Having Lost Collective Goals for Fear of Loosing Personal Benefits. Political Culture, Individual Interests and the Negative Spiral of the Italian Case

Friday, July 18, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: 512
Oral Presentation
Antonio PUTINI , Political Science, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

The present contribution stands as a deeper and wider sociological reflection of some empirical evidence resulting from a national research project entitledFederalism, Local Autonomy and Quality of Democracy”. In an attempt of understanding the reasons for the substantial halt of the federal reform process in Italy, the content analysis of the interviews addressed to privileged witnesses of the administrative and local political system emphasized two central aspects: the increasing role played by technical knowledge and the persistence of a ruling-classes political culture geared toward a parochial/individual dimension of  interest, more than according to general and collective aims. On the one hand the increasing complexity and technical nature of the regulatory framework "imposed" by a higher level of governance (European Union), on the other a network of relationships between politics, society and economy – both at national and local level that is oriented to the defense of the achieved benefits through what we can describe as familistic (or neo-feudalist) mechanisms of interaction.

  The picture that emerges may help to explain, within a constructivist theoretical framework, the Italian lack of engagement towards the "bandwagon" formed by countries that have managed to gain an advantage by the phenomena of globalization in terms of growth, competitiveness, development and democratization of decision-making processes of their political systems (by implementing, for example, inclusive decision-making practices supported by the use of new technologies of information and communication).

The aim of the contribution is therefore a general reflection on the political culture of the Italian political Úlites and its "weight" in shifting the impact of globalization from a potential added value for both national and local development to the actual practical loss of competitiveness of the whole  system.