The essay deals with the first years of «Meridiana» in the context of the crisis of the Italian political system: a particular version of the crises of the systems of political regulation of the center and north Europe emerged during the «glorious thirty». The interpretative stance of «Meridiana» on the South of Italy – the refusal of the traditional vision of the «southern question» as concerning a uniformly «backward» area – and the inclination to link academic styles of analysis with proposals to be discussed in the political arena, presupposed the existence of an «Italian question». The Italian political model was considered inadequate, and therefore tending to inefficiencies and corruption, because the State apparatus and the expert knowledge to be used in the decisional process did not functioned as a «third» space shielded from partisan conflicts and negotiations, but was occupied by the political parties. Practising expert knowledge in forms inclined to the civic engagement and, at the same time, refusing the heavy ideological stance typical of the «organic» intellectuals, «Meridiana» would shed light to the complexity of Mezzogiorno and, at the same time, elaborate schemes of State interventions capable of improving and modernizing it. The obsolescence of the interpretations of the western history as a teleological modernization process, and the crisis of the European political systems that had used the expert knowledge in a «constitutional» role, determined the transformation of «Meridiana» in a typical – if interdisciplinary – academic journal.
Keywords: Expertise; the Glorious Thirty; Democracy of the parties; Southern question.