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SISP Conference 2023

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Section 13 - Political Science and its History (Jolly)

Managers: Marco Almagisti, Antonio Campati, Marco Di Giulio, Damiano Palano

Read Section abstract
In 2023, the annual conference of the Italian Society of Political Science takes place in Genoa, and these time and place offer several motives to reflect on the history of the discipline. For instance, Giorgio Sola who institutionalized Political science at the University of Genoa, is also the unparalleled historiographer of the discipline with his “History of Political Science”. Sola also authored important contributions on the theory of the elites, and, among elitists, Vilfredo Pareto, whose 100th anniversary of his death falls in this year, had roots in Genoa. 2023 is also an opportunity to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the “political science” section within the AISP, the nucleus from which the current SISP was born a few years later, in 1982. In addition to these ‘retrospective’ reasons, the Jolly section aims to host panels that reflect on political science as a discipline, focusing on its origins, the role of the classics and their relevance, the evolutionary trajectories of the main debates.

Panel 13.1 Political Science Communities in Southern Europe. Challenges and prospects

This panel aims at offering a comprehensive evaluation of the current state of the discipline in the Euro-Mediterranean area. The papers will develop cross-country analyses of the present transformation of Southern European political science, or even case studies discussing the development of Political Science in Southern Europe, and the relevance of its scientific achievements. The main questions raised by these papers concern:
1) the historical process of institutionalization and the specificities of Political Science from one community to another;
2) the process of internationalization of the Political Science community in each of the countries under analysis;
3) the current shape of the communities, and the main attitudes of the scholars who compose these communities towards internationalization, the applicability of the discipline, media visibility, and social relevance.
Two general propositions and consequently two different comparative logics may be followed by the sequence of these papers.
1. A proposition based on the "late-comer" argument, assuming that all the Southern European Political Science communities have been deeply influenced by delays and interruptions of the democratic process. Following such a proposition will conduce the comparative perspective of the panel towards a "most-similar" logic. All the Southern European countries may be seen as "latecomer democracies" unable to produce a solid and mature community of political science until the final part of the XX century. The focus will be therefore shifted to the costs of the (more or less evident) delay. Moreover, an (implicit) comparison between the South-European communities of political science and other European experiences will be included in the analyses. The basic argument here is the peculiar nature of the “stories” of the development of PS communities in these countries, and their persisting difference (or perhaps the process of convergence) from other European “patterns”, in particular those concerning the development of PS in Uk as well as in the Scandinavian countries.
2. A second (not-necessarily-alternative) proposition is grounded on the specificities of each single Political Science community. The basic argument here is that some of the most persistent elements in the communities under analysis are due to different path dependencies: for example, the legacies of the authoritarian regimes, the traditional “ideologies” of the intellectual elites, the presence of other strong “academic guilds” etc. The implicit comparative argument is that Political Science communities in Southern Europe tend to be more dissimilar than similar, despite the obvious resemblance in terms of institutionalization, size, and (lack of) resources.

