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02/2021 – Tradizioni del pensiero politico moderno in Italia

ISSN: 2037-495X
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dossier: tradizioni del pensiero politico moderno in italia

Introduzione. In occasione del decennale della “Rivista di politica” Alessandro Arienzo, Gennaro Maria Barbuto e Maurizio Griffo

La tradizione umanistica Guido Cappelli

“La cognizione della natura umana”. Machiavelli, Guicciardini e la psicologia politica Gennaro Maria Barbuto

L’Utopia nella cultura italiana tra Cinque e Seicento Domenico Taranto

La tradizione italiana di discorsi e scritture di “ragion di Stato”: una ricerca critica e ancora attuale Gianfranco Borrelli

Il realismo politico e la storia d’Italia Maurizio Griffo

Da Vico a Cuoco: la politica come scienza Giovanni Scarpato

La gratitudine nel pensiero politico cattolico italiano controrivoluzionario e liberale Diego Lazzarich 

Il Sonderweg liberale italiano nell’Ottocento Stefano De Luca

L’elitismo tra Italia e America Giorgio Volpe

La laicità divisa: Gaetano Salvemini vs Giovanni Gentile Gaetano Pecora

Pensare differentemente.  Tradizioni politico-filosofiche e narrazioni femminili nell’Italia contemporanea Maria Pia Paternò

Marxismi italiani: una difficile eredità Vittorio Dini

Raniero Panzieri, i «Quaderni rossi» e la tradizione operaista. L’esordio del neomarxismo italiano Marco Cerotto


Notizie sugli Autori






Guido Cappelli, The Humanistic Tradition

At the end of the Middle Ages, in the “long century” ranging from Bartolo’s times to Erasmus, Italy experienced an extraordinary parable that was at once institutional, juridical and theoretical, in a symbiosis between power and the intellectual class rarely seen in European history. The seigniorial state was an experimental political formation, lacking original legitimacy and in need of cementing consensus: this predisposed it to use a doctrinal and propagandistic apparatus, ductile and unscrupulous enough to convincingly support the aspirations of a ruling class made of homines novi. This doctrine is that of political humanism, which, starting from the codification of the behaviour of the princeps, achieves a definition of the first, basic characteristics of sovereignty. This essay explores some of the cornerstones of this doctrine, starting from the analysis of some key terms-concepts, such as amor and fides.


Gennaro Maria Barbuto, “La cognizione della natura umana”. Machiavelli, Guicciardini and the political psychology

The paper is a study about to an analysis of the political facts in the work’s Machiavelli and Guicciardini according to a political psychology, that is an analysis of the passions, sentiments, yearnings, ambitions of the human nature in the political events, and of the influence of this analysis in the traditions of the Italian political thought, e.g. the “Tacitism”.


Domenico Taranto, The Utopia in Italian Culture between the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

The essay attempts to reconstruct the approximately one hundred years from 1519, the date of the first edition in Italy of the Morean Utopia Latin text, to 1625, date of the publication of the Zuccolo’s Dialoghi, in which the first contacts, sometimes imitative and sometimes critical, took place that political Italian culture entertained with Utopia. In addition to reconstructing the ranks of this contact and of its most significant protagonists as those of, Brucioli, Lando, Doni, Sansovino, Gentili and Zuccolo, the essay returns to his substantial “shyness”. In fact, even those who welcomed the yeast of Utopia surrounded it with such mightly realistic bulwarks as to prevent it from producing, even on the level of imagination, a world totally different from the one in which they lived.


Gianfranco Borrelli, The Italian Tradition on Reason of State: A Critical Research

This essay offers a synthetic overview of the themes and discourses belonging to the Italian tradition of Reason of State. The analysis will move from the authors working at the time of the crisis of the Renaissance, in particular Giovanni Botero (1589); the essay will then analyzes works by different authors into the Seventeenth century, to read the highly relevant contribution coming from the Italian political culture to the processes of political rationalization in Europe. Further focus will be given to the notable mid-Nineteenth century historiographic lesson offered by Giuseppe Ferrari’s scholarship on these authors. Finally, various potential lines of research will be proposed for further investigation, whereby this theme is to undoubtedly acquire significant relevance within the recent Italian political history.


Maurizio Griffo, Political Realism and the History of Italy

The political tradition that best expresses the Italian spirit is probably that of political realism. This feature largely depends on national history. Italy, unlike other European countries, reaches political unification only relatively recently. The reflection of Italian political writers, who must deal with this negative legacy, is therefore oriented towards a realistic consideration of events. The essay reviews the realistic approach of some prominent Italian political writers (Machiavelli, Cuoco, Mosca) over a period of several centuries.


Giovani Scarpato, From Vico to Cuoco: Politics as a Science

Vincenzo Cuoco is considered generally one of the main nineteenth-century interpreters of the thought of Giambattista Vico. According to Cuoco, Vico is the philosopher who valued Machiavelli’s intellectual legacy. In Cuoco’s works, Vico’s philosophy is presented as a science capable of explaining historical events and in a certain sense also of predicting “revolutions”. Deepening this ideal relationship between Vico and Machiavelli, Cuoco speaks of a “school of Italian law”. This political tradition would have specific characteristics and would be marked by the sign of political realism.


