Studia Politica, vol. XVIII, no. 4, 2018


MATTEO BOLDRINI, What’s Left? Far-left Parties Changing in Contemporary Europe (pp. 593-611)


Since the fall of communism, far-left parties have begun a long process of change, which has transformed their position in the European political systems. Indeed, far-left parties are now important actors in most of the E.U. However, they present different characteristics than in the past. Communist parties have almost disappeared from parliamentary arenas, and, in many countries, new forms of far-left parties have emerged (i.e. social-populist and populist-socialist parties). The aim of this article is to describe the ideological framework of far-left parties in Europe. More specifically, it aims to examine both the demand-side and supply-side factors on which scholars focused in the attempt to explain the birth of these parties and the interactions that led to the development of specific forms of far-left parties. This article concludes with an analysis of three national cases, namely Spain, Portugal and Italy. The three countries belong to a similar context characterised by a profound economic crisis. However, despite many common features, in the three cases different forms of far-left parties have developed.


political parties, radical left, far-left, party change.

MATTEO BOLDRINI, Ph.D. Student, University of Florence,

PASQUALE DE GIROLAMO, Financial Globalization and the Anglo-Saxon Model of Capitalism: an Agency-Centered Approach to Study Financial Change (pp. 613-629)


This paper examines the main theoretical perspectives on the process of financial change in modern capitalism. It discusses institutionalist political economy approaches claiming that their conception of states, markets and financial innovation is problematic when analysing financial globalisation. In order to consider how the internationalisation of financial practices can be studied, this article suggests that a necessary step is that of firstly deconstructing the model of Anglo-Saxon capitalism as present in the literature. Whereas scholars have emphasized deregulation in the explanation of the development of financial practices, this essay emphasizes that in key respects their development in the Anglo-American core has been profoundly shaped by the actions and interests of state actors and at the end, it rests on a set of highly formalised set of institutions. This allows this paper to locate historically the peculiar American institutional roots of modern financial practices, focusing on the singularity of the social contexts in which practices emerge rather than studying finance solely in relation to the liberal nature of the state. After this, it proposes a theoretical framework to conceive the relationship between states and markets in international contexts from a historical agency-centered perspective.


Political Economy of Finance, financialisation, neoliberal state, Anglo-Saxon countries.

PASQUALE DE GIROLAMO, Ph.D. Student, University of Florence and Turin,

LAURA GIOVINAZZI, Beyond Marketization? The Genesis of Quality Assessment Criteria in the British University Sector between 1985 and 1992 (pp. 631-647)


This brief article is a consideration on the theme of Quality Assessment (QA) criteria in the British university sector. It will attempt to shed light on a variety of conceptualisations on this instrument which is commonly considered a means to achieve a more efficient university sector which can prosper by working on the quality of education that is delivered to students whilst at the same time responding to reforms, which have pushed for a greater “value-for-money” of public resources used by universities. Whereas the majority of recent literature give an overview of the current state of the university system, this article instead sheds a focus of quality assessment criteria on an aspect which is treated as a marginal detail, namely, the historical origins of these criteria. By bringing some historical evidence to the forefront, this article will show how an attentive reflection on the birth of quality assessment criteria can show some problematic aspects of literatures which tend to explain and study QA as instruments that contain a logic of some sort. When literatures of different approaches prioritise a logic at work for explaining the functioning of QA criteria, this article argues, they tend to ignore that the conception of QA was vested with a variety of interests of different agents.


new public management, neoliberal governance, quality assessment criteria, British university sector, managerialism.

LAURA GIOVINAZZI, Ph.D. Student, Naples Eastern University,

ALESSANDRA ANTONELLA RITA MAGLIE, The Quest for a Prime Mover. A Critique of Deirdre McCloskey’s Theory of Change (pp. 649-667)


Within a framework of history of political thought, this essay examines the original, albeit questionable, account furthered by Chicago economist Deirdre McCloskey. First, I will present an intellectual profile of the author in order to provide a broader perspective on her thoughts about ethics, politics and economics, and to show how her position in these areas intertwines with the main thesis expressed in the Bourgeois trilogy. Secondly, I will propose, on the basis of an alternative reading of historical materialism, that Marx’s theory of change is more complex than she admits. Finally, I will show the problematic aspects of McCloskey’s theory of historical change. My main point is that McCloskey’s account is motivated by her polemic intent against Marxism – as her intellectual background shows – and because of that she ignores alternative readings of historical materialism. As a consequence, her theory of historical change presents a few flaws. In fact, the “revolution of ideas” which McCloskey indicates as a direct cause of the Industrial Revolution, may appear as an attempt to replace the accumulation theory of the Marxist tradition with another all-purpose label. It is risky to rely on a theory that seeks a single cause for historical change, because it entails a linear conception of history rather than a more complex and comprehensive one. In short, I maintain that strict causal monism cannot explain the evolution of society.


the Industrial Revolution, Deirdre McCloskey, classical liberalism, bourgeoisie, theory of change.