Chairs: Christophe Roux, Luca Verzichelli

Discussants: Christophe Roux

Political science in Spain: an assessment almost twenty-five years into the 21st century
José Real Dato, Luque Castillo Francisco Javier, Ortega Ruiz Manuela, Jerez Mir Miguel
Since the early 1980s, the political science in Spain has experienced a process of development and institutionalization as an academic discipline. Several studies have analysed this process of institutionalization (Jerez 1999; Jerez 2010; Jerez and Luque 2016). This paper updates those studies, focusing on the current situation and challenges of the discipline almost twenty-five years into the 21stcentury. The first challenge is the possibility of expanding the (institutional and academic) frontiers of the discipline. This challenge relates both with whether the discipline has reached a limit of maximum institutional expansion in an ecosystem of other more numerous neighbour disciplines (economy, sociology), and the existence of issues and topics (i.e. comparative politics, international relations) that are still underdeveloped in the discipline. The second challenge is the internationalization of the discipline. In this respect, recent studies (Ortega, Real-Dato and Jerez 2021) demonstrate that this is a growing trend, but there are still some unbalances within the discipline (mostly generational and geographical) that make internationalization still a pending issue in some quarters. Finally, there is the challenge of public relevance. In this respect, we will analyse to what extent Spanish political scientists are visible in the public sphere and participate in the political process.
50 years of Political Science in Italy. Forever young?
Luca Verzichelli, Silvia Bolgherini
This paper offers a comprehensive evaluation of the state of the discipline in Italy, half a century after the formal foundation of the academic discipline and the establishment of a hard core of scholars publicly recognized as political scientists. Despite the previous flourishing of studies on political phenomena and the presence of a number of sensible public intellectuals and academics who had already paid tribute to the empirical study of politics, the establishment of a modern political science community was in fact possible only at the beginning of the 1970s, when Giovanni Sartori launched the Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica and, a few years after, an association of scholars who called themselves Political Scientists. Since then, Italian political science has significantly developed, going through thick and thin, during (rare) phases of prosperity and (much more frequent) rainy days. The paper reconstructs the historical process of institutionalization and the specificities of the Italian community, many of them still evident, that may be explained by different historical and cultural path dependencies. The current scenario, described in the second part of the paper, leads to a bitter-sweet assessment. Indeed, notwithstanding a remarkable improvement in absolute numbers and a convincing process of internationalization, the discipline remains particularly fragile, especially with respect to three crucial elements like gender representation, geographical spread, and generational turnover.
The Advisory Roles of Political Scientists in Southern Europe
Andrea Pritoni, Maria Tullia Galanti
This paper focuses on the advisory role of political scientists in Southern European countries. Studying the social and policymaking impact of political scientists in Southern Europe is relevant from at least three points of view: firstly, because they are social scientists who make policymaking one of their main fields of investigation; secondly, because political scientists are usually considered to have little ability to influence policy choices in their countries; thirdly and finally, because this tendency is expected to be particularly evident in Southern European countries. Based on the answers to an online questionnaire given by over 400 political scientists from Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain, the paper reconstructs the roles and impact of political scientists in the investigated countries. In doing so, it also proposes a classification of them, based on a principal component analysis (PCA) that highlights their frequency, type and recipient(s) of (potential) policy advice. Empirical findings show interesting connections between different dimensions, in so confirming the heterogeneity of advisory roles and dynamics in Southern Europe.
The Internal Consolidation of the Portuguese Political Science
Marcelo Camerlo
The Portuguese Political Science shows a late but rapid process of growth and consolidation that begins at the end of the nineties. This article analyzes the internal evolution of this process through the observation of its indexed publication. After registering and coding 1900 articles published in the last 25 years, we examined the Portuguese production in terms of its institutional concentration, dispersion and cooperation (number of articles per institution and level of co-authorship between institutions); its gender inclusiveness (sex of the authors); its internationalization (international co-authorship and international journals); and its quality (ranking of journals).
The pandemic crisis and its effects on Southern European Political Science
Giulia Vicentini
The paper develops a cross-country analysis intended to assess the reactions of the Southern European political science community to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has deeply affected the professional and intellectual lives of academics worldwide. Political scientists are an interesting case study because they represent a potentially crucial segment of knowledge-holders exploring anti-Covid policies and the post-pandemic social and political consequences. Nonetheless, political science is often seen as a discipline characterized by weak social relevance. This is especially true for Southern Europe, wherein political scientists share a widespread concern about the low impact of their discipline in the national public debate. In this regard, the different geographical areas where political scientists work and live may have affected their responses to the COVID crisis, especially in terms of being more or less (pro)active as policy advisors or public intellectuals. Accordingly, Southern European political scientists (SEPSs) can be penalized by post–COVID recovery policies in case their community is not able (or willing) to adapt to the changes and challenges driven by the pandemic. Thus, this article uses the data from an original survey conducted among 1400 European political scientists at the end of 2020 to address SEPSs’ awareness of change and professional adaptation compared to other political science communities based in Northern, Western and Central-Eastern countries. On the one hand, the evidence confirms the most-similar comparative proposition, namely the peculiarity of SEPSs compared to the other European communities (especially the most developed ones). On the other hand, the findings show a high level of cross-country variation, highlighting the specificities in perceptions and reactions to the pandemic crisis of each national community in Southern Europe.

Panel 13.2 Making Democracy Work Thought Culture of Lawfulness

Thirty years after the publication of Robert Putnam's book "Making Democracy Work" it is essential to reflect on how the state of health of democracy has changed and how we must think about the cultural foundations necessary for the stability and functioning of democratic political systems

