The course aims at reconstructing the core elements of Italian politics, from three different points of view: history, political system and political culture. After a brief introduction to the main elements of political science and to the Italian context, the course is divided into three parts, corresponding to these aspects.
The introductory lectures are mainly historical and aim at reconstructing the shape of the Italian political system and culture as they emerged from the process of state-building started with the unification of the country in 1861, and from the transition to democracy after the Second World War. This part is dedicated in particular to the rise and consolidation of mass political parties (Christian Democracy, Socialist Party and Communist Party), the role of Italian unconventional political actors, the 1970s as an era of massive collective action, the political crisis of the early 1990s and the new political system that emerged from it.
The second part of the course is dedicated to the description of the current Italian political system. It starts from an analysis of the Italian Constitution and it includes lectures on the role of executive, legislative and judiciary power, on electoral laws and party system, on the relationship between central and local government and on the gradual integration of Italy into the European Union.
The third part is dedicated to the Italian political culture and it discusses some peculiar topics, such as the role of organised crime, the influence of the Catholic Church, or the evolution of the media system, that have deeply influenced Italian politics.
Throughout the course, principles, theories and methods of political science are introduced, through the reference to Italian examples.