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


Crisis of modern democracy and supranational democratization processes and perspectives of universalism
Crisi della democrazia moderna e dei processi di democratizzazione sovranazionali e prospettive dell'universalismo

A.Y. Credits
2019/2020 5
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

Long and troubled was the road that led to the establishment of modern democracy. It is the result of the overcoming of three great discriminations - that of class, that of gender, that of race or ethnicity - and has developed in the constant confrontation between the liberal tradition and the radical and socialist one. Imperfect and unfinished, it entered a crisis when the leap from an almost exclusively national dimension to a supranational horizon had not yet been completed, despite the lessons related to the catastrophes of the two world wars. What is happening in the European Union today - a stage in a century-old path of continental convergence - and in the balance of power between geopolitical areas in a world full of contradictory globalization, offers considerable insights in this sense, including starting from the teaching of Domenico Losurdo.
The student will have to 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 context of the affirmation and the decline of modern democracy and the axes of political orientation of the contemporary cultural debate.

It therefore proposes the following educational objectives:

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

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

- help them understand the left / right contrasts, 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 each philosophical-political nucleus over time) and from 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 real socialism
6) Historical transformations and crisis of modern democracy
7) The problem of democracy on a supranational scale

8) Globalization and imperialism

9) European convergence

10) Crisis of uniersalistic dynamics
11) The lessons of the past for the present

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. Giorgio Grimaldi (10 hours)

Didactics, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


Lessons and seminar.



Course books

1) Stefano G. Azzarà: La comune umanità. Memoria di Hegel, critica del liberalismo e ricostruzione del materialismo storico in Domenico Losurdo, La scuola di Pitagora editore, Napoli 2019;
2) Stefano G. Azzarà: Democrazia cercasi, Imprimatur, Reggio Emilia 2014;

3) Domenico Losurdo: Imperialismo e questione europea, La scuola di Pitagora, Napoli 2019.


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.



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