Module Catalogue 2019/20

POL3079 : The Government and Politics of Italy

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Philip Daniels
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module aims:
•       to give students an understanding of the historical, political, institutional and cultural features that account for the complexities of Italian party politics and government;
•       to introduce students to the principal concepts and theoretical perspectives for understanding Italian politics and government.

This module explores the fascinating politics of contemporary Italy and the causes and consequences of the political upheavals that have characterised the state since the mid-1990s. The Italian case will be examined using key concepts and theoretical perspectives relating to state-building, political transition and electoral change.

Outline Of Syllabus

The introductory lectures analyse the process of state-building in Italy and the consolidation of democracy in the early post- World War Two years. The second block of lectures examines the problems of government in the ‘first republic’, focussing in particular on Christian Democratic domination and lack of alternation in power, institutional failure, and the political role of the mafia. The remaining lectures explore the political upheavals that have characterised Italy since the early 1990s including the profound party and electoral changes that have transformed the political landscape. The lecture programme will also include slots for the showing of films and documentaries dealing with aspects of contemporary Italian politics.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By studying this module students will:

•       be able to make informed statements about the political development of the Italian state and the problems of political stability in contemporary Italy
•       be able to make informed statements about electoral, party and political change in contemporary Italy
•       be able to relate these understandings to theoretical perspectives on the nature of Italian politics and society
•       be able to apply key concepts in comparative political analysis (such as nation-building, regime change and institutional engineering) to the Italian case

Intended Skill Outcomes

This module will develop students’ skills to:

•       critically evaluate empirical data, policies, concepts, arguments and theories
•       develop and articulate this critical understanding through independent reading, oral presentations, group discussion and written communication

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures explore the main features of Italy’s political development from the formation of the state to the contemporary period. Students are introduced to the key concepts and theoretical perspectives for understanding the nature of Italian politics and government.

The seminars provide an environment for students to deepen understanding and develop a critical evaluation of the empirical, theoretical and conceptual issues surrounding the nature of Italian politics. Students will also present papers to the seminar.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Examination101M50Oral Examination to be scheduled by School.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M502000 word research paper
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The oral examination will assess the student’s understanding of, and ability to evaluate critically the key concepts, theories and issues from across the whole curriculum. The student will be required to demonstrate an integrated knowledge of the material covered in the module.

The 2000-word essay is designed to assess the student’s ability to undertake independent research on a contemporary theme or issue related to the government and politics of Italy. It will assess the student’s skills of planning and organisation, initiative, information literacy and written communication.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.