The late and turbulent transition from a largely rural and peasant society to a modern urban state involved the crisis of rooted popular traditions and the emergence of mass cultural forms. As a result, Italy, once the centre of a cultural world, has increasingly found itself on the periphery of an American media empire and serious questions of cultural identity have been raised. The Italian case is further significant on account of the theoretical and political problems it has posed. As well as dealing with these and related topics, the book examines current tendencies, such as the rapid multiplication of sub-cultures and the crisis of 'mass' forms. Each chapter is written by a specialist in the field. Although the essays normally deal with specific problems, they also highlight both the historical context and more general considerations within their sphere of interest.