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COURSE NAME: "Italian Politics and Society "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017

INSTRUCTOR: Gabriele Simoncini
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 3:00-4:15 PM
PREREQUISITES: PL 223 recommended for students majoring in Political Science and International Affairs

This course examines the evolution of Italian political culture from 1945 to the present. Highlighting the problems of developing a national identity and the legacies of Fascism and the Resistance in influencing the 1948 Constitution, the course will look at Italy’s position during the Cold War, the economic miracle of the 1950s, the political conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s, the end of the First Republic and the political scene since 1992, as well as the political influence of such actors as the Vatican and the Mafia. This course examines the major features of the political and social systems of the Italian Republic. Topics of analysis include the Constitution, the Italian economy, the role of the State, unions, the relationship between North and South, NATO, the U.S.-Italian partnership, and the European Union. Special attention will be given to the political developments leading to the establishment of the Second Republic.

This course covers political and social change in the recent history of Italy to the present, focussing on current political life and society.  A general historical introduction is provided.  Economic, social, and cultural aspects are treated.  Political theories, political movements, and ideologies including Liberalism and Communism are covered.  Nationalism and the Fascism era are analyzed.  Investigation focuses on transitional phenomena, political players, and structural fundamentals.  Italy is studied in the context of European Integration and the broader global scenario.  Particular attention is dedicated to specific social issues including, corruption, political terrorism, and the Mafia.  The Italian educational system, labour movement, and the “Made in Italy” business are treated.  The Vatican, Catholic Church, and Freemasonry are analyzed.  Identity and ethnicity are addressed including the issues of national identity, regionalism, separatism, and federalism.  The program covers Italy as a multinational society analysing ethnicity, immigration, and integration, with a special attention to the case of the Roma people.  Major political and scholarly interpretations of the periods and topics covered will be considered.  The class format includes lectures, discussion, team work, presentations, and audiovisual materials. The students will be asked to produce a research project, making extensive personal use of information and communication technology.  Guest speakers and field trips are planned.


Students will develop the ability to critically analyze the background and the present state of Italian politics.  They will be able to relate Italian political ideas, events, and players to the broader European and global political context.  Experience education, including guest speakers, field trips and team work will allow the students to better comprehend Italian realities.  Students will develop ability to conduct basic research, organize and present their findings in a logical and independent way.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Italy Today. Facing the Challenges of the New Millennium.Mignone M. B.New York, 20089781433101878  
Italy Today: The Sick Man of Europe.Mammone A., Veltri G., (eds.)London, 2010.9780415561600  
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Modern Italy.Foot J.New York, 2014.978023036033  
The Politics of Italian National Identity.Bedani G., Haddock B.London, 2000.9780708316221  
The Politics of Italy.Newell J. L.Cambridge, 2010.9780521600460   
The Failure of Italian Nationhood: The Geopolitics of a Troubled Identity.Graziano A.London, 2010.9780230104136  

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Italian Regionalism. History, Identity and Politics. Levy C. (Ed.)Oxford, 1996.9781859731567  
Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Putnam R. D.Princeton, 1993. 9780691037387  
Class participation  10%
Midterm exam The midterm and final exam have the same format. The exams consist of two parts of equal value. The first part is an essay, the student will choose from one of three proposed themes, and will write a well-organized essay. The second part of the exam consists of ten terms to be concisely defined.20%
Presentation and other assignments In-class Presentation: Students are required to give a short individual or team presentation on a specific topic of their choice, approved by the instructor and related to the class program. The presentation will be well-organized, concise, and include (when opportune) audiovisual and electronic materials. A draft presentation must be submitted to the instructor before presenting in class. An electronic version of the presentation must be given to the instructor in class, in person, during any of the last three classes. Files send by email are not accepted. The deadline is the last class. No materials will be accepted past the deadline. 15%
Final exam The midterm and final exam have the same format. The exams consist of two parts of equal value. The first part is an essay, the student will choose from one of three proposed themes, and will write a well-organized essay. The second part of the exam consists of ten terms to be concisely defined.25%
Final project with portfolio Final Project: The final paper (3,000 words) will be on any topic of the student’s choice related to the class program. The topic should be precisely defined and worthy of investigation. An electronic version of the project must be given to the instructor in class, in person, during any of the last three classes. Files sent by email are not accepted. The deadline is the last class. No materials will be accepted past the deadline. To produce the final project, students will receive written instructions in class. During the semester, students will show the instructor their final project work in progress and receive checks. Portfolio: In order to produce their final papers, students will keep a portfolio of research materials during the semester. The portfolio will be shared with, and evaluated by the instructor. The production of the final paper is a work in progress during the semester. The portfolio and the paper project are progressive steps toward completion of the final paper. A portfolio containing samples of reference materials must be attached to the final project.30%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cou
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