Chairs: Daniela Piana

Discussants: Marco Almagisti

Silvano Poli
In the last century, political cultures have been among the most rich and in-depth branches of research in political science. G. Almond and S. Verba reproposed the term in The Civic Culture (1963), aiming at underlining how specific attitudes, orientations and shared judgements lay the foundations for democratic regimes health, as much as for a stable representative institutional system. Since then, a growing body of literature gave rise to a flourishing debate, progressively populated by different schools of thought, both in terms of theory and methodology, with the aim of empirically grasp elusive elements that compose this “ethereal” and, apparently, elusive political phenomenon. Italy, in particular, was one of the most analysed contexts: authors attempted to understand electoral homogeneity, stability of vote, configuration of economic development models and associative dynamics, which characterised specific areas of the country: emblematic is the focus on central and north-east Italy (Istituto Cattaneo, 1968). In opposition to Almond and Verba method, several studies (C. Trigilia, 1981; M. Caciagli, 1986, 1988) shared the idea that 'political culture' was a community, and not an individual attribute, and that it was a composite of values and beliefs as result of a long-term interaction between social, political, economic, cultural, and territorial features. Few years later, R. Putnam work’s, Making Democracy Work (1993), focused on civic participation and mutual trustiness, seen as fundamental elements for democracy to function. By comparing civic traditions of different regions, Putnam argues that high levels of social capital serve as 'fuel' for collectively desirable behaviour and progress; in his reconstruction, the higher social capital accumulation by northern regions is a consequence of a process rooted in communal autonomy experience during the Middle age. Factors as low electoral participation and increasing rise of radical populist parties call political science to reflect on possible ways to revive democracy. In this sense, it may be a gain to our understanding to reconstruct and analyse in detail past political cultures that have proved to be stable and enduring, and the ways in which the first mass parties, at the end of the XIX century, generated energetic and widespread politicisation. Reconstructing the origin of those processes and, above all, the primitive elements they stemmed from, can pave the way to re-activate that process in a future perspective: outline how, starting from today’s situation, it is possible to transform the elements of our tradition into the material with which build a more participative and “embedded” democracy. Tuscany 'red' subculture represents a paradigmatic case study of adherence to an ideology which animated modern Italian politics throughout two century of history and not yet completely died out. While numerous studies focused on categorising and listing rituals, values and beliefs that informed this subculture, too little is known about the dynamic aspect of the process, for instance not enough studies to our knowledge indagated how it was possible in a reduced time interval to involve broad masses, excluded from politics for centuries, in such a dynamic participation sustained by a sort of fideist vision. In the idea of the American political scientist R. C. Tucker, upholder of 'politics as a form of culture' (1973), this dynamic aspect has to become the central subject of political science, considered as investigation about the nature of the dissemination process of Politics into modern society. In a contribution aimed at raising epistemological doubts on the construction of shared meanings investigation, P. Allum (1988) invoked a 'linguistic turn' in discipline, besides proposing the adoption of a method similar to hermeneutics for the political culture studies. Original contribution of this proposal attempts to moves in that direction. Following the path taken by authors such as M. Foucault, with his archaeological and genealogical research on knowledge and power (1970, 1973), and J. Derrida (1968), with his studies on the nature of grammar as a formal structure intimately related to social meaning and subjectivity production, theorists such as E. Laclau (1998, 2005) S. Zizek (1999) D. Howarth and S. Glynos (2001, 2007, 2011, 2019) have laid the foundations for a methodology that allows us to understand the role of political discourse in the construction and transformation of political phenomena. Political Discourse Theory (PTD) focuses on the analysis of discourses and discursive practices to reveal how power, ideology and social relations are conveyed through political language, seen as an arena of struggle for meaning and power, in which interests, identities and worldviews are constructed, negotiated, and contested. Identification of logics and practises - social (definition of the collective subject), political (definition of rights/duties) and phantasmatic (imagined consequences) – may allow to understand how political message can create 'conversion' (A. Pizzorno, 1994) which takes root through a symbolic-rational process of 'inculcation' (Fairclough, 2001). The widespread politicisation in Tuscany, particularly in Florence, before and after the birth of the Italian State represents the context chosen in this study to analyse this complex passage. From 1848 to the first electoral victories of the socialists, 1889, recognized as the rise of 'red' subculture (M. Caciagli, 2022) Tuscany was marked by several cultural currents that, as part of the historiography reveals, succeeded in subtracting the stand for the people topos, previously embodied by the clerical-reactionary exponents (E. Conti, 1949; G. Manacorda, 1970; G. Pècout, 2000).
Italians Who Grumble – Social Capital and Civic Culture in Italy at the Threshold of the Pandemic
Paola Bordandini, Mauro Maltagliati, Nicolò Bellanca, Roberto Cartocci
The aim of this study was to reconstruct the geography of social capital in Italy more than 25 years after Putnam's map of 1993. We used a statistical method (DBS, Distance Between Strata), which had not previously been applied to the study of social capital, and data from the 2019 ISTAT Multiscope Household Surveys “Aspects of daily life”. We analysed the distribution of social capital in the regions of Italy in multidimensional terms. With DBS it was indeed possible to consider various dimensions of social capital instead of using an overall index. It enabled us to isolate three types of Italians, which we called civic, non-civic and "grumbling" Italians. Grumbling Italians are citizens who take part in political and social life but have little trust in others and in public institutions. Their geographic identification is the main contribution of this article to Italian studies on social capital for at least two reasons: 1) it questions the “obvious” correlation between political participation and trust in institutions; 2) it provides an important basis for reflection on Italian civic culture.
La civicness: nelle regioni italiane: persistenza, logoramento o esaurimento?
Antonio Floridia
Il paper riprende la definizione teorica che Putnam ha dato del concetto di "civicness", con particolare riferimento alle regioni italiane, per valutare in che misura esso costituisca ancora una categoria teorica utile ad interpretare le trasformazioni delle culture politiche presenti nella società italiana.
Making Democracy Survive. Civic Transformations in Contemporary Italy
Marco Valbruzzi
Making Democracy Survive. Civic Transformations in Contemporary Italy
Mutualism as a political practice generating “social capital”
Giorgia Serughetti
According to Robert Putnam, the political culture indispensable to the smooth functioning of democratic institutions – civicness – has at its heart an endowment of “social capital”. In his “Making Democracy Work”, he counts “mutual aid practices” among the aspects and practices of social life that nurture social capital. In this paper, I intend to focus on mutual aid practices, and on their contribution to the creation of social capital through the development of attitudes of solidarity, trust, reciprocity, and – directly and indirectly – to the development of a culture of democratic participation. In the aftermath of the pandemic, mutual aid – which has its roots in the history of the labour movement – has regained interest due to the blossoming of bottom-up forms of collective coordination which, during and after the health emergency, have been concerned with of meeting people’s basic needs through forms of solidarity and reciprocity. Mutualistic projects generate democratic culture thanks to the active involvement of the beneficiaries of solidaristic actions, deepening the feeling of equality between need-bearers and rights-holders. Moreover, the political character of many of these experiences, which distinguishes them from other generic forms of assistance to persons in need, even more so from philanthropic initiatives, fosters a critical understanding of the shortcomings of the economic and social system, but at the same time mobilises people by fostering the construction of forms of collective action, shaping conflicts, and educating participants to work in interlocution, negotiation and - in some cases - alliance with political authorities and other territorial stakeholders. The practice of mutualism thus figures as a terrain for elaborating platforms of struggle and claims, but also for broadening and enlivening participatory processes, and strengthening a substantial conception of democracy.

Panel 13.4 National interest: The history of an idea and its current relevance in politics and political science.