Diego Lazzarich, Gratitude in Italian Catholic Counterrevolutionary and Liberal Political Thought

This article is articulated in two parts. The first part is devoted to analyzing how the concept of gratitude to God was used by Italian Catholic antirevolutionary thinkers to legitimize the Monarchy as based on the theory of the divine right of kings, and on patriarchalism, as well as aristocratic societies as based on inequality and obedience. The second part looks at how Liberal Christian political thinkers theorize a concept of political gratitude no longer associated to obedience of the subjects but rather as a feeling that sovereigns must aim to deserve by reforming the monarchy in liberal terms, in order to preserve the people’s freedom and rights, and to reach the moral good.


Stefano De Luca, The italian liberal Sonderweg in the XIX century

After a brief methodological premise on political macrocategories, this work retraces the historiography on 19th-century Italian liberalism, especially concentrating on overview approaches, showing how it is neither abundant nor completely satisfying. This historiography is characterized by a double partiality: both for having excluded or devalued, from time to time, several branches of 19th-century Italian liberalism and for being conditioned by theoretical and/or ideological leanings which have diverted the attention of historians. It seems like the Italian liberal tradition was variously ‘relived’, each time taking on the point of view of one of the branches of liberalism (whether 19th- or 20th-century), though not rethought in its own peculiarity. In other words, no attempt at storicization was made. As much as 19th-century Italian liberalism should be considered in its plurality, it is to be addressed with a consideration of the reasons that determined its Sonderweg and a focus on some of its characterizing ground values, values that only at a later time would show the dividing tensions between said branches: progress, freedom, nationality principle.


Giorgio Volpe, Elitism between Italy and America

The essay aims to demonstrate that the elitist political tradition is not synonymous with a particular political orientation. In this perspective, it identifies three main phases in the history of the elite theory: the first theoretical formulation, its diffusion in Italy, and its reception in the United States. Significantly, the fortune of elitism in such different historical-cultural context marked the definitive recognition of its scientific value.


Gaetano Pecora, A Divided Laicality. Giovanni Gentile vs Gaetano Salvemini

This essay retraces the polemic on non-confessional schools that in 1907 opposed Giovanni Gentile to Gaetano Salvemini. Gentile, firmly attached to a monistic view of the world, promoted the idea of a public school hinged on one dominant way of thinking where there was no space for dissent. In Gentile’s view, teachers had to share the same harmonious and like-minded way of thinking. On the other hand, Salvemini advocated for a liberal-pluralist approach to teaching, promoting the opposite principle that antagonism and not the uniformity of ideas is crucial to the spiritual growth of the learners. Hence, the principle that public schools, precisely because they are public, should welcome a diverse body of teachers with their own values and ideas. It was, reduced in size, the same conflict that would later lead Gentile to support the fascist dictatorship and Salvemini to tirelessly oppose it in defense of democracy.


Maria Pia Paternò, Thinking the Difference: the Italian Feminist Tradition and the Present Debate

Due to the specificities and the originality of its theorical and political stance, the italian “pensiero della differenza sessuale” is in this text given specific and powerful attention. The reinvention of political feminism in Italy is here analyzed through the lens of the legacy of such feminist writers as Carla Lonzi, Luisa Muraro and Adriana Cavarero, who are deemed to have notably contributed to the emergence of alternative approaches to mainstream feminism. Much attention is therefore devoted to their personal and philosophical commitment, which focuses on the investigation of such concepts as difference, selfconsciousness and narrativity and provides them with a deep political core.


Vittorio Dini, Italian Marxisms: a Difficult Legacy

This essay identifies the traditions of political thought, in the interpretations of Marxism, originated and disseminated in Italy by Antonio Labriola. With the Gramsci of the Quaderni dal carcere the thread with Labriola is resumed. After the Second World War, two different interpretations collide. On the one hand, the Marxism of history (Luporini, Badaloni) which, together with Togliatti, shaped the continuist ‘Italian path to Marxism’; on the other, the Marxism of science (Della Volpe, Colletti, Tronti). These different Marxisms intersect, facing a little thematized problem in Marx’s own work, namely, subjectivity: who are the new subjects generated by capitalist development, and what prospects do they offer for the transformation of society in the communist sense? Forgetting, in fact, Labriola’s interpretation, the solutions are incapable of linking theory to politics, an essential task of Marxist philosophic.


Marco Cerotto, Raniero Panzieri, «Quaderni rossi» and the Workerist Heritage

In the second half of the 20th century the Italian Marxist heritage has experienced a thriving period

from both a political and theoretical point of view; thanks to the growth of new peculiar neo-Marxist experiences. These groups suggested to explore the Marxian theory about technological factory in order to revitalize the worker’s democracy, inherited from consiliarism, against the neo-capitalism developments. Raniero Panzieri, perfectly embodying the contradiction of the Marxist’s intellectual-militant who belongs to the Italian worker’s movement historical organizations, is the most inspiring figure in the 50’s and 60’s. Indeed, he criticizes their political strategies opening the Workerist period in 1961 with the founding of «Quaderni rossi» in Turin, Italy’s epicentre of neo-capitalism. After Panzieri’s premature death, the Italian Workerism continues it’s theoretical-political activity on the magazine «Classe operaia», founded by Mario Tronti in 1964. Very soon, they abandoned the idea of developing a revolutionary organization and decided to join the Italian communist party. Later, the last stage of the Workerist experience will be represented by «Potere Operaio», the organization founded by Toni Negri in 1967, who refuses the choice of Tronti and supported the idea of the necessity of a new classist organization, able to assess all socials conflicts in the period before ’68 Movement.