04871 - Italian Political System

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

Students acquire familiarity with the main actors and institutions of the Italian political system. They learn to analyse the function of major institutions (such as the parliament, government and constitutional court) and to interpret the institutional and political changes of recent decades.

Course contents

The aim of the course is to offer conceptual tools for framing and interpreting the many dimensions of the Italian political system.

A first brief history examines the construction of the unified state, and the continuities and discontinuities between the liberal, Fascist and democratic republican regimes. We then focus on the reasons for and consequences of the transition from the first to the second republic. This is followed by study of the electoral arena and evolution of the party system in parallel with discussion of Italian political culture.

The latter part of the course, in the form of seminars, will be dedicated to the topic of populism and the link between ethnos (community identity) and democratic values.


Reading material for non-attending students

  1. Carlo Guarnieri, Il sistema politico italiano, Bologna: Il Mulino, 2021
  2. Marco Almagisti, Luca Lanzalaco, Luca Verzichelli (a cura di), La transizione politica italiana. Da Tangentopoli a oggi. Roma: Carocci, 2014 (solo capitoli 2 e 4)
  3. Alessandro Chiaramonte e Lorenzo De Sio (a cura di), Terremoto elettorale. Le elezioni politiche del 2013. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2014 (solo capitoli II e IX)
  4. Alessandro Chiaramonte e Lorenzo De Sio (a cura di), Il voto del cambiamento. Le elezioni politiche del 2018. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2019 (capitoli VII e IX)
  5. Bordandini, Paola, La fiducia in Italia, in: L'Italia e le sue regioni - volume quarto: "Società", Roma, Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana Fondata da G. Treccani S.p.A., 2015, pp. 79 - 92
  6. Bordandini, Paola; Cartocci, Roberto, Quante Italie? Il ritorno al tradizionale cleavage tra Nord e Sud del Paese, «CAMBIO», 2014, Numero 8, pp. 47 - 66
  7. Roberto Cartocci, Costruzione della nazione e capitale sociale, in: Fare il cittadino. La formazione di un nuovo soggetto sociale nell'Europa tra XIX e XXI secolo, Soveria Mannelli, RUBBETTINO, 2012, pp. 83 – 96

and one of the following books:

1. Marco Tarchi, "Italia populista. Dal qualunquismo a Beppe Grillo", Il Mulino, 2015.

2. Carlo Tullio Altan, "Ethnos e Civiltà. Identità etniche e valori democratici", Feltrinelli, Milano, 1995.


Reference texts for attending students are substantially the same as for non-attending students, though some may be replaced by specific tests or teaching material supplied by the teacher during the course.

The teacher reserves the right to modify the list of reading matter before lectures begin.

Teaching methods

Lectures with discussion make up the first two thirds of the course. The last third of the course consists of seminars. Experts may be heard on specific topics.

Assessment methods

"Non-attending" students are assessed by oral examination based on the reading matter.

"Attending" students (students who regularly attend classes) are assessed in two steps, which contribute equally to the final grade:

1) a written exam on site (health situation permitting) based on two or three open questions on the general part of the course, otherwise an online oral examination regarding the topics of the lessons.

2) critical presentation on site of a seminar topic agreed with the teacher. The product of group work, the presentation may be in the form of a Power Point or a ten-minute Mp4 video

Teaching tools

Lectures make use of slides, films and documentaries.

Office hours

See the website of Paola Bordandini