Fabrizio de André: a popular intellectual

2017-02-09T02:18:07Z (GMT) by Carbonelli, Guendalina Maria
This dissertation argues that Fabrizio De André’s long-lasting popularity is the result of his role as a popular intellectual active in social criticism and engaged in public debate. I suggest that between the early 1960s and the late 1990s, De André underwent a process of artistic and personal legitimation that is crucial in the creation of an intellectual. De André has often been compared to a poet and his work is seen as an archetype of the canzone d’autore genre. While widely admired for what are considered almost unique poetic skills among singer-songwriters, he has also been adopted as a symbol of social protest. I discuss how, through his activity as a singer-songwriter, his challenging stances reached a large proportion of the Italian population – hence my definition of De André as “popular” intellectual. Through an analysis of his work, I show how his position allowed him to contribute to the continuous process of the demolition and reshaping of Italian identity and culture over a period of more than thirty years. De André, thus, illustrates how a popular culture figure can influence society by assuming the role and function of an intellectual.