Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

PlSc 365 / IntS 365 / RoSt 365 - Government and Politics of Italy

Spring 2012

Time:                                      Two 1’20” sessions per week (Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:20 p.m. - 3:35 p.m.)

 Classroom:                             Room 126

 Professor:                               Claudio Lodici    (c.lodici@usa.net)

 Office hours:                          T. & Th. 3:45-5:00 p.m. (by appointment)

 Required Text:                     Italy: From the First to the Second Republic by Sondra Z. Koff, Stephen P. Koff  (Paperback - November 1999) Paperback - 272 pages 1 edition (November 1999 Routledge);

Recommended readings:

  • - Modern Italy : A Political History,  by Denis Mack Smith;  Hardcover 522 pages (University of Michigan Press, March 1998)
  • - Modern Italy - 1871-1982, by Martin Clark (Longman, 8th edition, 1992)
  • - Italian Politics - The Year of the Tycoon by Richard S. Katz and Piero Ignazi (Westview Press, 1996);
  • - Politics in Western Europe, Second Edition, by M. Donald Hancock et al. (Chatham House Publishers, Inc, 1998);
  • - Italy: a Short History, by H. Hearder (Cambridge University Press, 1991); and
  • - An Outline of European History from the 17th Century, by Sergio    Romano (Bergham 1998)


Course description:              To provide the student with a broad understanding of Italian political institutions and social life and to furnish a well rounded view of the country’s political culture. The transition from the first to the second republic is indeed turning out to be a highly controversial process whose likely outcome is still hard to predict. After an initial analysis of the historical origins of the Republic of Italy, we will look at the structure and functions of its governmental institutions, how they have come to change and what future developments are to be expected. Due consideration will be given to the division of competence between state authorities and local administrations, as well as to the role played by non-governmental institutions such as the trade unions, the Church, business associations, etc. Special attention will also be devoted to the overlapping of the political and economic planes both in the past and in more recent times. The class will provide students with a civic background whatever their academic specialization. This will imply tentative answers to questions such as the purpose of government, the functions of political institutions, and the real actors of political processes in the global era. The course will dwell upon similarities and differences between Italy and other established democratic systems. Constitutions, legislatures, administrations, social forces, interest groups, political parties, and elections will be scrutinized in turn.

                                               In short, this course has two purposes. One is to introduce students to content: major ideas, institutions and practices of Italian politics. We will also investigate public opinion and voting, campaigns and elections, political parties, interest groups, several public policies, and a number of non-institutional political practices. We will talk -- and students will read and write -- about what they are, where they came from, what they are for, how they have developed, how they work (or don't), and how we might evaluate them.

The second purpose of this course is to introduce students to several ways of analyzing Italian politics. We will do this by simultaneously reading an introductory Italian politics textbook. Koff & Koff text has two principal concerns. One is normative: they ask how democratic Italy’s political circumstances, institutions and practices are. Another is more empirical: they argue that ongoing political change in Italy is shaped and constrained by several structures, and that Italians try to influence it through an array of "linkages." We will also focus on a set of empirical tools - interests, institutions and history. Comparison and contrast of the text and the discussion in class discussions will offer a means of better understanding these analytic tools, and to weigh their relative strengths and weaknesses in explaining and evaluating politics in the Italy.


Course objectives:             

  • - To provide an understanding of the Italian Constitution and the historical and political factors that brought it into being.
  • - To help students develop the ability to analyze events in the light of various political factors at work in each arena.
  • - To provide an understanding of the influence of individuals, interest groups, parties, the press, and other forces of the functioning Italy’s government.
  •  - To provide an understanding of the interrelationships between various economic and political factors and the larger governmental process.

Course procedure:               Students are expected to actively participate in all sessions, and their participation will be taken into consideration. Some sessions are in seminar format.

Credits:                                  Three credit hours

Evaluation:                            Class participation and daily readings. There are 40 points awarded at the discretion of the instructor for attendance, participation (it is not necessary to speak, but it is necessary to be "present"), and questions. Students will be expected to bring to class each Tuesday one question related to the chapter from the Koffs text for that week. As you read the chapter[s], there should be something that either is of interest to you or that is not clear to you. The success of this class depends upon the quality of the dialogue in class. It is expected that students will attend every class and that they will be fully prepared to discuss the material assigned for that day. Class participation grades will reflect their attendance record, the frequency of their contributions to class discussions, and the quality of their questions, observations, and conclusions.

