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01/2019 – L’Europa e l’umanità. Tra particolarismo e cosmopolitismo

ISSN: 2037-495X
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pensare l’europa

L’Europa e l’umanità. Sul problema dell’universalismo della civiltà europea Antonio G. Balistreri


democrazia e (ri)definizioni

La fine di un ciclo democratico. Su Gauchet, Rosanvallon, Schnapper Andrea Frangioni

Rappresentanza, classe politica, democrazia: profilo sintetico di una crisi Maurizio Griffo


osservatorio italiano

La credibilità dei media. I “supereroi” della politica e le complicità dei giornalisti Fabio Martini


archivio del realismo politico

Le trasformazioni dello Stato ‘moderno’ e il fenomeno corporativo fascista nell’interpretazione di Lorenzo Ornaghi. Vecchi appunti di lettura e riflessioni recenti Alessandro Campi


osservatorio internazionale

La maggiore assertività della politica estera russa: la “rivoluzione passiva” e il caso della Georgia Loretta Dell’Aguzzo, Emidio Diodato

Rileggere A. James Gregor dalla prospettiva della teoria delle Relazioni Internazionali Corrado Stefanachi

La dimensione culturale dello State-building post-conflict: osservazioni sulle sfide del terreno umano Paolo Quercia


teoria politica

Perché studiare i confini oggi? Riflessioni sul concetto e sulle sue contraddizioni Nadine Innocenzi

Il concetto di post-scarsità fra teoria politica e letterartura speculativa Luca Ozzano


storia delle idee politiche

Un “collettivo intellettuale”? Diversità e conflitti nella prima Mont Pelerin Society Jeremy Shearmur


Antonio G. Balistreri, Europe and Humanity. On the Problem of the Universalism of European Civilization

The problem presented here is whether European civilization can be considered a universal civilization, to the point of being identifiable with humanity itself. This claim was challenged in a short but dense essay by Nikolai Trubeckoj published in 1920, entitled Europe and Humanity. The author set out to show that Europe’s universalistic claim was unfounded, because, in reality, its culture was the product of a rather peculiar Roman-Germanic ethnic conglomeration, not so much concerned with humanity as with world domination.

However, our aim here is to specify what exactly is meant by “universal civilization” and examine whether the European one can be considered as such. The assumption is that there is no incompatibility between Europe and humanity as a whole, that, indeed, Europe has thought in forms of universality, and that what is European can also be universal (as happens with capitalism, democracy, technology, science and human rights). Furthermore, it should be noted that if only Europe has managed to think in terms of universality, this has been possible because, contemporaneously, only Europe has created a new horizon of values based on modernity.


Andrea Frangioni, The end of a democratic cycle. On Gauchet, Rosanvallon, Schnapper

The essay summarizes the main aspects of recent analisys of Marcel Gauchet (L’Avènement de la Démocratie), Pierre Rosanvallon (Contre-démocratie, La légitimité démocratique , La société des égaux) and Dominique Schnapper (L’Esprit démocratique des lois) about history and evolution of democratic societies. From this starting point of view, the essay focuses on radical changes represented, in the history of democratic societies, by the years around 1870, on one hand, and the years around 1970, on the other. The conclusion is that we are probably facing, in Western countries, the end of a cycle of democracy expansion, with a crisis due to the radical individualization of our societies since Seventies and to the recent reaction against it, when the economic crisis has destroyed the promise of a continuous economic and social progress


Maurizio Griffo, Representation, political class, democracy: synthetic profile of a crisis

For some years now there has been a crisis of democracies that is recorded, albeit in different forms, under all latitudes. To be understood this phenomenon must be studied in parallel with the changes occurred in the recruitment and formation of political classes. At the end of the eighteenth century, modern representative regimes were born as a great discovery of political science: gathering in one center the best competences, dispersed throughout the national territory. This characteristic is maintained even in the following seasons. First with the party of notables in which the political commitment was the prestigious crowning of a professional career, then with the mass party that recruited its leaders in social classes hitherto excluded from public life. In contemporary societies, however, politics has lost its attractiveness. The politician is no longer an expert on peaceful human coexistence, but a communications professional with little capacity to manage increasingly complex administrative machines.