The idea of national interest is a cornerstone of modern politics, and its definition has been a challenge for generations of scholars. Nowadays, political processes such as the ‘trade war’ between China and the US, the impact of migration and war on European and national institutions, or the regional and global governance of climate policies seem to give new salience to the idea of national interest. This, in fact, is once again a key element in the narratives of political actors both in domestic and international political arenas. This panel offers a retrospective on the national interest understood as a social science concept. Looking at how the classics of the social sciences deal with such an idea provides value added to contemporary empirical research catching up with the new challenges of international politics and political economy. Ideally, paper proposals should focus on one or more relevant social scientists – coming from different academic backgrounds and disciplines – and discuss how they defined the national interest, the intellectual and political roots of such definition, the analytical problem that such definition solved or failed to solve, and its implications on the current and following debates.

Chairs: Marco Di Giulio, Francesco N. Moro

Discussants: Francesco N. Moro

Between National Interests and International Norms Hans Morgenthau, Karl Deutsch and Jane Addams
Andrea Ruggeri, Chiara Ruffa
Both national interests and international norms are defining elements of international politics, they define the strategies and practices of countries and how they behave in multilateral fora. However, they are neither static nor independent. National interests and international norms change over time, are interpreted differently by multiple actors, they can be mutually constitutive and can lead to contested situations and conflictual behaviour. Pairs of norms such as the sanctity of state sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect or border control and the obligation to search and rescue people at sea are pairs of norms that prima facie sit at odd with each other. In such contexts, national interests and international norms can struggle, find inconsistent equilibria or lead to hypocritical state practices or instrumental use of norms to achieve national interests. First, we review and organise intuitions and tenants from intellectuals of different traditions in social sciences and study of war: Hans Morgenthau, Karl Deutsch and Jane Addams. Second, we will develop an analytical framework to study the relations between national interests and international norms – when they clash, how they shape each other, what practices are in place - and we will provide a repertoire of current international norms and how they are contested and in tensions between them but also in relation to national interests. Third, we will compare and analyse recent documents on norms about security (from NATO, EU, USA, China) and statements by international leaders and international bodies to evaluate the contested, conflicting, and evolving relations between national interests and international norms.
International Political Economy in the 1930s and 1940s: National Power and Foreign Trade in Albert O. Hirschman’s Analysis
Michele Alacevich
This paper will discuss how Albert O. Hirschman addressed the issue of national power in relation to foreign trade policies in the interwar and post-WWII eras, in particular in his book National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade (1945). The use of trade relations as an instrument of national power policies had been one of the main characteristics of the interwar years. To the vast literature investigating this interconnection, Hirschman sought to add the analysis of one specific and fundamental issue: the inherent weaknesses in the international trading system that made it prone to political manipulation. In other words, instead of focusing on the political motives of economic aggression and imperialism, Hirschman was interested in investigating the specific mechanisms through which this aggression was made possible. Using tools typical of international economic analysis to discuss not the usual economic questions (e.g., gains from trade and welfare issues), but the highly political question of “why and how foreign trade might . . . be used as an instrument of national power policy”. Hirschman’s inquiry was consciously limited to one causal vector: how trade relations can create the economic conditions for the political domination of one country over another. Though Hirschman was aware that the opposite causal relationship is also important—that an imbalance in the distribution of power affects trade relations and produces cumulative effects—his interest lay in exploring the elements of foreign trade that make it a potential instrument of domination. In a sense, this was a “structuralist” approach ante litteram, which is how it was read and appropriated by later generations of scholars, especially in Latin America. Having analized the ways foreign trade can be turned into an instrument of national power, Hirschman addressed the question of how to defuse the problems of mutual diffidence, increasing restrictions, and enhanced economic nationalism after the war. The virtues and beneficial effects of free trade were, for Hirschman, totally unrealistic. Hirschman’s solution lay in a gigantic systemic transformation, from a world of sovereign states to a world in which economic sovereignty would be surrendered to supranational institutions. The logic was as unexceptionable as an Aristotelian syllogism: if the “politicalization” of trade was primarily rooted in the power of a state to dominate weaker partners through trade policies, and if this power is an attribute of national sovereignty, then the only way to avoid the manipulation of trade for the aggrandizement of international political power is to curb national economic sovereignty. National Power went through two different waves of notoriety. One, more limited and technical, gained momentum in the early 1960s, when a number of scholars rediscovered the statistical studies that Hirschman had inserted in the book as important and useful insights into the concentration mechanisms in economic geography and international trade. The second wave came in the 1970s, when the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, the oil shocks, discussions about a New International Economic Order, and negotiations at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development made the book’s core subject relevant again. If, in the international “embedded liberalism” of the 1950s and the 1960s, foreign aid policies and capital flows had shaped the political discourse of international economic relations, in the 1970s, trade and its institutional framework came back into the picture. In the area of international relations, until the 1960s, economists and political scientists had followed rigorously separate paths. In the words of British scholar Susan Strange, they had displayed a stubborn “academic astigmatism”. Toward the end of the 1960s and more powerfully in the 1970s, however, the divide between economists and political scientists was reduced, thanks especially to political scientists who became aware of issues of concern that had previously been the exclusive reserve of economists. As a result, international economics and world politics were reunited in the new and thriving field of international political economy (IPE). Hirschman’s book was rediscovered as an early precursor of this strand of studies. In particular, National Power opened the door to modern work in IPE that focuses on structural imbalances in international financial relations, on the practical impact of ideas, and on the ability of national and international actors to shape preferences.
Nationality Beyond the Nation-State? The Search for Autonomy in Abdullah Öcalan and Otto Bauer
Jacopo Custodi, Francesco Ventura
In today’s globalized era, the limitations of the nation-state model are increasingly apparent. This model often demands homogeneity, leading to identity conflicts and separatist demands by national minorities. However, national and cultural identities remain politically relevant, making post-national ambitions difficult to achieve. To address this problem, we compare the thoughts of Otto Bauer and Abdullah Öcalan, who both emphasize overcoming the limits of the nation-state without dismissing national and cultural identities. Öcalan’s ideas prioritize autonomy and multiplicity, while Bauer’s contribution is based on a deterritorialized notion of national identity. As we argue in this article, the two authors share interesting points of convergence that have been understudied in academia. What is more, this comparison provides valuable insights for understanding contemporary challenges and solutions to multinational societies and identity conflicts.
The national interest in the work of Vilfredo Pareto. Novelty, legacy, and open questions.
Marco Di Giulio
While the concept of national interest (NI) has always been a cornerstone for political philosophy, the emergence of the modern social sciences introduced (perhaps paradoxically) a structural ambiguity. While economists, sociologists, and political scientists had occasionally boasted that they eventually developed a positive definition of NI, the normative side of the concept rarely disappeared completely, sometimes resting on implicit assumptions. Such tension is particularly acute when the issue of NI is handled by economists, due to the prescriptive nature of most of the contributions in this area. This paper argues that the work of Vilfredo Pareto represented a turning point for the debate on NI in the social sciences. While Adam Smith was probably the first to single out the problem, as he noted that, on certain occasions, the national interest is better pursued by policies that bring economic costs to the society, Pareto, over decades of elaborations, developed an extremely refined argument to support such a view. From a theoretical standpoint, the originality of Pareto’s notion of NI rests on its theory of ‘utility’, which introduces subjectivity (cognitive bias, sentiments…) and refutes the possibility that individual functions of utility can be summed up to derive the utility function of the society as a whole. Upon these microeconomic foundations, Pareto (along with the broader elitist movement) developed a seminal conceptualization of the political sphere as an arena characterized by collective action problems, allowing actors the opportunity to satisfy their appetites for domination and dissipation. With these premises, Pareto's advanced a research agenda in which the NI is the side-effect of contingent configurations of actors (and their specific attitudes) in a given society. Hence, he created a fertile ground for scholars who, more recently, shaped the contemporary research agenda, such as Mancur Olson and Stephen Krasner.