There will be daily readings worth 30 points. Each of the students will report once on a short reading assignment on class days. Students are to read one or two chapter sections summarizing the most significant or revealing points in the day's readings.

Students are expected to have completed their reading assignments before the end of the semester. Each student will write a review of approximately 600 words for a book on Italian politics and/or comparative government of their own choice. They are also expected to actively participate in all sessions, and their participation will be taken into consideration. Some sessions are in seminar format.

                                               There will be a term project worth 100 points Each student will also write a paper of approximately 3000 words (or about 12 double-spaced typewritten pages) analyzing one aspect of Italy’s politics. Students should choose their topic in consultation with the instructor. The completed paper will be due by April 13.


The following schedule will be strictly observed:

1.      Consultation with the instructor on your research idea (by February 3).

2.      A typed project proposal, including the central questions, a plan for research, and a preliminary bibliography (due February 23).

3.      A rough draft of the paper (due March 30).

4.      A final draft (due April 13).


PLAGIARISM. Students of this university are called upon to know, to respect, and to practice a high standard of personal honesty. Plagiarism is a serious for of violation of this standard. Plagiarism is the appropriation for gain of ideas, language, or work of another without sufficient public acknowledgement that the material is not one’s own. Plagiarism on the part of a student in academic work or dishonest examination behavior will result in failure and will be reported to the Office of the Director.

There will be two examinations (Midterm: essay, with some choice--1 of 3, e.g.; Final: 10 short answer essays). The Midterm exam will be worth 100 points, the final will be worth 200 points.

The first exam will cover the first half of the class; the final exam will be cumulative.

Each student will write a book review of approximately 600 words. Students will have the ability to make their own choice as long as the book deals with Italian politics and/or comparative government. This will be submitted no later than April 6. Each review should include a brief synopsis, followed by the reader’s reaction. What was the author’s point. What did the editor provide. What do you think of the book. What did you learn. What did you like about the book. What didn’t you like about the book. How did the book relate to your understanding of Italian history. Why was the assignment worthwhile. Why wasn’t the assignment worthwhile. THIS ASSIGNMENT MUST BE WORD PROCESSED, SPELL CHECKED AND PROOF READ. Failure to follow these directions will result in either a lowered grade or having the assignment returned ungraded to be resubmitted. Late assignments (including those returned for resubmission) may have points deducted for each day late.

Reviews are worth a possible 40 points.

Added together, the total number of points is 510.

Please note that there is often, although not always, a positive correlation between class attendance and "participation" and the student's ability to earn a better than average grade.


The grading scale is as follows:    

A         4.00     Excellent                      481 or more points
A-        3.67                                         459-480 points
B+        3.33                                         444-472 points
B          3.00     Good                           423-443 points

B-        2.67                                         408-422 points
C+        2.33                                         393-407 points
C          2.00     Satisfactory                  375-392 points
C-        1.67                                         357-374 points                                   
D+       1.33                                         327-357 points
D         1.00     Poor                             306-326
F          0.00     Failure                         305or fewer points
P          0.00     Pass with credit.


The minimum passing grade for a course taken under the Pass/Fail option will be C minus (C-)
I Incomplete
W Withdrawal
WF Withdrawal Failure

C- will be the minimum acceptable grade for university undergraduate requirements, such as the University Core Curriculum and the Values Across the Curriculum requirements.


Grade Tabulation:                Class participation 7.84 per cent

Reading assignments 5.88 per cent

Book review 7.84 per cent

Mid term exam 19.53 per cent

Tem project 19.53 per cent

Final exam 39.21 per cent

Please note that there is often, although not always, a positive correlation between class attendance and participation and the student's ability to earn a better than average grade.


Grading philosophy:           

A          Excellent. Indicates the highest level of achievement in the subject and an outstanding level of intellectual initiative. 

B          Good. Indicates a good level of achievement, intelligent understanding and application of subject matter.

C          Satisfactory. Indicates academic work of an acceptable quality and an understanding of the subject matter.

