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Andrea Ceron and Luigi Curini

This chapter examines the coalition-bargaining process that took place after the 2013 elections. Using a hand-coding technique, we analyzed the parliamentary speeches released by parties, first in April, during the investiture debate of the Letta I Cabinet, and again in December, during the confidence vote on the Letta II Cabinet. In mapping the policy position of Italian parties along the two most salient dimensions, that is, the economy and institutional reforms, we were able to assess theoretically the stability of the Letta cabinet(s). The lack of a “core party” and the wide policy distance between the two main partners of the coalition suggested the strong instability of the Letta I Cabinet, which ultimately led to the formation of a different government after the split of the PdL. This new Letta cabinet, however, was expected to be characterized by a strong instability as well.

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Mark Thurner

Museums everywhere now display fragments of their own past displays, often in the form of ancestral cabinets presented as autobiographical introductions. What is the meaning of this introspective and retrospective “return to curiosity” in museography? Reconnoitering a fistful of iconic museums in and around London and Madrid, I suggest that the all-encompassing metatrope of curiosity begs a deeper question: What is the museum a museum of?

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Carolyn Forestiere

The Renzi government formed in February 2014 was the youngest cabinet in Italian post-war history. It also had an equal number of male and female ministers—a first in Italian history. This chapter sets the scene by recounting the end of the Letta government before moving on to analyze the formation of the Renzi Cabinet, the competing inter- and intra-party considerations that affected the choice of ministers, and the need to signal technical competence in key economic roles.

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Thomas Saalfeld

A comparison of the 2005-2009 cabinet Merkel I (the “Grand“ Coalition) and the Christian Democrat-Liberal coalition cabinet Merkel II formed in 2009 presents an interesting puzzle. Political commentators and coalition theorists alike would have expected the CDU/CSU-SPD coalition to experience a relatively high, and the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition a relatively low level of overt inter-party conflict. In reality, however, relations in the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition were relatively conflictive, whereas the Grand Coalition seemed to manage conflict between reluctant partners successfully. This article seeks to explain these seemingly paradoxical differences between the two coalitions. It demonstrates that both the positioning of the coalition parties in the policy space and important institutions constraining coalition bargaining after the formation of the cabinet Merkel II (portfolio allocation, role of the CDU/CSU state minister presidents) disadvantaged the FDP in pursuing its key policy goals (especially tax reform). As a result, the Liberals resorted to “noisy“ tactics in the public sphere. The grand coalition, by contrast, was an alliance of co-equals, which facilitated a more consensual management of inter-party conflict.

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Stephen F. Szabo

The German election of 2017 has produced an unstable government which is unlikely to offer the kind of leadership in foreign and security policy that Europe and the larger West need in a turbulent time. Chancellor Angela Merkel will be in a weaker position than before with the loss of key cabinet positions to the Social Democrats and the Bavarian Christian Social Union. Many will be looking past her as the struggle to succeed her will in - crease. The key foreign policy agenda will include Europe and the Franco- German relationship, Russia, Turkey and Transatlantic relations. Merkel 4.0 is likely to be a transitional and unruly government that will bridge the end of the Merkel era and the start of one led by a new generation of leaders.

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Katrin Scharfenkamp and Alexander Dilger

Are the highest politicians better qualified than their peers? In this article, we analyze differences between chancellors, vice chancellors, and ministers of the inner or residual cabinets of the German federal governments between 1949 and 2009 with respect to their social backgrounds and educational, economic, as well as political human capital. Different statistical methods reveal no clear primacy of chancellors or vice chancellors over other members of government. Interestingly, inner cabinets have higher qualifications than residual cabinets, as well as partly chancellors and vice chancellors.

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Houses for the Curious

Curating between Medicine, Life and Art

Ken Arnold

This article considers a curiosity-driven approach to curating focused on material culture that visitors encounter in physical spaces. Drawing on research into historical curiosity cabinets, it explores how a contemporary notion of curiosity has been put into practice in the new breed of culturally enlightened museums exploring interdisciplinary approaches to medicine, health, life, and art. Based on an inaugural professorial address at Copenhagen University, it reflects on exhibition projects there and at the Wellcome Collection in London. Museums are institutional machines that generate social understanding from material things. Their physical spaces influence how we learn, think, and feel in public; their material collections feed our comprehension, imagination, and emotions; and induce attentive behavior in curators and visitors.

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Andrea Pedrazzani and Luca Pinto

In November 2011, when the Italian sovereign debt crisis reached its peak, the Berlusconi IV government was replaced by a “caretaker” cabinet headed by Mario Monti. Composed exclusively of non-partisan ministers, the Monti government represents a clear deviation from how parliamentary democracies are generally expected to work. This chapter analyzes the activity and functioning of the Italian Parliament during the 13 months in which Monti remained in office. Compared to the previous government, we find that, quantitatively, the legislative production between the two executives is not significantly different, although the legislative process during the Monti government appears to have been faster. Not surprisingly, from the qualitative point of view, the bills passed during the caretaker government focused mainly on economic topics. Our findings suggest that the apparent broad consensus on Monti's agenda masked important differences between the main parties that supported the government.

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Alessandro Chiaramonte

The Italian general elections held in February 2013 ended up in stalemate. The center-left coalition won the absolute majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies but not in the Senate, making it impossible to form any homogeneous governing majority. In the end, the only available opstion to support the new cabinet was a “grand coalition” of parties from different political sides. This chapter analyzes this destabilizing outcome, taking into account a number of factors: the success of a new anti-establishment party, the Five Star Movement, which has become the largest party in the country; the significant loss of votes by the center-left and especially by the center-right, compared to the previous elections of 2008; the peculiar nature and functioning of the electoral system; the extraordinary level of vote shifts; the “new” electoral geography; the crisis of the bipolar setting; and the transformation of the party system.

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Maurizio Cotta and Luca Verzichelli

An assessment of the second Berlusconi government in 2002, quite

predictably, holds considerable interest for a number of reasons. The

hopes pinned on this government, which is unusual in the history of

Italian politics, call for such a review. To begin with, this is the first

republican government characterized by the introduction of the

majority vote system to choose both the ruling coalition and the

prime minister. Secondly, cabinet ministers represent all components

of the electoral majority and can also count on a rather reassuring

advantage in terms of the seats they hold both in the Chamber of

Deputies and in the Senate. Finally, in a radically reshuffled political

structure following the events of the 1990s, the comeback of a player

(who may be identified as Prime Minister Berlusconi as well as the

center-right majority) whose government had failed the first time

around could be profitably analyzed in terms of institutional learning

and of the establishment of a new bipolar/majoritarian order.