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Italy Today: The Sick Man of Europe Hardcover – March 15, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0415561594 ISBN-10: 0415561590 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Faced with the attention-seeking antics of Silvio Berlusconi and his political allies, increasingly the temptation is not to treat Italy seriously. The great achievement of the contributors to this excellent volume is to reach behind the façade of political posturing to show that Italy does matter, because the failure of Italy’s political system to come up with solutions to the chronic problems facing the country today poses questions that are relevant to all advanced democracies. Italy today, but where next?" - John Davis, University of Connecticut

 

"Written by well known specialists and young researchers from Italy or outside, this book is dedicated to Contemporary Italy, considered as the sick man of Europe. All the aspects of its decline are studied in an interdisciplinary approach.'' - Marc Lazar, Sciences Po, Paris, France

 

"When journalists talk about Italy, they have a tendency to focus their attention on the Prime Minister, his gaffes in public speeches, and scandals, and to dismiss other issues affecting the country. The book, Italy Today: the Sick Man of Europe seeks to fill this gap, providing an English-speaking audience with information about the Bel Paese that they will not find in regular newspapers.

[…] But Italy’s problems are not limited to Berlusconi’s lack of diplomacy and sense of the politically appropriate. Italy Today digs beneath the surface to explore the structural problems that would persist even if Berlusconi disappeared. Ultimately, the book offers a diagnosis of the malaise affecting the country; and as British historian Paul Corner suggests in the foreword, "Given the right diagnosis, sick men often get better." - Anna Pitton, Journalist

"How is the current crisis and decline of contemporary Italy to be explained? Through its interdisciplinary analyses of old and new but unresolved issues affecting politics, the economy and society in Italy, this book seeks to give an answer to this important question. Across various sectors of the country, the past two decades have witnessed a growth in the explosion of latent problems in urgent need of extensive discussion. The book could not, therefore, be more timely.

Unlike the existing books on Italy and its ‘shadows’, which usually focus either on the political and electoral systems or on the scandals and the transition to the Second Italian Republic, this edited volume – including contributions from leading experts and young scholars – seeks to offer a comprehensive picture of the Italian situation, looking simultaneously at political life, the economic system, history and society. Moreover, it seeks to analyse both the causes and the effects of the problems that have become typical of Italy and, most importantly, to link the present and the past when offering possible explanations. […]Many of the chapters also offer recommendations regarding possible policy solutions for the problems of this ‘sick man of Europe’, and this can be considered a further merit of the book." - Manuela Caiani, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna

"Il volume collettivo Italy Today. The Sick Man of Europe […] si propone come un invito alla diagnosi dei mali d’Italia. Secondo la migliore tradizione saggistica anglosassone, la raccolta, ricca di dati e solidamente ancorata all’analisi, si segnala inoltre per l’agilità della struttura e dei singoli contributi, che pur senza rinunciare al rigore scientifico sono fruibili anche da parte dei non addetti ai lavori. Nel complesso, è un’ottima base di partenza per un dibattito, sia scientifico sia militante, sull’Italia contemporanea, in prospettiva interdisciplinare e internazionale." - Gigliola Sulis, University of Leeds

"Ben ventidue studiosi tra storici, politologi, sociologi ed economisti hanno contribuito alla stesura di questo libro che cerca di mettere a fuoco i problemi del nostro paese […].

Il libro ha il pregio di fornire, attraverso contributi interdisciplinari, un quadro generale e composito che tocca tutte le problematicità italiane mai del tutto risolte e pone interessanti interrogativi e spunti soprattutto sulle nuove questioni scaturite dagli anni ’90 in poi." - Rivista Italiana di Scienza della Politica

"Italy Today is a collection of essays about various aspects of the economic and political life of Italy and of Italian society. Its eighteen chapters cover, among other topics, immigration; racism and xenophobia; the legacy of fascism and the years of lead; organised crime; the role of the Church, the media and the family; decentralising reform; the North-South divide. So, the volume covers a large amount of ground, and its sub-title, ‘The Sick Man of Europe’, is in many ways understandable as the focus is placed, for much the book, on the country’s problems. The editors have chosen to combine well- established and younger researchers, based at institutions both in Italy and abroad, to examine several of what they call the ‘dark shadows’ of contemporary Italian society.

