Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Veteran professor adds new volume to SAIS Europe book shelf

Gianfranco Pasquino has taught at the Bologna Center for more than three decades. A former senator in the Italian parliament, he has just co-edited a book tracing the last 40 years of Italian political science. Prof. Pasquino answered some questions we had about the origins of the project and the themes.

Q: This is a huge project. How did you get the idea?
Prof. Gianfranco Pasquino
Pasquino: The idea came when it was time to celebrate my forty years of career and teaching political science at the University of Bologna. Two young collaborators of mine were willing to put together very many pieces written by capable colleagues and we produced a book of use to all those who want to know about the products and the achievements of Italian political science.

Q: How did you decide on the structure of the book?
Pasquino: We chose the most important themes explored and analyzed by Italian political scientists and asked them to ponder on the work done.

Q: What are the main themes?
Pasquino: The main themes are:
  • Institutions: parliament and government
  • Electoral systems and electoral behavior
  • Political parties: public policies
  • Democratization and democracy
  • What is political science for?

Q: Who is the book aimed at?
Pasquino: Our main targets are three wide publics: i) colleagues and students; ii) politicians and policy makers (They have a lot to learn!); iii) the mass media (The journalists, too, have a lot to learn, but most of them are not even aware of their political science ignorance!)

Q: Were you surprised by any of the themes or conclusions?
Pasquino: Yes, we were very much surprised by two "conclusions". First, Italian political scientists have produced a lot of good stuff in terms of research and European recognition. Second, unfortunately most of them seem unable to offer their achievements in ways that could attract the attention of two of our "publics": politicians and policy-makers, and journalists. Without diminishing the quality of their research and the credibility of their findings, they must improve their writing and their presentations.

Prof. Pasquino and his co-editors, Marta Regalia and Marco Valbruzzi, will present their book at la Feltrinelli Librerie in Bologna on October 29, in an event organized by the Bologna Institute for Policy Research.

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