Fabio Martini, The media-system and its credibility. The “superheroes” of politics and the complicity of journalist

For decades the media have been producing a representation of politics in which good people and bad people predominate. The success of “outraged” talk-shows, shouted headlines, the constant dramatization in the newspapers have fostered a syncopated language and antagonist feelings in the public. Leaders who regard the form of communication as important as its content – Berlusconi, Renzi, Salvini, Di Maio – have contributed to promote the rise of the prophets of new. The media’s vocation to flanking, however, combines with a new “law”: to faclilitate the leaders’ rise and then assist in their decline. A critical and self-critical analysis of a journalist who has been inside this ambivalent relationship for many years.


Alessandro Campi, The transformations of the ‘modern’ state and the fascist corporatism in the interpretation of Lorenzo Ornaghi

Is the history of Fascist corporatism only an unsuccessful story? Is there a political link beetwen corporatism and authoritarianism? What were the “real” consequences of Fascist corporatism, different from the ideological ones? According to Lorenzo Ornaghi corporatism was in Italy an institutional framework: systems of formal laws, regulations, norms and procedures, also informal. But it was also the answer to the historical and structural changes of the liberal state.


Emidio Diodato, Loretta Dell’Aguzzo, Russia’s foreign policy enhanced assertiveness: the ‘passive revolution’ and the case of Georgia

After the end of the Cold war, the Russian Federation had to recast its international identity and reshape its foreign policy goals. Extant research has frequently focused on foreign policy change and on variations between the presidencies of Eltsin and Putin. In this paper we first trace the evolution of Russia’s international posture after the collapse of Soviet Union and analyze its relations with Georgia, emphasizing that Russian foreign policy in its near abroad has been characterized by both continuity and change. In addition, discontinuities do not concern Russia’s understanding of its hegemonic role in the post-soviet region, but are more related with the means and the assertiveness the country has pursued its foreign policy goals. As a matter of fact, even though alternative geopolitical paradigms (Atlanticism vs. Eurasianism) have emerged and to a certain extent coexisted during the last decades, Russian Federation has constantly attempted at keeping Georgia within its sphere of influence. Main changes – as mentioned above – concern the foreign policy tools the country has resorted to: whereas during the 1990s Russia has frequently used its diplomatic and economic leveradge, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin the military tool was used as well. Indeed, the 2008 Georgian War was Russia’s first successful military action outside of its borders since the collapse of the Soviet Union and anticipated subsequent military actions against Ukraine and Syria.

In the second part of the paper we propose an interpretation of the Russia’s enhanced assertiveness grounded on domestic factors. More specifically, we consider the break of ‘siloviki’ into the upper echelon of power and the subsequent re-centralization of power in the country as the main determinants of changes in Russia’s relations with its near abroad. Our argument is that the replacement of fragmented and powerful interest groups with ‘siloviki’, namely members of security services who gained prominence in the ministries of internal affairs and defence, allowed Putin on one side to consolidate his own power enforcing a ‘power vertical’ and curtailing the autonomy of other political institutions, and, on the other side, to centralize the process of foreign-policy making and to prompt a more assertive foreign policy. We understand these changes as instances of a ‘passive revolution’, to wit the process of transformation of Russia’s nomenklatura that has unfolded during the neoliberal era. That being said, we also emphasize the role played by the international factors, especially NATO eastern enlargement, which frustrated Russian expectations to cooperate on an equal footing with western powers. In other words, in Russia’s view, the country’s efforts to build a closer and friendlier relation with former adversaries were not reciprocated. From this perspective, it appears quite evident that – once Russia’s capabilities have increased thanks to domestic changes – its reactions to the western interferences in the country’s near abroad have become more confrontational.


