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


Modern democracy and a national question between socialism, fascism and populism
Democrazia moderna e questione nazionale tra socialismo, fascismo e populismo

A.Y. Credits
2018/2019 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Giuseppe Stefano Azzarà Tuesday, h. 13-14, teacher's office, Palazzo Albani, via Bramante 17

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 set-up is the story of a long political-social conflict that dates from the French Revolution to the second half of the 20th century. This story is interwoven with the awakening of the subaltern classes and the consolidation of the socialist movement and, after the Second World War, of a geopolitical field capable of conditioning the political dynamics and the labor market of the capitalist world. Even the crisis and the conclusive neutralization of modern democracy, phenomena with which we are confronting today, is however incomprehensible without the preliminary dismantling of any system alternative, starting from the postmodern deconstruction of Marxism. The course aims to deepen this interconnection, also referring to the issues related to colonialism and decolonization and the current "populist" and "transpolitical" movements and their proposal to overcome the right and left categories. The comparison between the political crisis of the present and the rise of fascist movements in the twenties and thirties can in this sense be useful instruments for the defense and renewal of democracy.

It therefore proposes the following formative objectives:

- helping students to understand the fundamental concepts of the political philosophy of the contemporary age (social classes, modern / anti-modern / post-modern, right / left, recognition / discrimination, democracy / bonapartio, etc., etc.);

- help them understand the complexity of the historical process that has led to democratic instutorial forms;

- help them understand the profound, material and cultural reasons of the crisis of these institutions

- help them to orient themselves in the contemporary political-cultural context starting from the theoretical elements learned and their application 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 of real socialism
6) Historical transformations and crisis of modern democracy
7) postmodernity and populism
8) "sovereignism" and the proposal for a transpolitic front
9) Organic crisis and the rise of fascist movements in the twenties and thirties of the twentieth century
10) Communists, fascists and "third position": Rossobruno front or war of hegemony?
11) The lessons of the past for the present

Bridging Courses


Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

In relation to the discipline the student will have to show:

Knowledge and understanding:
- Knowledge of the fundamental themes of the History of contemporary philosophy exposed to lectures and deepened in textbooks and understanding of its fundamental concepts in their political repercussions (see Educational objectives);
- Knowledge of historical and socio-political dynamics exposed in class and deepened in textbooks and understanding of the processes that have innervated them;
- Understanding of the constituent elements of modern democracy and of the right / left and high / low axes;

Knowledge and understanding skills applied:
- Ability to orientate in the contemporary political debate and to understand the elements that today can strengthen or further weaken modern democracy.

Making judgments (making judgments):
- Ability to take a position independently of the main historical-political issues of contemporary debate and conflicts (eg: centralization and spectacularization of power, migrations, "conflicts of civilization", etc., etc.)

Communication skills:
- Ability to communicate what has been learned in the forms appropriate to a university level study; ability to transmit and communicate the fundamental aspects and principles of democratic politics (link freedom / equality and couple recognition / exclusion) also in basic educational work.

Ability to learn
- On the basis of the knowledge acquired through the course, the student must be able to autonomously construct courses of study and to understand which readings and experiences can help him in this sense.

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 held by dr. Emiliano Alessandroni (10 hours)

Didactics, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


Lessons and seminar.



Course books

1) Stefano G. Azzarà: Democrazia cercasi, Imprimatur, Reggio Emilia 2014;
2) Stefano G. Azzarà: Comunisti, fascisti e questione nazionale, Meltemi, Milano 2018;
3) Domenico Losurdo: La lotta di classe, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2013.


The expected learning outcomes will be ascertained through an oral interview.
The test will refer to the texts in the program, to evaluate their knowledge, but also to the theses exposed in class by the teacher, to verify:

- knowledge of the philosophical and political issues and the issues dealt with;
- an understanding of the historical and social processes that underlie it;
- the ability to expose these acquired skills in a structured and personal way;
- the ability to argue independently in relation to the training objectives and expected learning outcomes (and therefore also to orient oneself in the problems of the present).

These aspects will be evaluated on the basis of a four-level scale of values / judgments (insufficient: less than 18, sufficient: 18-23, discrete: 24-26, good-excellent: 28-30).
The vote of the written test is expressed in thirtieths.

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students


Non-attending students must support the same program as those attending, in particular by using the materials available on the Moodle platform and coordinating with the teacher and his assistants.



Course books

As for attending students.


As for attending students. For those not attending the test, however, will refer exclusively to the texts indicated in the educational program.



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