Italian Democracy: How It Works, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Italian Democracy

How It Works, 1st Edition

By Gianfranco Pasquino


256 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-11-29
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This textbook, from one of Italy’s most eminent scholars, provides broad coverage and critique of Italian politics and society.

Providing the readers with the knowledge necessary to understand the working of the Italian political system, it also offers answers to some of the most important challenges facing the country – and other contemporary democracies – today, such as populism, anti-politics, and corruption. Critical but underpinned by thorough data and analysis, it presents alternative views alongside the author’s interpretation. Crucially, the book uses a comparative framework to explain Italy’s transformation and evaluate its performance. Comparing the rules, institutions, parties, and actors at work in the most important European political systems - France, Germany, Great Britain - with those in Italy, the Italian context is better understood and assessed in contrast.

This text will be essential reading for students and scholars of Italian politics and European politics, and more broadly for comparative politics and democracy.


"Most unexpected, though not unpredictable, events have deeply changed Italian politics in recent years. Italy is not the 'mistero buffo' no outsider can understand. Jettisoning stereotypes and resorting to a thoughtful analysis nurtured by comparative knowledge, Gianfranco Pasquino offers to us all a formidable lesson in political science." - Giuliano Amato, Prime Minister of Italy (1992-93; 2000-01).

"Gianfranco Pasquino, an authority on Italian politics and perceptive commentator, provides a sharp and thoughtful analysis of Italy’s political system and institutions, their foundations and changes over the last decades. Anyone interested in understanding Italian democracy and its problems would be well advised to read this book." - Ilaria Favretto, Kingston University, UK.

"Italian politics may appear complicated – even byzantine - and not only to outsiders. Gianfranco Pasquino lifts the veil with the skill of a consummate expert. He provides an indispensable tool to explain and analyse, sometimes polemically, the intricacies of the Italian political system and does so with a healthy dose of comparative awareness."Donald Sassoon, Queen Mary, University of London, UK.

"The authoritative perspective on Italy’s political decline: an outstanding distillation of a lifetime’s study of Italian politics."David Hine, Christ Church College Oxford, UK.

Table of Contents

1. A Classic Parliamentary Republic

2. One, Two, Many Electoral Laws

3. Political Parties, Party Government, and Partyocracy

4. A Parliament of Parties

5. Governments

6. The Accordion of the Presidents

7. Civil Society

8. Italy and the European Union

9. Quality of Democracy

About the Author

Gianfranco Pasquino is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Bologna, Italy, and James Anderson Senior Adjunct Lecturer at SAIS-Europe.

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