Comparative History of Government

6 credits

Teacher responsible: Marco Baldassari

The course aims at exploring the multifaceted dimension of sovereignty, by giving the students evidence of the complexity of the power relations in their historical perspective. In terms of knowledge students will get familiar with the main concepts of history of political thought such as “State”, “government”, “conflict”, “constituent power”, “constitution”, “federation”, “cosmopolitism”, “supranational institutions” etc. Students will be able to recognize correctly the origin and development of modern political ideas in their concrete historical dimension and to compare different models of political regulation in European and World history, by understanding and applying both perspective and methodology of comparative approach to the study of modern and contemporary forms of governments. Students will learn how to put concepts in their correct historical dimension, by contextualizing the material and conflicting relations of modern and contemporary societies. Finally, by writing an essay, they will develop independently innovative research questions, also by adopting a critical approach based on debates organised in class.

The course will tackle the genesis and the transformation of the European modern state, by taking into consideration the analysis on sovereignty and international relations developed by Carl Schmitt in his masterpiece “Nomos of the Earth” (1950). The aim of the course is to focus on the overall structure of the European Westphalian state-system as jus publicum europaeum (1648-1945), as well as on the nation-building process. Different historical traditions of constitutionalism (France, England and USA) and the relation between the constitutional structures and governments will be considered, as well as the World-System Analysis concerning the rise of the interstate-system, sovereign nation-states and colonies. The last part of the course will be devoted to the EU integration process, making a comparison between the classical Westphalian model and the multilevel and functional governance of the EU, taking into account the first European communities, the origin of Internal Market and the idea of “shared sovereignty” (1951-1957).
The course will be structured in two modules. After the introduction of the comparative approach in history, the “global linear thinking” and the World-System Analysis, the first part is focused on the Westphalian period; in the second part the crisis of the liberal model and the search for new governmental patterns in the Twentieth Century Europe will be analysed.

Module 1:

Brian Nelson, The Making of the Modern State. A theoretical Evolution, Palgrave, 2006.
Bob Jessop, The State. Past, Present, Future, Wiley, 2013.
Excerpts from Carl Schmitt, The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum europaeum, (1950) Telos Press Publishing 2006 and The Concept of the Political (1932) University of Chicago Press, 1996.
A reading of a classical masterpiece: I. Kant, Toward Perpetual Peace A Philosophical Sketch (1795)

Module 2:

G. Majone, Rethinking the Union of Europe Post-Crisis, Cambridge University Press 2014.
Bastiaan van Apeldoorn, Jan Drahokoupil and Laura Horn (eds.), Contradictions and Limits of Neoliberal European Governance From Lisbon to Lisbon, Palgrave 2009 (selected chapters to be defined).
P. Dardot, C. Laval, The New Way of the World: On Neoliberal Society, Verso 2013. (selected chapters to be defined).

Enrolled students may view the full course syllabus via Kiro.