Il partito-paradosso: il modello teorico di Fabrizio Barca come tentativo di riconciliazione tra sfera sociale e oggettivazione partitica

Lorenzo Bruni


The aim of this article is to reflect on the party-form, starting with a sociological analysis of Fabrizio Barca’s policy document entitled A new party for a good government. Political Memory after sixteen months of government. At the time of its drafting and within the Italian context, this document was the sole theoretical work on parties that was issued moving from a politician perspective rather than from the civil society. The article that we propose is structured in three parts. A first one follows a descriptive approach and reconstructs the content and argumentative structure of Barca’s document. A second part follows an analytical approach and looks at the document on four analytical levels: (i) the redefinition of the relationship between representation and representativeness; (ii) the pre-eminence of today’s social sphere on the political sphere (as it emerges from the document); (iii) the political dialectic as a relationship between strong and weak identity; (iv) the relationship between the political party and the network. The third and final part follows a critical approach and will try to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal. The thesis that will support this last part is the one according to which the strengths of the writing of Fabrizio Barca seem to paradoxically overlap and entangle with its weaknesses.The political sphere seems to have lost the ability to produce global visions and effective forms of social aggregation. Nonetheless, efforts aiming at defining social bonds, conflicts, socially relevant values (such as justice, equality, etc.) are still active. In fact, these efforts passed from the level of traditional political parties onto a different one, with social and relational networks that are becoming the privileged places for the elaboration of values, ideas, and social/individual identities.Following the lines of such analysis of the current situation, one cannot state that citizens lack interest in associated life; quite differently, there is a strong “participatory ferment”, although this ferment is mainly on the level of social participation. Within this framework, there seems to be an almost complete and paradoxical antithesis between the very idea of participation and the political/institutional system.


Party; Social partecipation; Democracy

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