In order to mark the 150th anniversary of Italian unification, papers are invited which seek to throw light on the significance of Unification itself for an understanding of the nature of Italian politics and/or society today. In principle, such a task could be approached from a number of different angles including:
- asking about the extent to which problems that stood in the way of effective unification - for example, the north-south divide; the role of the Church in Italian politics; the weakness of the state; the presence of organised crime in some parts of the South - remain significant today. How much progress has been made in resolving such problems over the past 150 years? What kind of progress? Progress (or the lack of it) thanks to what?
- asking about the creation of Italian national identity. Massimo d'Azeglio's famous phrase was, 'We have made Italy, now we have to make Italians'. To what extent has the task been completed? What obstacles remain? In what does Italian national identity consist today? Every country is 'exceptional', 'abnormal' or 'anomalous' in one respect or another. So: what are the differentiae specificae of 'Italian-ness' today? What challenges does it face (e.g. from immigration)?
- asking about the extent to which the most significant issues surrounding Italian democracy today can be understood in light of the circumstances surrounding Unification. One thinks here of issues such as the lack of full legitimacy accorded to each other by the two main coalitions, or the lack of complete political (as opposed to formal and procedural) legitimacy accorded by all of the main forces to the 1948 constitution. Are these issues of merely recent origin, or do they have deeper roots?
In short, papers are invited which in one way or another, from a general perspective or the perspective of a specific issue, contribute to a stock-taking of the problems and achievements of the Italian political system 150 years after it came into being.
The theme of the 107th annual meeting is 'The Politics of Rights'. The notion of rights has no meaning outside of the context of polities that recognise them and whose institutions uphold them. By shedding light on the nature of the Italian polity 150 years after it came into existence, papers presented to the panel will contribute to the task of illuminating the politics of rights in a major European country - thereby helping to illuminate the context and implications of such politics, domestically, comparatively and internationally.
Paper proposals should be submitted online through the MyAPSA system at http://www.apsanet.org/
Queries can be sent to the CONGRIPS Program Committee Chair, Jim Newell.
For more information about the conference please visit the APSA website.