Panel 13.5 Elite Theory: New Research Paradigms

Within contemporary political theory, a growing number of scholars are rediscovering the concepts of Elite Theory to analyze the transformations of democracies and political regimes. The aim of the panel is to collect the papers of scholars who – from various perspectives – focus on the Elite Theory. Papers are therefore requested that analyze the following (non-exclusive) aspects: 1) analysis of conceptual elements of the Elites Theory; 2) unpublished analyzes about classical authors (Mosca, Pareto, Michels, etc.); 3) rediscovery of authors who have used the Elite Theory and who are not known enough; 4) theories of the relationship between Elite Theory and Democratic Theory. After the Sisp Conference, the papers considered worthy will be included in a publication dedicated to the “rediscovery” of Elite Theory.

All’interno della teoria politica contemporanea, un numero crescente di studiosi sta riscoprendo i concetti della teoria delle élite per analizzare le trasformazioni delle democrazie e dei regimi politici. L’obiettivo del panel è quello di raccogliere i contributi degli studiosi che – da diverse prospettive – si occupano di teoria delle élite. Sono pertanto sollecitati paper che analizzano i seguenti aspetti (non esclusivi): 1) analisi di elementi concettuali della teoria delle élite; 2) analisi inedite sulle opere degli autori classici (Mosca, Pareto, Michels, ecc.); 3) riscoperta di autori che hanno utilizzato la teoria delle élite e che non sono abbastanza conosciuti; 4) teorie interpretative del rapporto tra teoria delle élite e teoria democratica. Dopo il convegno, i contributi considerati meritevoli saranno inclusi in una pubblicazione dedicata alla «riscoperta» della teoria delle élite.

