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


Rise and fall of modern democracy and socialism
Ascesa e caduta della democrazia moderna e del socialismo

A.Y. Credits
2017/2018 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Giuseppe Stefano Azzarà Monday and tuesday 13-14

Assigned to the Degree Course

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

Learning Objectives

The history of democracy in its modern shape is the history of a long political-social conflict that from French Revolution moves to the second half of the 20th century. This history is interwoven with the awakening of subordinate classes and 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 concluding neutralization of modern democracy, the phenomena with which we are confronting today, is, however, incomprehensible without the preliminary dismantling of any systemic alternative, starting with 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.
It therefore proposes the following objectives:

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

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

- helping them to understand the deep, material and cultural reasons for the crisis of these institutions

- helping them to orientate themselves in the contemporary political and cultural context making use of 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)

In relation to the discipline the student must show:

Knowledge and understanding:
- Knowledge of the fundamental themes of the history of political philosophy exposed by teachers and deepened in textbooks and understanding of its fundamental concepts (see Learning objectives);
- Knowledge of the historical and socio-political dynamics exposed by teacher 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:
- Ability to orientate in contemporary political debate and to understand the elements that today can strengthen or further undermine modern democracy.

Making judgments:
- Autonomy in facing the main historical-political knots of contemporary debate and conflicts (eg centralization and spectacularization of power, migrations, "clash of civilization", etc.)

Communicative Skills:
- Ability to communicate what ha sbeen learned in a form that is appropriate to university-level studies; 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 course, the student must be able to build autonomous paths of education and to understand which kind of 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 (dr. Emiliano Alessandroni, 10 hours). Widening texts available by link on Moodle platform.

Teaching, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


Lessons in presence; 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 texts in program, to evaluate the knowledge, but also to the theses exposed by the teachers, in order to verify:

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

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-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 conotact professor and their assistants.


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.



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