Croce, Gramsci, Bobbio and the Italian Political Tradition
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This book gathers together fifteen classic essays by leading scholar Richard Bellamy, tracing the history of Italian political thought from Beccaria to Bobbio. Written over the past 25 years, they constitute the first account in English of the modern Italian political tradition. The author pays special attention to the different ways Italian theorists have linked politics and ethics, and their various conceptions of the state and of democracy. The resulting variations on Machiavellian themes gave rise to distinctively Italian understandings of Liberalism, Marxism, Fascism and Socialism, which were all associated with a peculiarly realist account of democracy.
Among the thinkers discussed are Cesare Beccaria, Antonio Genovesi, Giuseppe Mazzini, Benedetto Croce, Giovanni Gentile, Antonio Gramsci, Vilfredo Pareto, Gaetano Mosca and Norberto Bobbio.
‘In advancing the tantalising claims that the Italians invented modern politics as well as one of the most important political traditions we have for understanding it, this book is sure to entice and provoke. Richard Bellamy shows how the diverse titular thinkers thought through problems of force and consent, morality and utility, mass movements and democracy, the social role of critical intellectuals, and the critical and utopian dimensions of liberalism and socialism. An important book by one of our most sophisticated observers of contemporary politics.’
Walter L Adamson
Dobbs Professor of History, Emory University
‘This is a brilliant and much-needed book on the history of political ideas in modern Italy. An excellent text both for students of Italy’s political thought, and for scholars of democratic theory.’
Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory and Hellenic Studies, Columbia University
‘Admirably combining conceptual and historical analysis, these essays offer imaginative interpretations of important Italian thinkers, and remind us that Bellamy’s world-class contribution in this field has been inspired by his sustained engagement with the premises and principles of liberalism. While specialists in Italian thought will be grateful to ECPR Press for gathering these essays in a single volume, Bellamy’s clear, elegant arguments will interest all students of political theory.’
Joseph V Femia
Emeritus Professor of Political Theory, University of Liverpool