Pubblichiamo il testo del breve discorso con il quale Gianfranco Pasquino ha ringraziato per il Life Achievement Award (Premio alla carriera) conferitogli dal Conference Group on Italian Politics and Society.
The CONGRIPS*Life Achievement award came to me, at the time Fulbright Visiting Professor at Chicago, as a totally unexpected, therefore, even more pleasant and exciting, surprise.
Thank you, dear Colleagues and Friends. I am very grateful. I do not have to convince you that the study of Italian politics and society can be intellectually stimulating and highly rewarding, though , as citizen of a country that some of you wrongly believe is “normal”, I often feel irritated and annoyed. But I fight back, as you all know, challenging some interpretations, speaking the truth to the powerful as well as to the powerless, attempting, not so naively, to empower the latter, and, of course, also criticizing what many of you have been writing! Hopefully, I have always done so in a scholarly way, engaging in productive conversations, but never ostentatiously showing any kind of detachment.
How can one be detached when analyzing inefficient and corrupted politicians, litigious governmental coalitions, declining political parties, a society still largely characterized by “amoral familism” and immoral nepotism, partisan electoral and institutional reforms, gigantic conflicts of interests, evanescent political cultures? On the one hand, I have never refrained from trying to show that political science can be relevant and has the methodological tools and the consolidated knowledge to suggest appropriate transformations and solutions. In my parliamentary experience, in my newspaper contributions, in endless public meetings, I am constantly and stubbornly preaching the “good politics”. On the other hand, I have always tried to learn about Italy when studying other political systems, especially, parliamentary and semi-presidential democracies. If I can claim some originality in my writings on Italy, I would point to the use of my knowledge of other political systems and to my comparative perspective. Often it was from the reading of some essays of yours, some books of yours, some crazy ideas of yours and from excessively positive an evaluation of political developments in Italy that some of you have been unabashedly putting forward , that I got important cues and ideas for my research. Thank you for that.
The long struggle, that fully deserves the label “transition”, to improve the functioning of the Italian political system is by no means over. It is undergoing yet another phase not devoid of risks, not marked by opportunities. It is too easy to conclude that there is still a lot of work to do, which is good for all of us, researchers and teachers. Less good for most Italian citizens, especially, those belonging to the young cohorts. The most important reason why I have not been able to come to Philadelphia is that I am putting my political science and my knowledge of Italian politics at work. In a long campaign meant to reject the very poorly drafted and confused revisions to the Italian Constitution, I am going all places in order to shatter Renzi’s and Boschi’s false narratives and confused revisions.
To all of you I send my best wishes. Roll on, roll on. Mille grazie.
Gianfranco Pasquino, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Bologna
*Conference Group on Italian Politics and Society