Learning outcomes of the course unit
Lectures aim at providing students with basic notions about the structure and functioning of political institutions, with particular reference to democratic systems. Students ought also acquire understanding skills that enable them to interpret current political affairs
Course contents summary
The first part of the course aims at providing an overall introduction to the theme of democracy. The second part of the course will be centred on the theme of constitutional democracy that will be analyzed both from the historical and from the theoretical viewpoint.
Part I. Democracy: a historical overview
Democracy – basic definitions
Athenian democracy – history, institutions,
Models of justification of political power: the organicist model
Plato and Aristotle’s political thought
From the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Age. Models of justification of political power.
Authority and sovereignty
Democracy in the Middle Ages
The state – origins and history
Forms of state and forms of government
Models of justification of political power: the contractarian model
The birth of civil society
The English Revolution and the foundation of modern democracy – the historical context, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau
The American and French Revolutions
The concept of constitution
Democracy in the nineteenth century – the historical context, Tocqueville, Mill, Marx
Democracy in the twentieth century – the historical context, Weber, elitism, Kelsen,
Constitutional democracy, democracy in the supranational sphere
Part II. Democracy: some theoretical issues
The justification of democracy
Democratic procedures – majority rule
Democracy and the media – digital democracy
Democracy and difference – cultural, religious, political
Crises and transformations of democracy – the crisis of representation, democracy and economy, democracy and supranational spaces
Part III. Constitutional democracy
Formal content of constitutional democracy
Substantial content of constitutional democracy
Constitutionalism: crisis and transformation
Students attending lectures should study: S. Petrucciani, Democrazia, Torino, Einaudi, 2014; L. Ferrajoli, Sulla democrazia costituzionale, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2016.
Other texts that may be useful in order to deepen the understanding of the issues treated during the course are:
R. Esposito, C. Galli (a cura di), Enciclopedia del pensiero politico, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2005;
A. Barbera, C. Fusaro, Corso di diritto pubblico, Bologna, Il Mulino, ultima edizione;
D. Held, Modelli di democrazia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2007;
L. Ferrajoli, La democrazia attraverso i diritti, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2013,
G. Pino, V. Villa (a cura di), Rule of law. L’ideale della legalità, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2016.
Students who cannot attend lectures should study: S. Petrucciani, Modelli di filosofia politica, Torino, Einaudi, 2003.
Oral lessons. During lessons further bibliographical references will be given.
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral examination. Abstract and applied knowledge will be tested with open questions.