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


Revolution and counter-revolution, left and right, modernism and critique of modernity
Rivoluzione e controrivoluzione, sinistra e destra, modernismo e critica della modernità

A.Y. Credits
2018/2019 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Giuseppe Stefano Azzarà Monday, h. 13-14, at 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

What is a revolution and what is a counter-revolution? Is a "conservative revolution" possible?
The centrality of the concept of revolution in modern political philosophy is demonstrated by its all-pervading: everything that happens pretends to be a revolutionary event. Starting from the French Revolution and then from Hegel, revolution is not only a formal change but a progressive change. Also for this reason, during the twentieth century, conservative thought had to deal with mass society and massive processes of transformation: in the challenge with the socialist and revolutionary movements it had consequently also to assume the appearance of the revolution. Has any distinction between right and left disappeared? Is it possible a "revolutionary" front that unites the extreme wings of the political spectrum against "bourgeois society", as has been proposed in certain historical moments? In reality, the reactionary critique of modernity, together with the propensity to immediacy and particularism, characterize the thought of the right, whereas the leftist one is marked by the balance between criticism and legitimacy of the modern and an ineliminable, though complicated, universalist affliction. For these reasons every attempt at meeting conceals in reality an irremediable conflict that has its roots in philosophy and in particular in the debate on Hegelian inheritance.

The student should understand the complexity of the historical processes that characterized the political-social conflict within nations and the international conflict in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in order to understand the political orientation axes of contemporary cultural debate.

It therefore proposes the following formative objectives:

- helping students to understand the fundamental concepts of contemporary political philosophy (modern / anti-modern / post-modern, emancipation / de-emancipation, progress, freedom, equality, totality / immediacy ...);

- help them understand the complexity of the historical movement and its origin in the conflict between the social classes;

- help them understand the right / left contraposition, particularism / universalism, and the way in which they condition the formation of modern democracy and its crisis;

- help them to orient themselves in the contemporary political-cultural context starting from the theoretical elements learned (the successive inevitable mutations of every philosophical and political nucleus over time) and their application to today's communicative contexts (TV, newspapers, social networks).


1) Right and left, particularism and universalism
2) Immediate universalism and concrete universalism
3) Nietzsche and the redefinition of conservative thought
4) From traditional conservatism to the conservative revolution
5) The dialectic of the conservative revolution
6) Fascism and communism compared
7) A third position?
8) Crisis of democracy and emergence of antisystemic rebellion;
9) Populism and sovereignism as a particularistic response to immediate universalism.

Bridging Courses


Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

In relation to the discipline and its specific features the student will have to show:

Knowledge and understanding:
- Knowledge of the fundamental themes of the history of political philosophy exposed in class and deepened in textbooks and understanding of its fundamental concepts (see the Educational objectives);
- Knowledge of the historical and socio-political dynamics of the contemporary age exposed to lessons 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 suitable for a university-level study; ability to transmit and communicate the fundamental aspects and principles of democratic politics (nexus freedom / equality and couple recognition / exclusion in the first place) 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: Friedrich Nietzsche dal radicalismo aristocratico alla rivoluzione conservatrice. Quattro saggi di Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Castelvecchi, Roma 2014 (pp. 7-117).
2) Stefano G. Azzarà: Comunisti, fascisti e questione nazionale, Meltemi, Milano 2018.
3) Arthur Moeller van den Bruck: Tramonto dell'Occidente? a cura di S.G. Azzarà, OAKS, Milano 2017 (pp. 7-32).
4) Emiliano Alessandroni: Potenza ed eclissi di un sistema. Hegel e i fondamenti della trasformazione, Mimesis, Milano 2016 (pp. 9-79, 83-91, 162-184).


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-political issues and the issues dealt with;
- an understanding of the historical, social and political 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).

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 to the texts indicated in the educational program.



« back Last update: 21/09/2018


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