Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


Rise and fall of modern democracy and socialism
Rivoluzione, restaurazione e grandi crisi storiche

A.Y. Credits
2016/2017 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Giuseppe Stefano Azzarà Mond Tues 13-14 office

Assigned to the Degree Course

Educational Sciences (L-19)
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

The history of democracy in its modern shape is the history of a long political-social conflict that starts with French Revolution and finds its end in the second half of the 20th century. This story is interwoven with the awakening of subordinate classes and with the consolidation of the socialist movement (and, after the Second World War, of a geopolitical field capable of influencing the political dynamics and labor market of the capitalist world). Even the crisis and the final neutralization of modern democracy, the phenomena with which we are confronting today, is, however, are incomprehensible without the preliminary dismantling of any systemic alternative, first of all the postmodern deconstruction of Marxism. The class intends to deepen this interconnection, also referring to issues related to colonialism and decolonization and to the current "populist" movements.
The class therefore proposes the following objectives:

- helping students in understanding the fundamental concepts of contemporary political philosophy (social classes, modern / antimodern / postmodern, right / left, recognition / discrimination, democracy / bonapartification, etc.);

- helping them in understanding the complexity of the historical process that has led to democratic institutional forms;

- helping them in understanding the deep material and cultural reasons involved in the crisis of these institutions

- helping them in orientating themselves in the contemporary political and cultural context, making use of the the theoretical elements learned and applying them to today's communicative contexts (TV, newspapers, social networks).


1) Democracy and modern democracy
2) Social classes and political-social conflict
3) The stages of modern democracy
4) Modern Democracy, Socialism, Marxism
5) Crisis of Marxism and Real Socialism
6) Historical Transformations and Crises of Modern Democracy
7) postmodernity and populism

Bridging Courses


Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

Students must demonstrate:

Knowledge and understanding:
- Knowledge of the fundamental themes of the history of political philosophy exposed by teachers and deepened in the textbooks, and understanding of its fundamental concepts;
- Knowledge of the historical and socio-political dynamics exposed by teachers and deepened in the textbooks, and understanding of processes that have inspired them;
- Understanding of the constituent elements of modern democracy and of the right / left and high / low axes;

Applied knowledge and understanding:
- orientation in contemporary political debate and understanding of the elements that today can strengthen or further undermine modern democracy.

Making judgments:
- indipendent judgement regarding the main historical-political knots of contemporary debate and conflict (eg centralization and spectacularization of powers, migrations, "clash of civilitazions", etc.)

Communicative Skills:
- Ability to communicate what has been learned in a form that is appropriate to an university-level study; Ability to convey and communicate the main principles of democratic politics (freedom, equality and recognition / exclusion) even in basic education work.

Ability to learn
- On the basis of the knowledge gained through the lessons, the student must be able to build autonomous paths of investigations and to understand what readings and experiences can help him.

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

Seminar directed by dr. Emiliano Alessandroni (10 hours). Further texts available by link on Moodle platform.

Didactics, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


Lessons in presence and seminar.


Not compulsory

Course books

1) Stefano G. Azzarà: Democrazia cercasi, Imprimatur, Reggio Emilia 2014

2) Stefano G. Azzarà: Nonostante Laclau. Populismo e "egemonia" nella crisi della democrazia moderna, Mimesis, Milano 2017.

3) Domenico Losurdo: Il marxismo occidentale, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2017.


Expected learning outcomes will be verified through an oral interview.
The test will refer to the books in program but also to the theses exposed by the teacher, in order to verify:

- the knowledge of philosophical questions and issues exposed;
- the understanding of the historical, social and political processes underlying them;
- the ability to articulate and personalize such skills acquired;
- the ability to independently argue in relation to the expected learning outcomes (and therefore also the ability to orientate in the problems of the present).

These aspects will be assessed on the basis of a four-level scale / judgment (insufficient: less than 18, enough: 18-23, discreet: 24-26, good: 28-30).

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students


Not attending students must learn the same programm learned by attending ones, using also text and materials available on Moodle platform. Please contact professor and its assistant lecturer.


Not compulsory.

Course books

As for attending students.


As for attending students, but for not-attending students the assessment will be based on the texts specified, for an evaluation of the acquired knowledge.



« back Last update: 11/07/2017


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