Structural Changes and Subsidiarity in Italy and Britain
Edited by Alberto Brugnoli and Alessandro Colombo
Over the last three decades, a large body of literature has analysed the crisis of traditional concepts of ‘government’ and gradually outlined the main features of an alternative system of ‘governance’. That debate, while far from exhausted in purely scholarly terms, has by now reached a broad consensus: against a background of structural shifts which have increasingly challenged both the praxis and our models of the nation state, few voices now dispute the need for a move from ‘government’ (hierarchical, top-down politics) to ‘governance’ (cooperative, bottom-up politics), the latter characterized by greater involvement and participation of civil society. Over the same period – and in many ways, running ahead of analytical developments – policy makers have adopted a bottom-up approach to governance, acknowledging in their praxis that society needs to be much more involved in a wide spectrum of activities which, for much of the twentieth century, had progressively become dominated by state action. As one of the contributors to this volume notes, the history of political governance has forged ahead, leaving scholarship trailing in its wake.