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 political institutions. The second part of the course will be centred on the theme of democracy that will be analyzed both from the historical and from the theoretical viewpoint.
Part I. Some basic concepts of political philosophy
Models of justification of political power - organicism vs. contractualism
The state - origins and history
Forms of state and forms of government
Part II. Democracy: history and problems
Democracy - basic definitions
Athenian democracy - history, institutions, Plato and Aristotle
From the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Age
The English Revolution and the foundation of modern democracy - the historical context, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau
The American and French Revolutions
Democracy in the nineteenth century - the historical context, Tocqueville, Mill, Marx
Democracy in the twentieth century - the historical context, Weber, elitism, Kelsen, democracy in the supranational sphere
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
Students attending lectures should study: C. Galli,
Abbiccì della cronaca politica, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2012; S. Petrucciani, Democrazia, Torino, Einaudi, 2014.
Other texts that may be useful in order to deepen the understanding of the issues treated during the course are:
N. Bobbio, N. Matteucci, G. Pasquino (a cura di), Dizionario di politica, Torino, UTET, 2004;
C. Galli, R. Esposito (a cura di), Enciclopedia del pensiero politico, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2005;
N. Bobbio, Stato, governo, società, Torino, Einaudi, 1995;
G. Duso (a cura di), Oltre la democrazia, Roma, Carocci, 2004;
M.I. Finley, La democrazia degli antichi e dei moderni, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2005;
A. Ferrara, Democrazia e apertura, Milano, Bruno Mondadori, 2012;
D. Held, Modelli di democrazia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2007;
B. Manin, Principi del governo rappresentativo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2010;
L. Marchettoni, Relativismo e differenza culturale, Roma, Nuova Cultura, 2012;
D. della Porta, I partiti politici, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2015;
G. Preterossi, Ciò che resta della democrazia, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2015.
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. Since April, several workshops will take place during which some issues will be explored in greater detail.
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral examination. Abstract and applied knowledge will be tested with open questions. Students who have attended the lectures can give a short paper on the topics of the workshops.