Marco Ruggieri

Thesis title: The Young Eco's Library: Mass Culture and Interpretive Freedom in the Fascist Period


Marco Ruggieri is a final year PhD Candidate in Italian Studies. His doctoral research obtained the John Orr Award in 2018. Prior to moving to The University of Edinburgh, Marco got his MA at the University of Naples Federico II with a dissertation in History of Literary Criticism.

He is also a freelance journalist (Il Manifesto) and the Editor-in-Chief of FORUM: PG Journal of Culture & the Arts.


MA in Modern Philology (University of Naples, 2017), BA in Modern Literature (University of Naples, 2015).

Undergraduate teaching

Marco has been a Tutor in Italian since 2018.

Research summary

Marco's doctoral research analyses Umberto Eco's novel 'The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana' (2004) against the background of Eco’s cultural theory. This analysis seeks to shed light on the novel's contribution to the semiotic theory of enunciation and the ongoing debate on collective and individual memory. The novel also makes an original contribution to the scholarship on fascist culture as it reconstructs the late Italian fascist period through the mass culture products of those days. More broadly, the analysis of the novel highlights Eco’s contribution to the field of Italian Cultural Studies. In this perspective, Eco’s work is also compared to that of Gramsci and the research on mass culture carried out in the framework of British Cultural Studies (Raymond Williams, Richard Hoggart, Stuart Hall).

Current research interests

Italian Cultural Studies, Critical Theory, Semiotics, Media Studies, Italian Contemporary Literature.

Knowledge exchange

Given its focus on mass culture, Marco's research aims to shed light on how mass culture reflects, reinforces, or challenge the hegemonic system of power. Its strong grounding in semiotics stems from the idea that "while semiotics, consistent with its analytic vocation, does not put forward hypotheses on the initial causes of phenomena, it can still make suggestions on possible alternative configurations. Understanding how things work perhaps does not serve to understand why they work in that way, but it can prove itself very useful in order to understand how they might work differently" (Violi 2014). At the same time, Marco's research also seeks to rethink Umberto Eco's work outside of the two main frameworks in which it was read so far - postmodernism and semiotic theory - and prove its pivotal role in the development of Italian Cultural Studies.

Conference details

  • SIS Biennial Conference, Warwick, 2022. 
  • 'Twice-Told Stories', Cambridge, 2021.
  • AAIS Conference, 2021.
  • NeMLA Convention, Boston, 2020.
  • SIS Biennial Conference, Edinburgh, 2019. 

Journal Articles

  • (2021). "Eco and Gramsci: Unexplored Connections in Cultural Studies". Italian Studies, 76 (4): 421-435.

Edited Journal Issues

  • (2021). "The Aftermath". FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & the Arts, 32.