Chairs: Antonio Campati, Giovanni Damele

Discussants: Massimiliano Panarari

Cornelius Castoriadis nella teoria delle élite. Dalla critica trotskista della tecnocrazia alla difesa della democrazia diretta.
Raffaele Alberto Ventura
Se Cornelius Castoriadis non si è mai confrontato direttamente con la teoria classica delle élite, nondimeno ha condiviso taluni aspetti del suo programma di ricerca, ad esempio confrontandosi con i problemi michelsiani della degenerazione del partito politico e riflettendo, dopo Burnham, sulle derive burocratico-manageriali del capitalismo moderno. Il nostro intervento mira, innanzitutto, a tornare sull'importanza dei dibattiti interni al movimento operaio nella problematizzazione del tema della rappresentanza politica, e in negativo del tema delle élite: proprio come Michels aveva tradotto nel campo sociologico le questioni che avevano attraversato la prima internazionale e stavano straziando la seconda, Castoriadis trova il punto d'innesco della sua teoria nelle contraddizioni della terza e della quarta internazionale. Si tratta quindi anche di tornare sul contributo dell'opposizione di sinistra al partito comunista sovietico, coagulata attorno al cosiddetto trotskismo, nel produrre quella rottura epistemologica costituita dalla Managerial revolution di James Burnham. Una teoria trotzkista delle élite esiste e deve essere cercata nelle reazioni degli anni 1930 al dibattito su tecnocrazia e planismo (tema parzialmente affrontato da Salsano una trentina di anni fa) ma anche nella confusa sequenza aperta dal patto tedesco-sovietico, in particolare nel Socialist Workers Party americano. Successivamente, si tratta precisamente di mostrare come a partire di questi dibattiti Castoriadis elabori, tra gli anni 1960 e 1970, una teoria attorno alla "nuova classe" burocratica, teoria debitrice di quei dibattiti ma animata da un persistente afflato rivoluzionario. Diversamente da Burnham, in effetti, Castoriadis approda a una teorizzazione originale che nel rifiutare le derive elitiste della divisione del lavoro capitalistica offre, tra gli anni 1980 e 1990, una rilettura del tema della democrazia diretta alla luce dei dibattiti sull'auto-organizzazione dei sistemi complessi. In questo senso, Castoriadis può considerarsi come esponente per eccellenza di un anti-elitismo novecentesco nutrito dai grandi dibattiti del secolo e proiettato verso la costruzione di un nuovo immaginario politico da cui attinge anche il populismo contemporaneo nelle sue forme più intellettualizzate.
Elitisti ante litteram? Heinrich von Treitschke e Ludwig von Gumplowicz
Federico Trocini
L'intervento intende risalire alle origini della teoria delle élites, prendendo in esame il contesto politico culturale di lingua tedesca della seconda metà dell'Ottocento e in particolare gli scritti di due autori: il nazional-liberale tedesco Heinrich von Treitschke (1834-1896) e il sociologo austro-polacco, ma di origini ebraiche, Ludwig von Gumplowicz (1838-1909). Di entrambe le figure si ripercorrerà la riflessione politica, mettendo soprattutto in luce i segmenti teorici destinati a confluire nell'elaborazione della teoria delle élites propriamente detta.
Realismo politico e immaginario politico nel pensiero di Gaetano Mosca e Guglielmo Ferrero
Giovanni De Ghantuz Cubbe
Nella storia del pensiero occidentale, il realismo politico ha sempre dedicato particolare attenzione al tema dell’“immaginario politico”, inteso come insieme di simboli, miti, credenze religiose o ideologie politiche. In particolare, il realismo politico italiano, nella sua declinazione elitista, ha congiunto l’analisi della concreta allocazione e distribuzione del potere con lo studio delle “narrazioni” politiche adottate dalle minoranze organizzate al fine di giustificare la propria posizione e/o aspirazione al potere. Soprattutto attraverso la formula politica di Gaetano Mosca e i princìpi di legittimità di Guglielmo Ferrero, i classici elitisti italiani hanno fornito un contributo essenziale, oggi talora trascurato, allo studio del legame che intercorre tra ordine politico e immaginario politico, tra il potere da un lato e la sua rappresentazione e giustificazione dall’altro. Questo paper mira a ricostruire l’analisi di tale legame nel pensiero di Gaetano Mosca e Guglielmo Ferrero, la cui riflessione sembra snodarsi su un comune filo argomentativo. Sebbene l’immaginario politico rappresenti un elemento inevitabile in qualsiasi ordine politico, la sua strumentalizzazione da parte delle minoranze organizzate rappresenta un costante pericolo. Quale contributo ha offerto la riflessione dei classici italiani alla tradizione del realismo politico e quale la sua attualità?

Panel 13.6 Contested borders. Identity and public role of "political science" in the Italian case from 1861 to 1968

During his scientific career, Giorgio Sola carried out al lot of research on the history of political science as a discipline and on the history of Italian political science. In particular, he studied the most problematic phase, which preceded the scientific recognition of the discipline and its entry into the Italian university system. In fact, during this long historical phase, political science collided with cultural, institutional and political obstacles, which were gradually overcome only in the 1960s and 1970s.
Developing these interests, the panel focuses on the difficult definition of the boundaries of political science as a discipline, but also on the boundaries of neighboring disciplines, such as “political sciences”, “social sciences”, “(political) sociology”, science of administration”, international politics/international relations, etc.
The panel therefore encourages papers that can enrich the history of Italian political science in the period between national unification and the university reform of 1968, which introduced political science into political science courses.
In particular, papers are requested that focus on the following aspects:
- Experiences and contributions in the various fields of political science (political theory, comparative politics, administration science, International Relations) in the period between 1861 and 1968;
- Theoretical and methodological debates on the legitimacy of "political science" and on the "scientific" study of politics;
- Debates on the public utility of political science and political science;
- Experiences of specific educational institutions (public and private) operating in the various fields of political science investigation;
- Debates on the boundaries between "political science", "political science" and "social science" and on the public role of these disciplines
- Debates and experiences (courses of study, scientific journals, conferences, etc.) relating to the "political" study of international politics;
- Debates and experiences (courses of study, scientific journals, conferences, etc.) relating to the "political" study of public administration.