D          Poor. Minimum credit. Indicates the lowest passing grade, unsatisfactory work and only the minimum understanding and application.

F          Failure. Indicates the lack of even the minimum understanding and application.


Honors Credit: Students interested in obtaining honors credit for a course must read the following statement from the Director of the Honors Program:

“The honors project should be course-related, one of greater complexity than is ordinarily required in the work of the course.  If possible we would prefer that the honors project not entail simply more work but rather work that would reflect a more knowledgeable and sophisticated awareness of the discipline than would be gained from meeting the conventional requirements of the course.  Honors credit should not be assigned on the basis simply of a qualitative performance in conventional course requirements.  And finally, the honors project should be regarded as distinct from the ordinary requirements of the course and it should be evaluated separately.  The student’s grade for the course is determined as usual, by his performance in the course:  the award of honors credit, however, is based on the fulfillment of the credit contract.  Nevertheless, a grade of  “B” or higher is required in the course itself as a condition for the award of honors credit.”

Behavior:                               Civility and toleration are essential for an academic atmosphere conducive to learning. Incivility in the classroom will not be tolerated. Students should make sure to turn off cellular phones and other electronic devices before class. Students are not allowed to eat, drink, or smoke in the classrooms.  


 Course outline and reading assignments:

Week 1: A brief introduction to the history of Italy. 

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “Italian politics: a tale of contradictions”, pages 1-16

 Week 2: Italy in the 21st century: geographic and demographic factors, society, and culture.

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “Italian political culture”, pages 17-30

Week 3: A few notions of comparative government – Executives-parties relationship

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “Political behavior: a changing party system”, pages 31-54   

Week 4: A few notions of comparative government – Federal-unitary relationship

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “Elections and electors”, pages 56-77

Week 5: Westminster model v. consensus model – the Italian case

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “Political behavior: interest articulation and aggregation”, 78-109

Week 6: The machinery of government 

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “Parliament. A legislature in search of its role”, 110- 129

Week 7: The machinery of government 

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “Parliament. A legislature in search of its role”, 110- 129

Week 8: The machinery of government 

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “Parliament. A legislature in search of its role”, 110- 129

Week 9: The policy-making process

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “The executive power: the government and the President of the Republic”, 130-148

Week 10: Political issues prior to the Big Bang of 1994.

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “The public administration”, 149-163

Week 11: Freedom Pole vs. Olive Tree: the new political agenda 

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “The politics of justice”, 164-182

Week 12: From the cradle to the grave: the welfare state in Europe and its impact on security after WWII.

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “The territorial distribution of power: the Italian regional state”, 182-197

Week 13:  Italy’s foreign policy from 1945 to date. 

S. Z. Koff and S. P. Koff: “Italy and the European Union”, “Italy: difficulties in  facing a new millenium” and “Postscript”, pages 198-221

Week 14: The Age of Global Uncertainty: Italy and the EU in the 21st century.

Final Examination


Examination Policy

Final examinations are given during the scheduled examination period each semester. Additional tests or examinations may be given during the semester as often as deemed helpful by the instructor. Students who miss their final examinations at the assigned hours will not be permitted to sit for a make-up examination without approval of the Dean of Faculty or Academic Services Advisor. Permission is given rarely and only for grave reason; travel is NOT considered a grave reason. Make-up exams will only be given for documented absences.

Optional mid-term examinations are administered shortly before the mid-semester break, although some may be given afterwards. Student progress is assessed after mid-term so that students who are not performing to established academic standards may be informed of their academic shortcomings far enough in advance to take corrective steps. Academic alert notices are issued to students who are not performing at acceptable levels; notices may also be sent to the students' deans and/or study abroad coordinators if deemed appropriate. The policy concerning travel and make-up examinations for missed mid-term exams is identical to that for final examinations.

Absence due to a serious illness must be reported to the assistant director/registrar prior to the examination and later substantiated by a written statement from the physician in attendance. In cases where proper permission has not been granted, a grade of "WF" will be assigned. In instances where proper authorization has been granted, the student may take a make-up exam by following the make-up procedure outlined above.

(See : http://www.luc.edu/romecenter/academics_policies.shtml#examinations)