A maximum of four absences are allowed throughout the semester.  Any additional absence will result in a penalization of one grade level (e.g.: from B+ to B for five absences, B+ to B- for six absences, B- to C+ for seven absences, etc.).  Two latenesses count for one absence.  Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class by calling students’ names.  Students not answering will be marked absent. Students arrived late will ask the instructor to be market late at the end of the class, after which attendance records will not be modified.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Unit    1 Introduction.  Methodology.  Terminology.  Definitions.

(Aug. 28, 30)                                                                                                                                                                                       (assigned readings)

Unit    2  Eras of Historical and Cultural Development.  Territory, Economy, and Society.  The People and the Nation. 

(Sep. 4, 6)                                                                                                                          (Mignone, pp. 1-30; Mammone, pp. 1-16; assigned readings)

Unit    3  Political and Social Foundations.  Government Structure.  The Multi-Party System.  Elections.  Partitocracy

(Sep. 11, 13)                                                                                                                                                      (Mignone, pp. 31-60assigned readings)

Unit    4  Decisive Turning Points and Constitutional Transformation.  Historic Compromise.  The Second Republic.

(Sep. 18, 20, 22)                                                                                                            (Mignone, pp. 61-84; Mammone, pp. 17-48; assigned readings)

Unit    5
  Dangers to the State. Plots and Terrorism.  Students Revolt.  Revolutionary Organizations.  Mafias and Crime.

(Sep. 25, 27)                                                                                                                                                    (Mignone, pp. 85-106; assigned readings)

Unit    6  U.S. Italian Relations.  Dependent Ally or Independent Partner?  American Cultural Penetration.

(Oct. 2, 4*)                                                                                                                (Mignone, pp. 107-122; Mammone, pp. 49-98; assigned readings)


Unit    7  The Economic Recovery.  Agricultural Reconstruction.  Industrialization and State Industries.  Recession.

(Oct. 9, 11)                                                                                                             (Mignone, pp. 123-156 ; Mammone, pp. 99-113; assigned readings)

Unit    8  Industrial Change and Social Transformation.  Economic Boom.  Underground Economy.  The Labor market.  

(Oct. 16, 18)                                                                                                          (Mignone, pp. 157-180; Mammone, pp. 114-142; assigned readings)

Unit    9  The two Italy.  The Southern Question. Stereotypes and Historical Division. Poor State Planning and Politics.

(Oct. 23, 25*)                                                                                                        (Mignone, pp. 180-206; Mammone, pp. 143-170; assigned readings)


Unit  10  Emigration, Migration, Immigration, and Social Transformation.  Internal Migration and Regional Identities.

(Oct. 30)                                                                                                                (Mignone, pp. 207-230; Mammone, pp. 171-198; assigned readings)

Unit  11  Democratizing the Education System.  The Transformation of the University System.  Barons.  Radical reforms.

(Nov. 6, 8)                                                                                                             (Mignone, pp. 231-262; Mammone, pp. 199-228; assigned readings)

Unit  12  Secularization of State and Society.  The Catholic Church.  Religion as Cultural Pillar.  Other religions.

(Nov. 13, 15)                                                                                                                                                 (Mignone, pp. 263-290 assigned readings)

Unit  13  Family: Tradition and Change.  Women’s Movement and Gender Relations.  Familism.  New Legislation.

(Nov. 20, 22)                                                                                                           (Mignone, pp. 293-341; Mammone, p. 229-242; assigned readings)

Unit  14  Italy, the European Union, and Globalization.  Conclusion.

(Nov. 27, 29*)                                                                                                                                             (Mammone, pp. 243-252; assigned readings)


 (Dec. 1-7, tba*)         


 Films/Audiovisual Materials Sessions:

(Monday Sep. 25 at 19:30)       “on Mafia”

(Monday Oct. 23 at 19:30)       “on Minorities”

(Monday Nov. 6 at 19:30)        “on Corruption”


The syllabus schedule may undergo reasonable changes in relation to guest speakers, field trips, make-ups, discussions, events, and other contingencies.