This article examines the contents of the representations of sustainable energy in Italy from 2009 to 2011. In particular it explores the representations of energy, energy systems, and users. The article's starting point was the assumption that critical points may change the relationship between communities and the represented issues, and that new representations may be dialogically elaborated following relevant societal events. Political debates and newspaper articles dealing with sustainable energy were subjected to content analyses. Results show that the representations bear witness to the prevalence of economic and strategic approaches and a view of citizens whereby, even when involved in decentralized systems, they are required to stay passive. Alternative contents seem not to challenge the hegemonic view of energy. A clear trend toward sustainability is lacking, suggesting the absence of a continuing motivation to look at energy taking into account the civic growth of the population.
Mauro Sarrica, Sonia Brondi and Paolo Cottone
Despite a situation of economic crisis and political uncertainty, the year 2013 will be remembered for the highest female parliamentary representation ever reached in Italy, for the adoption of new legislative measures to combat violence against women, and for increased female participation in the labor market. This chapter provides an overview of these three main events. First, by conducting a process-tracing analysis, the chapter reconstructs the steps taken toward new legislative measures against gender-based violence. Second, the chapter explores the Italian labor market, where the harsh crisis put women back into the workforce. Lastly, the possible policy implications of a renewed, younger, and more gender-balanced Parliament are discussed. The main argument is that the events of 2013 may represent a turning point for Italian women's rights, but only if traditional gender roles are challenged.
How Satire Framed Liberal Political Debate in Nineteenth-Century France
Amy Wiese Forbes
This article discusses political satire under the July Monarchy. It analyzes how the question of satire's political meaning was generated and framed in the 1830s as debate over abstract rights under the new, supposedly more liberal government of the July Monarchy. Following the Revolution of 1830, lithographic satire became connected conceptually to political conspiracy and was argued to be harmful to the new regime. State institutions, including the police, the courts, and the National Assembly, attempted to understand and define satire politically. The effort to evaluate satire's potential harm to the state shaped French liberalism into a contest between rights to free speech and protection from harm. This process was part of a broader struggle to construct legitimate authority in France.
In 2002, the president of the Italian Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi,
was repeatedly drawn into political debates. This had rarely happened
in the past, so all comparison with his predecessors seems
somehow unfitting. Ciampi was forced to take a stand on a large
number of important political and institutional issues, including the
actions of the government and the opposition’s response to these
actions—which in the latter case took the form of forceful demands
for his intervention—as well as conflict within Parliament and among
institutions. Nevertheless, much to the disappointment of the centerleft
opposition, Ciampi tended to act with great tact and reserve,
making general appeals in an attempt to appease all concerned.
A Feasible Enterprise?
The draft-Constitution of the European Union mentions several values on which the Union is based. The status of these values is rather ambiguous, as the Constitution speaks about 'values', about 'developing common values' and about values which are common to all nation-states. Strangely enough, in the political debates that followed the presentation of the draft-Constitution, the specific role of values in the making of the EU was not elucidated. These debates show us a rather muddled state of affairs. Six different themes can be distinguished that are interrelated in complex ways.
The State Machine in Eighteenth-Century English Political Discourse
The importance of bodily and mechanical analogies in everyday political argumentation has been seldom discussed in the academic literature. This article is based on a contextual analysis of the uses of bodily and mechanical analogies in parliamentary and public debates in eighteenth-century England, as they can be retrieved from full-text databases of printed literature. The author demonstrates the continuous use of bodily analogies for much of the century particularly in defence of traditional conceptions of a unified political community. The article considers the expanding use of mechanical analogies as well, tracing their evolution in political debates and the effect of the American and French revolutions in their usage.
Adding to discussion started by Gijs Mom and Peter Merriman in Yearbook 6, this text is a plea for scholars to claim a role in the politicization of mobility. Globalization is profoundly upsetting previous mobility practices and raising important questions about democratic, equitable access to mobility. This essay argues that a historic understanding of mobility can shed light onto how representations of different users and modes of transportation affect current political debates. Historical readings remind citizens to be wary of seductive, novel, and high-tech mobility solutions—concepts that have persisted, in a variety of forms, for centuries. Today's “smart mobility” and sustainable development, for all their promise, must be compared to historic trends and weighed against today's low-tech modes of travel that persist in the face of modernity.
This chapter reviews key Italian media events of 2003, focusing on the
political controversies surrounding the Italian public service broadcaster,
Radiotelevisione italiana (RAI), and the new broadcasting legislation,
the Gasparri law. This new law paves the way for the partial
privatization of RAI, which, the government hopes, will mirror the
financial success of other privatizations. Media issues relating to new
legislation and to the nomination of RAI’s Administrative Council created
bitter political arguments in 2003. The Berlusconi government
defended its handling of RAI matters and the new legislation, arguing
that it is promoting a modern and dynamic media industry. Opposition
parties claimed, however, that new legislation and the political control
of RAI suit Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s political and commercial
interests and undermine RAI’s public service obligations. This essay
will examine both sides of the political debate.
Stefano Braghiroli and Luca Verzichelli
Looking through a chronology of 2010, it is objectively difficult to find
one event that brings the two center-left parties represented in Parliament
into the center of the Italian political debate as leading players.
In spite of the obvious and growing difficulties for the government
majority—with Silvio Berlusconi’s leadership looking seriously shaky,
possibly for the first time since 1994—the opposition parties have not
seemed able to develop sufficient synergies and strategies to convince
public opinion of the existence of a credible alternative government.
Only one and a half years after the elections that had given the newly
born Partito Democratico (PD, Democratic Party) and its then coalition
partner, Antonio Di Pietro’s Italia dei Valori (IdV, Italy of Values), the
responsibility of being a real alternative to the powerful Berlusconiled
center-right, the political picture looked radically changed, but the
path ahead of the two parties appeared to be even more hazardous.
This article challenges the prevalent interpretation of John Dewey as a forefather of deliberative democracy, and shows how Dewey's theory can help turn democratic theory toward participatory democracy, which is widely seen as having been incorporated by deliberative democracy. I argue that Dewey would find deliberative principles to be abstracting from our unequal social conditions by attempting to bracket the unequal social statuses that individuals bring with them to the deliberation. Dewey traces the deficiencies of current political debate to these unequal social conditions, and he thus claims that democratic theorizing should focus on enacting effective plans for overcoming social inequality, plans that may require nondeliberative practices that compel concessions from advantaged social interests. Deliberative democrats have increasingly aimed to account for such practices, but I claim that participatory democrats can draw on Dewey to illustrate how their theory can more comfortably accommodate these practices that directly attack inequality than can deliberative democracy.