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Dissertation Guide on the Comparative Politics of Europe

| October 19, 2012 | 1 Comment

Subject – Comparative Politics of Europe

Topic  – The Dictatorship of Parties: a Study of Partitocracy in Italy

Abstract: This qualitative study aims to estimate the role of parties in the Italian political system and to evaluate the specific position of the Italian parties as vessels for power. This study will attempt to reveal the reasons behind the so-called model of partitocracy and will assess its influence on the Italian political model.

Introduction: History of party politics in Europe, and in Italy in particular. Critically discuss stages of the development of multiparty rule in Europe after WWII. Mention the current political system of Italy, and the major electoral changes that the country underwent in the early 1990s. Highlight the importance of the research question, the innovation it will carry and the rationale behind its choice

Research question: The research question that this essay will tackle is why highly democratic and representative model of governance, as the Italian model was intended to be after WWII, resulted in a very dictatorial and unpopular form of political cohabitation.

Literature Review: Consider literature on the subject of political/electoral systems in Europe and Italy. Consider the debate on democratization and the type of electoral systems. In this section also mention literature related to partitocracy in particular –Partridge,  Fouskas,  Bardi,  Bull and Newell, Weiser are some of the leading theorists on the subject.  Highlight gaps of research and mention how the dissertation will fill these gaps

Methodology: Qualitative – analysis of secondary materials related to the topic. Analysis of the current political system in Italy, mention factors such as family, the mafia, corruption, and politics of personalities. They are related to the formation of partitocracy.

Presentation of Data

Conclusion – summarize your key findings findings, make recommendations related toItaly and democratic government inWestern Europe.


Appendix I – Recommended readings by topic 

Bardi, L. (2002) “Italian Parties: Change and Functionality”, in Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies, ed. P. Webb, D. Farrell, I. Holliday

Bartollini, S., Chiaramonte, A., and D’Alimonte, R. (2004). “The Italian Party System between Parties and Coalitions”, West European Politics, January

Bull, M. and Newell, J. (2005) Italian Politics. Polity Press, Cambridge, UK

Chubb, J. (1982) Patronage, Power, and Poverty in Southern Italy: a Tale of Two Cities, Cambridge University Press

Cotta, M. (1996), quoted in Bull, M. and Newell, J. (2005) Italian Politics. Polity Press, Cambridge, UK

Deschouwer, K. (2002) “The Colour Purple: The End of Predictable Politics in the Low Countries” in  Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies, ed. P. Webb, D. Farrell,I. Holliday

De Winter, L. (1998) “Parliament and Government in Belgium: Prisoners of Partitocracy”. Ch. 5 in Parliaments and Governments in Western Europe, vol. 1, Philip Norton ed., Frank Cass Publishers, London, UK

Fouskas, V. (1998) Italy, Europe, the Left.The Trabsformation of Italian Communism and the European Imperative. Ashgate Publishing, London, UK

Katz, R. (1980) A Theory of Parties and Electoral Systems, Baltimore MD, Johns Hopkins University Press

LeDuc, L., Niemi, R. amd Norris, P. (2003) Comparing Democracies 2. New Challenges in the Study of Elections and Voting. Sage Publications, London, UK

LaPalombara, J. (1994). “Italian Parliamentary Democracy”. A Discussion

Available at:

Viewed [22.02.2010]

Morlino, L. (1996) “Crisis if Parties and change of party system in Italy”. Party Politics 2, pp. 5-30

Partridge, H. (1998). Italian Politics Today. Manchester University Press

Pasquino, G. (1995) “La Partitocrazia”, in G.Pasquino ed. La Politica Italiana. Dizioanario Critico

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