Chairs: Damiano Palano

Discussants: Marco Almagisti

Scienze in conflitto. Strategie di legittimazione pubblica delle scienze politiche e sociali nell’Italia degli anni Cinquanta e Sessanta
Damiano Palano
La conquista della legittimità accademica da parte della scienza politica nell’Italia del secondo dopoguerra fu ostacolata da una pluralità di resistenze o ostilità, che diversi studi hanno contribuito a mettere in luce. Meno considerato è stato il fatto che quella battaglia culturale andò a collocarsi all’interno di un quadro segnato da una piuttosto marcata contrapposizione tra due modelli di studio dei fenomeni sociali e politici: per un verso, la scienza politica doveva infatti ricercare la propria autonomia nel quadro delle consolidate “scienze politiche”, che avevano trovato un riconoscimento accademico con l’istituzione di specifiche Facoltà già nel corso degli anni Venti ma che non avevano riconosciuto una specificità alla “scienza politica” (al singolare); per un altro verso, la scienza politica – il cui modello giungeva in misura preponderante da quello della political science comportamentista degli anni Cinquanta e Sessanta – vedeva contestata la propria legittimità e il proprio ruolo politico dagli alfieri della necessità di consolidare l’autonomo campo di studi della “sociologia”, intesa nel dibattito pubblico come una disciplina realmente innovativa, in grado di contribuire alla risoluzione di molti consolidati problemi della società italiana, e talvolta colorata anche da sfumature politiche rivoluzionarie. Tale contrapposizione conobbe la principale manifestazione nel corso della discussione sulla riforma delle Facoltà di Scienze politiche, protrattasi fino al 1968, quando emerse un fronte composito che ambiva a sostituire le vecchie Facoltà con nuove Facoltà di Sociologia. Il paper ricostruisce le differenti strategie di legittimazione adottate dai sostenitori delle varie posizioni, soffermandosi in particolare sul ruolo pubblico assegnato a ciascuna disciplina.
Federico Chabod e il pensiero politico: metodo e posizionamento nel pensiero dello storico valdostano
Orazio Maria Gnerre
Federico Chabod è notoriamente stato uno dei più celebri storici contemporanei italiani. Il suo contributo ha esteso l'influenza della sua disamina nello studio di vari concetti-chiave del pensiero sociale e politico, europei e mondiali. Alcuni di questi concetti, di grande importanza per la storia dell'umanità e per i suoi percorsi di sviluppo socio-politici, sono quelli di “nazione”, “Europa” e “Stato”. L'approccio adottato nell'interpretazione di questi concetti, da lui stesso definito “filologico”, si basa sul loro utilizzo nella storia del pensiero e sull'identificazione dei loro significati oggettivi. In questo intervento intendiamo utilizzare i tre concetti-chiave suddetti per dimostrare, attraverso l'esplicitazione del loro utilizzo storico. Successivamente analizzeremo, sempre servendoci del materiale già raccolto delle sue lezioni, i concetti di “liberalismo” e “cosmopolitismo”, identificando i momenti di posizionamento politico di Chabod. Nel far questo tratteggeremo la differenza tra “momento soggettivo” e “momento oggettivo” della ricerca storica dell'Autore, ripiegando questa divisione sul suo stesso lavoro intellettuale. Questo tipo di riflessione è importante per comprendere, attraverso la lezione che Chabod stesso ci ha fornito sul metodo da applicare alla storiografia, il ruolo della politica non solo all'interno delle vicende storiche, quanto anche come punto di partenza necessitato della ricerca, che per molti versi inverte la prospettiva weberiana sull'avalutatività delle scienze sociali. L'intervento intende concludersi con una riflessione, attraverso e oltre Chabod, sul rapporto complesso e mai sciolto tra posizionamento e scientificità nel mondo contemporaneo.
I primi elitisti e il ruolo pubblico della (scienza) politica
Antonio Campati
Nei decenni conclusivi del XIX secolo, alcuni pensatori italiani (più o meno noti) proponevano delle riflessioni sul sistema politico che contenevano in nuce elementi che andranno poi a comporre il bagaglio teorico-concettuale della scienza politica contemporanea. Si pensi, per esempio, a Ruggiero Bonghi, che nel 1865 utilizza l’espressione “classe politica” in alcuni opuscoli che riguardano le elezioni e la degenerazione del sistema parlamentare. O a Pasquale Turiello che pubblica nel 1882 un libro dal titolo "Governo e governati in Italia". Oppure ad Attilio Brunialti, promotore di una celebre Biblioteca di Scienze politiche e autore di alcuni interessanti riflessioni sul legame tra sistema elettorale e rappresentanza politica. Un dato significativo che accomuna l’esperienza di questi pensatori è che essi ricoprivano un ruolo pubblico ben evidente: scrivano sui maggiori quotidiani dell’epoca, talvolta ne erano i fondatori, ricoprivano ruoli pubblici, insegnavano nelle accademie e nei luoghi di alta formazione dell’epoca. Indubbiamente, i lettori dei quotidiani o gli animatori della vita culturale erano certamente parte di un gruppo ristretto; l’audience non era quella delle folle novecentesche, né quella degli sciami digitali odierni. Però, l’incisività delle loro analisi ha effettivamente influenzato la formazione di alcuni canoni interpretativi che la scienza politica poi formalizzerà in modo rigoroso. Il paper si propone un duplice obiettivo. Soffermandosi soprattutto su quegli aspetti che rimandano alle dinamiche di concentrazione del potere nelle mani di pochi, quindi sul potere e sul ruolo delle élite politiche, tenterà, in primo luogo, di far emergere come questi autori sono parte a pieno titolo della schiera degli “anticipatori” della teoria della classe politica, che Gaetano Mosca fisserà in maniera emblematica nei suoi lavori. In secondo luogo, cercherà di evidenziare come proprio questa attenzione nei confronti dei governanti li ha anche resi “anticipatori” anche della proiezione pubblica della “scienza politica”.
Una scienza senza eredi. Genealogia della Scienza dell'amministrazione