So the book contains a large number of valuable insights [and] the work will appeal to a wide range of scholars with an interest in contemporary Italy." - James L. Newell, Journal of Contemporary European Studies

"Italy Today is a collection of eighteen essays dealing with a wide range of topics, some authored by established scholars such as Percy Allum and Anna Cento Bull, but for the most part by younger ones…Unlike most previous studies, however, this volume does not focus mostly on political issues such as the elections, the political system, the Tangentopoli (Bribesville) scandals of the 1990s, the transition from the "First Republic" to the "Second Republic", or Silvio Berlusconi’s impact on Italy since his foray into politics. The editors’ approach is more ambitious: they aim to provide a survey of the systemic crisis of Italy, in other words, to discuss the long-term issues of Italian politics and society that are responsible for its troubles…Berlusconi is scarcely present in this collection. Resisting the temptation to ascribe Italy’s stagnation largely to him – a simplistic formula often adopted by scholars, Andrea Mammone and Giuseppe Veltri have chosen instead to provide an analysis of the political and cultural environment that have enabled Berlusconi to thrive.

The extensive range of topics dealt with, the quality and clarity of most contributions (jargon has largely been avoided), and the wealth of bibliographical references makes this a most valuable publication. The well-chosen illustrations that accompany the chapters on the contemporary far right’s use of fascist architecture as memorials to Mussolini’s regime, on the Lega Nord’s apparently harmless xenophobia, and on the policy initiatives on Roma and Sinti taken by Prodi’s last government and quite recently by Berlusconi are another welcome feature of the book: they attest to the major role played by public spaces and the visual media in Italian political persuasion and mobilization.

Italy Today should feature on all bibliographies of students of Italian studies, Italian politics and Italian cultural studies; it will also appeal to a more general readership." - Luciano Cheles, Université de Poitiers

 

"The scandals, speeches, sex, and partisan scheming of Italian political life have always grabbed media attention. Yet the central question of Italian politics often goes unasked: How did the most successful country in postwar Europe become a basket case? […] The interdisciplinary group of authors in this collection sets aside short-term factors and explores long-term structural reasons for Italia malata (ailing Italy). They offer new insights into well-known problems […]. They also highlight problems known only to experts: little government support for families, the spread of organized crime outside of Naples and Sicily, low levels of social trust, and anti-immigrant sentiment." - Andrew Moravcsik (Princeton University), Foreign Affairs

"Italy Today is a collection of eighteen essays dealing with a wide range of topics, some authored by established scholars such as Percy Allum and Anna Cento Bull, but for the most part by younger ones...Unlike most previous studies, however, this volume does not focus mostly on political issues such as the elections, the political system, the Tangentopoli (Bribesville) scandals of the 1990s, the transition from the "First Republic" to the "Second Republic", or Silvio Berlusconi's impact on Italy since his foray into politics. The editors' approach is more ambitious: they aim to provide a survey of the systemic crisis of Italy, in other words, to discuss the long-term issues of Italian politics and society that are responsible for its troubles...Berlusconi is scarcely present in this collection. Resisting the temptation to ascribe Italy's stagnation largely to him - a simplistic formula often adopted by scholars, Andrea Mammone and Giuseppe Veltri have chosen instead to provide an analysis of the political and cultural environment that have enabled Berlusconi to thrive.

The extensive range of topics dealt with, the quality and clarity of most contributions (jargon has largely been avoided), and the wealth of bibliographical references makes this a most valuable publication. The well-chosen illustrations that accompany the chapters on the contemporary far right's use of fascist architecture as memorials to Mussolini's regime, on the Lega Nord's apparently harmless xenophobia, and on the policy initiatives on Roma and Sinti taken by Prodi's last government and quite recently by Berlusconi are another welcome feature of the book: they at...

About the Author

Andrea Mammone is a Lecturer in Modern European History at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.

Giuseppe A. Veltri is Lecturer is teaching Methods of Social Inquiry at University of East Anglia . Giuseppe A. Veltri is a Lecturer in Media and Culture at University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

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