ALESSANDRA ANTONELLA RITA MAGLIE, Ph.D. Student, University of Turin,

MASSIMO DEL FORNO, MARCO DI GREGORIO, Meritocracy: The Third Way and the Effervescence of Capital (pp. 669-687)


Since the social-democrats dismissed the communist utopia and privileged instead the idea of a well-being founded on the production-consumption cycle, the Western electoral competition has been increasingly focused on the capitalist economy. Accordingly, the political dynamics shifted from the class conflict to the regulation of markets. On the social side, the removal of the previous conflict has freed the “spirit of capitalism” that has been able to settle even more pervasively in the symbolic relations between people. This new philosophy of money triggers a social game played on competition and the reward mechanism derived from it. In this sense, meritocracy is the criterion for governing this new order of capitalism. Within this context, this article discusses the contribution of the left movements and parties, in their historical-social evolution, to the construction of a meritocratic principle in Europe. It also investigates the political process that led the left to a strategic choice, among the other possible options for renewal: namely, to give up to the struggle against capitalism and privilege a progressive accommodative logic with regard to the market. We argue that this choice was based both on values and interests shared by political actors and was supported at a theoretical level by a group of intellectuals who recognize themselves in the Third Way. Based on the above, the article shall identify the main stages in this political change, by using an appropriate selection of discourses and texts that refer to Third Way, analyzing them through a sociological perspective.


meritocracy, “Third Way”, capitalism, the left, social democracy.

MASSIMO DEL FORNO, Researcher, University of Salerno,

MARCO DI GREGORIO, Ph.D. Student, University of Turin,

SILVIA FILIPPI, ANASTASIA RITA GUARNA, The Italian Case and the Challenges of Migration Theories through an Analysis of Female Migration (pp. 689-708)


This article argues that female migratory flows in Italy can be considered as a gender-based method of female empowerment and social mobility of women (both within society and the family structure). In Italy, in the last three decades, the migration flow has changed in terms of magnitude, the subjects involved and the migration methods, making the difference between forced and voluntary migration slippery and confused. In spite of the overwhelming presence of women in migration flows, until recently the general assumption drew the international migrants as young, economically motivated men, totally neglecting the role of women. This article argues that by paying attention to the existing relationship between the women’s social position and migration we can better understand aspects of the process of migration previously neglected. Moreover, this article aims to bridge the gap between the macro analysis (an almost exclusive focus on the structural causes of migration) and the micro dimension (a focus on the migrant as a rational subject). Finally, it aims to underline how deceptively and confused are the no-natural categorises of regular and irregular migrant. In this context, the article analyses the two main entering channels of female migrations in Italy: a specific aspect of the sex industry, namely trafficking for sexual exploitation, and the private care market.


feminisation, female migration, trafficking, care work.

SILVIA FILIPPI, Ph.D. Student, University of Turin,

ANASTASIA RITA GUARNA, Ph.D. Student, University of Florence and Turin,

DIDIER GEORGAKAKIS, European Civil Service in (Times of) Crisis. A Political Sociology of the Changing Power of Eurocrats, Cham – Suisse, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 (LIANA PRIGOANĂ) (pp. 711-714)

PIERRE MANENT, La loi naturelle et les droits de l'homme, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2018 (IOANA ABASEACA) (pp. 714-719)

ROMAN KUHAR, DAVID PATERNOTTE, Anti-gender Mobilizations in Europe: Mobilizing Against Equality, London, Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017 (ALEXIS CHAPELAN) (pp. 719-724)

MATTEO VERGANI, How is Terrorism Changing Us? Threat Perception and Political Attitudes in the Age of Terror, Singapore, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018 (MIHAI MURARIU) (pp. 724-728)