Andrea Rapini
La relazione spiega le metamorfosi della Scienza dell'amministrazione dalla sua istituzionalizzazione nella facoltà di Giurisprudenza (1875) alla de-istituzionalizzazione (1935) e lo slittamento del suo oggetto, dei confini disciplinari e dello statuto scientifico. Avvalendosi della social network analysis, la relazione oggettiva la struttura della rete di relazioni tra commissari che governò tutti i concorsi universitari in Scienza dell’amministrazione, mostrando i rapporti di potere interni. Infine, la valorizzazione delle indicazioni provenienti dai networks, consente di approfondire la biografia scientifica di alcuni giuristi per intendere il loro contributo specifico alla riproduzione del sapere e coniugare l’analisi delle idee e delle strutture sociali con quella degli attori.
Vilfredo Pareto: una prospettiva di studio di scienza politica
Giovanna Pugno Vanoni
Vilfredo Pareto è il maggiore economista che l’Italia abbia espresso e tra i pochi grandi nella storia del pensiero economico. Grande soggettivamente per la genialità dell’uomo e oggettivamente per l’influsso, enorme, che ha esercitato e ancora esercita sulla scienza economica contemporanea. Fu un grandissimo economista perché non fu solo economista. Infatti è uno dei pochi scienziati sociali considerato un classico in più ambiti delle scienze sociali: oltre che dell’economia è un classico della sociologia, della scienza politica e della statistica e questa straordinaria combinazione di qualità ne fa un autore unico in tale panorama di studi. [ Cfr. , di Luigino Bruni]. Vilfredo Pareto nasce il 15 luglio 1848 a Parigi, dove si era rifugiato nei primi anni Trenta suo padre Raffaele (1812-1888), nobile genovese, esperto di ingegneria idraulica e mazziniano, personaggio dalla ricca e poliedrica personalità che ebbe un ruolo importante nell’educazione scientifica del figlio. La madre Marie Métenier (1813-1889) era invece francese . Probabilmente nel 1854, ancora bambino, Vilfredo torna a Genova e, a Casale Monferrato prima, e, a Torino poi, frequenta l’istituto tecnico nella sezione industriale. Quindi, sempre a Torino, si iscrive alla facoltà di Scienze, e quindi alla Scuola di applicazione per ingegneri, dove nel 1870 ottiene a pieni voti il diploma di ingegnere. Dalla laurea fino al suo trasferimento a Losanna, avvenuto nel 1893, Pareto fa l’ingegnere in grandi imprese italiane, prima a Firenze, dove risiedeva anche parte della sua famiglia natale e dove lavora nella Società anonima delle strade ferrate, e, dal 1873, a San Giovanni Valdarno nella Società per l’industria del ferro, dove è dapprima ingegnere e dirigente, e, dal 1880, direttore generale della nuova Società delle Ferriere Italiane. In questi primi venti anni di lavoro in Toscana, Pareto si convince sempre più che tra le azioni dei tecnici che egli aveva modo di osservare nelle sue imprese, e che erano tese a ottimizzare la produzione, e le azioni dei politici e dei riformatori sociali vi è una sostanziale differenza. Le prime sono ispirate e guidate dalla scienza, dalla ragione scientifica e sperimentale, mentre le seconde sono mosse normalmente da passioni, da interessi, da istinti, ma rivestiti di logicità. Sarà questa l’idea base della sua teoria sociale, soprattutto nell’età matura. Come scrive Bruni, «la vita e l’opera di Pareto possono essere suddivise in tre periodi: 1) l’ingegnere, 2) l’economista, 3) il sociologo, sebbene in tutte le fasi ritroviamo, in proporzioni variabili, i tre Pareto. L’unico modo scientifico di avvicinarsi alla realtà è attenersi ai nudi fatti. Questi ultimi, nel mondo delle azioni umane, si svelano attraverso un approccio interdisciplinare e sociologico in modo particolare» . Pareto è stato impegnato fin dal 1898 nell’elaborazione dei ‘Systèmes socialistes’, pubblicati nel 1901-1902. Emergono: il prevalere del sentimento sul ragionamento nell’azione umana e quindi nella storia; il bisogno che gli uomini hanno di giustificare con ragionamenti il loro atteggiamento pratico; la distinzione tra valore teorico, efficacia pratica e utilità sociale nell’analisi delle teorizzazioni. Anche nel ‘Manuale di economia politica’ del 1906 Pareto riconsidera la teoria delle élites. Infine, secondo Samuels, il lungo itinerario della ricerca paretiana si conclude con una analisi quanto mai significativa del potere, inteso come fenomeno globale cui fanno riferimento tutte le complesse strumentazioni analitiche approntate dal ricercatore nel corso dei suoi studi socio-economici . L’analisi è svolta da Pareto da un punto di vista gnoseologico e psicologico, nell’intento di evidenziare la dinamica con cui interessi, sentimenti, ragionamenti logici e non logici agiscono sul potere e lo strutturano. Ecco quindi dei nuclei di questioni: I) il punto di incontro tra scienza e politica: l’approccio metodologico; a) il passaggio dallo scientismo positivistico al relativismo scientifico; b) i modelli di approccio ai vari livelli analitici e il metodo logico-empirico utilizzato nella prospettiva storico-comparativa; c) il processo di scientificizzazione: fasi analitiche e uso empirico del linguaggio nello studio delle teorie. II) La dimensione del politico; d) l’analisi dell’azione umana e i criteri della condotta politica; e) l’analisi dei fattori del sistema sociale e le implicazioni politiche dell’utilità sociale; f) l’analisi dei cicli storici e le élites come elemento costitutivo del dinamismo storico. Il paper si propone di evidenziare i contributi specifici della teoria paretiana alla scienza politica sulla base dell’analisi della vita e delle opere di Pareto e sulla falsariga dello studio, pubblicato negli anni Settanta, del professore Dino Fiorot ‘Politica e scienza in Vilfredo Pareto. La teoria delle élites. Il punto di incontro tra scienza e politica. La dimensione del politico. Attualità e limiti del pensiero di Pareto’ (Edizioni di Comunità, Milano 1975), nell’orizzonte degli sviluppi della scienza politica europea contemporanea.