand, the affirmation of “emancipatory instances” aimed at improving the living conditions of subordinate social classes while, on the other, the construction of a complex apparatus of control and governance of subjectivity aimed at weakening their potential subversiveness.
Keywords: schooling of masses; governance; Italian History of education.