Corrado Stefanachi, A. James Gregor in the perspective of the International Relations

The article affirms that the seminal works by A. James Gregor on the Italian fascism, though generally neglected by International Relations scholars, are of great interest for the IR theory. Gregor argues that Italy, as a late comer in the international arena and as a late developing nation, has experienced a condition of extreme geopolitical vulnerability and national humiliation which has profoundly affected her domestic politics (the rise of an illiberal brand of nationalism, committed to rapid industrial development) and her foreign policy alike (the search for a “place in the sun”). By doing so, Gregor not only reminds IR scholars of the importance of the “second image reversed” (P. Gourevitch), i.e. the relevance of the international sources of domestic politics. He also highlights the specific geopolitical and psychological factors which tend to play a prominent role in the domestic and foreign policy of the late developing countries, especially the ones born of decolonization, of which Italy may be regarded, in some respects, as a forerunner and a paradigmatic case. By virtue of the notion of “generic fascism”, finally, Gregor offers some useful hints to the scholars interested in the understanding of the political conducts, in the post-Cold War era, of such important countries as Russia and China.


Paolo Quercia, The cultural dimension of Post-Conflict State Building. Considerations on the human terrain challenges  

This article discusses the concept of state-building in post-conflict environment, addressing the problems of how military missions interact with the civil societies in a stateless environment and the growing relevance of the cultural outreach with the different ethnic and religious groups as well as with NGOs and international organization. The unavoidability of the military-civil interactions opens the problem of how to engage local communities for the purposes of stabilization and state-building. The concept of human terrain is introduced and discussed together with those of ethnicity of state-building, cultural divides in configuring the hierarchies of social priorities and different statehood cultures. The transformation of conflict and warfare is also addressed and the author states that one aspect of this process is represented by the internationalization of weak-states’ internal cultural and ethnical fault lines. The article calls for strengthening the cultural dimension of peace-keeping and state-building both at tactical and strategical level.


Nadine Innocenzi, Why study borders now? Reflections on space, sovereignty and rights in globalization.

This essay presents some recent perspectives in the study of borders. Questioning the state-centric epistemology, animated by alterations and contradictions of globalization process, allows an overall revising of conceptual terms of space dynamics. Through the processual passage from the notion of “border” to that of “bordering” we can critically reconsider dialectic relations and antinomies between inside and outside, centre and periphery, fixity and mobility, inclusion and exclusion, permanency and fluidity. The abandonment of the peculiar exclusivity of state-centric thinking opens up new spaces toward a reconceptualising of mobility as analytical tool. This multiplies the possibility of views and points of view in the study of borders and frontiers, that can be thought as fluid and moving relational space, place of encounter and negotiation between a multiplicity of actors, discourses and practices, continuously defined and re-refined. This renovation enables a plurality of profundities and pathways in the analysis of the different spatial localization and allows new critical perspectives, in epistemological and ethical terms, of mental categories and material instrument by which has been constructed and is maintained the linear division of the world.

Luca Ozzano, The Concept of Post-Scarsity between Political Theory and Speculative Fiction

The idea of a society based on material abundance has been a key feature of utopian literature for centuries, and had been prefigurated by a few political theorists in the 19th century. It is only in the 20th century, however, that the concept of a post-scarcity society made possible by technological development has been fully developed, both by academic literature and popular culture. The first section of this article will analyse how political theorists and other academic researchers have addressed the subject, both in relation to the features of a post-scarcity world, and in terms of paths to achieve it. The second section will instead look at popular culture, by reviewing some works of speculative fiction which feature societies marked by post-scarcity, or on the path to achieve it.


Jeremy Shearmur, No Thought Collective: Ideological Conflict in the early Mont Pelerin Society

This paper discusses critically the idea that the Mont Pelerin Society was a neo-liberal ‘thought collective’.  It stresses, by contrast with this, the somewhat diverse character of the initial membership of the society (taking particular issue with Stedman Jones’ characterization of Karl Popper as a neoliberal in his Masters of the Universe).  It then discusses, in some detail, making use of archival material, some strong disagreements between members who were and were not economic interventionists – a disagreement that has continued within the society up to the present day.