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For an Italian Way to Constitutional Patriotism Mostra a grandezza intera



For an Italian Way to Constitutional Patriotism

Reflections on Rejuvenating Our Constitution beyond Hyperboles and Failed Reforms

Benedetta Barbisan

In 2012, the Academy-Award winning actor Roberto Benigni performed a stand-up show at prime time on the main Italian public television channel entitled The Most Beautiful Constitution in the World. Although for a comparatist nothing is as nonsensical as a world-record constitution, the exaltation of the Italian Constitution through superlatives and hyperboles symptomises the tepid relation Italians entertain with their fundamental law. Why is it so?
Since 1948, two factors have thrived and mutually reinforced in Italians institutions: the partitocracy and a deeply inefficient system of government. Their persistent combination, cluttering the scene and pushing the Constitution behind the curtain, has educated Italians to depend on political parties and their power play.
This seems the time when some kind of constitutional patriotism should be in order in Italy to strengthen the Italian civic-mindedness, finally found a common citizenship, and re-establish our cardinal values perilously at stake in a changing society – in brief, to face our own problems of modernity.

About Benedetta Barbisan
Benedetta Barbisan, is associate professor of Comparative Constituional Law at the University of Macerata and Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Previously, she has visited Boston College Law School, Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, King’s College London School of Law, the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. She has also taught at the Universidad de Oviedo, Queen’s University Belfast and currently at the Université Catholique de Lille.  
Among her many publications, she has authored a book on the origins of U.S. judicial review (Bologna, il Mulino, 2008) and co-authored with Giuliano Amato a book on the dialogue between the Italian Constitutional Court and the European Courts (Bologna, il Mulino, 2016). With Giuliano Amato and Cesare Pinelli, she has edited the book Rule of Law vs Majoritarian Democracy (Hart Publishing, forthcoming).

Table of Contents


1. Is It Beautiful?

Part One
2. When Political Parties and the Constitution Met: How To Make a Form of Government Deliberately Inefficient and Unstable
3. Parliamentarism as the container of political parties’ power: the ineliminable bequest of the past

Part Two
4. Constitutional Patriotism
5. A Prince Without a Sceptre
6. Why Constitutional Patriotism May Be Good for Italy
7. Conclusion


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  • Codice ISBN (print) 978-88-6056-649-2
  • DOI 10.13138/BB-60566492
  • Numero pagine 102
  • Formato 14x21
  • Anno 2020
  • Editore © 2020 eum edizioni università di macerata
  • Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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