Meridiana. 79, 2014. Paternalismo

Testata: Meridiana • Anno di pubblicazione: 2014
Edizione cartacea
pp. 256, ISBN: 9788867282814
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La crisi, il Mezzogiorno e i difetti di interpretazione
Gianfranco Viesti

Crisis, Mezzogiorno, and Faults of Interpretation
This article deals with the economic, social and political situation of the Mezzogiorno within the framework of Italy. It, starting from the effects of the economic crisis, discusses the recent tranformations in the economy, and the dangerous effects it may create in the long term, on the well-being of the area. The main message is that Italy needs a strong development policy to return to growth and improve the families’conditions especially increasing employment rates. Within this development policy a specific industrial policy is needed, as well as a clear territorial cohesion policy. Nevertheless, this does not seem to be a priority in the Italian political arena. In particular, the consensus in favour of a cohesion policy able to improve the economic and social performane of the Mezzogiorno (and in this way improving the situation of the whole country) is very weak. In the political and economic debate, the issue of the development of the Mezzogiorno is not at all high in the agenda, and the article tries to explain why.

Keywords: Mezzogiorno, crisis, development, politics
Parole chiave: Mezzogiorno, crisi, sviluppo, politica


Ripensare il paternalismo in epoca neoliberale
Massimo Cuono e Raffaella Sau

Rethinking Paternalism in Neoliberal Age
In modern political philosophy, the notion of «paternalism» has often been used metaphorically to compare the ruler-subject to the father-son relation in order to criticize different forms of authoritarianism since John Locke’s famous condemn of absolute monarchy. The so-called «neoliberals» revive similar anti-paternalistic arguments against welfare state and social rights; nevertheless, several authors have recently suggested to reframe neoliberalism by introducing the notion of «neoliberal paternalism». This apparent oxymoron leads to an innovative interpretation of neoliberalism as a depoliticized ideology grounded on the supposed truth of economics and ethics.

Keywords: paternalism, neoliberalism, liberal-democracy, depoliticization
Parole chiave: paternalismo, neoliberismo, liberal-democrazia, depoliticizzazione


Paternalismo e democrazia liberale: un equivoco da chiarire
Virgilio Mura

Paternalism and Liberal Democracy: An Ambiguity to Clarify
Between paternalism and the basic principles of liberal democracy there is a total contrast. Paternalism is set up as a way to justify political power, whose structure, built on the model of paternal power, and strengthened by religious seal, provides the ideological framework in support of a monarchic power. Its long historical hegemony, challenged by the social contract theories of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, ended with the advent of the modern representative state, founded on the principle of individual autonomy. Not surprisingly, the argumentative strategy of today’s advocates of paternalism is mainly focused on trying to limit the exercise of autonomy. The vice of origin of these settings lies in the belief in one of the many versions of the objectivist meta-ethics, whose perfectionism is yet another variant. Although not fully achievable in pluralist societies – because of majority rule, that is the only realistically applicable in decisionmaking contexts in which disagreement about values is inherent – the ideal of individual autonomy is essential to liberal democracy. The alternative would be the monistic society (if they would be possible) that are nonconflictual, cherished by the old and the new paternalism.
Keywords: paternalism, liberal-democracy, autonomy, pluralism
Parole chiave: paternalismo, liberal-democrazia, autonomia, pluralismo


Il paternalismo liberale, i nudge e la politica economica
Maurizio Franzini

Liberal Paternalism, Nudges and Economic Policy
According to the findings of behavioural economics, individuals rarely behave as most economists would predict. Indeed, the extremely rational homo economicus comes out as an abstraction. Usually individuals suffer from several types of cognitive limitations that lead them to choose the wrong means to achieve the ends they pursue. The paper starts by offering a brief introduction to the main findings of behavioural economics. Then, it focuses on the claim that those findings provide sound ground for claiming a sort of liberal paternalism where the state can help individuals to achieve their chosen ends without interfering with their freedom of choice. This can be done by means of well thought out nudges, mainly exploiting what we know on the influence of the choice architecture. The lively debate originated by such a claim – mainly focused around the possibility of combining freedom of choice with paternalism – is briefly summarized. The main conclusion is that too little attention has been paid in that debate to the non-paternalistic justifications of economic policy and to the possibility that nudges enlarge the set of weapons at the disposal of economic policy independently from the possibility of a liberal version of paternalism.

Keywords: Nudge, paternalism, economic policy, behavioural economics
Parole chiave: Nudge, paternalismo, politica economica, economia comportamentale


I subalterni tra paternalismo e diritti
Valentina Pazé

Subalterns Between Paternalism and Rights
The notion of subalternity, that Subaltern Studies have taken from Gramsci to apply to certain aspects of the post-colonial condition, raises a number of questions. The subaltern is – according to the definition of Spivak – a person who «wants against its own interests». It is unclear, however, whether it is really possible to distinguish between «subjective» wiliness and «objective» interests or needs. Even assuming that it is possible, under certain conditions, we can ask whether paternalistic interventions are justified. Can (and should) the State intervene to protect subalterns from their own self-destructive desires? In the essay this question is addressed starting from the analysis of two laws passed in France in the last decade, which have both been justified, at least in part, by the argument of the paternalistic protection of «subaltern» women. The former law prohibits public school students from wearing religious symbols in the classroom; the second prohibits the use of the full veil in public places. In both cases, one may wonder if the declared intention of promoting the empowerment of women is in fact contradicted by similar measures.
Keywords: paternalism, subalterns, rights, islamic veil
Parole chiave: paternalismo, subalterni, diritti, velo islamico


Liberi che scelgono di servire
Gabriele Magrin

Free People Who Choose to Serve
Around the middle of the sixteenth century, in his Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, Etienne de La Boétie provides a key to the despotism and its origins by analyzing the voluntary servitude as a conscious renunciation of political freedom in expectation of a private benefit. Such an interpretation has gone through several variations in the history of political thought and it still offers many issues for an explanation of the paternalistic degeneration of democracy. As many others philosophers affirmed – from Plato to Tocqueville, passing through Aristotle, Polybius and Constant – the free choice of a «protector» could be the outcome of an anthropological weakening determined by the democratization processes of society. The consequence is a theoretical challenge to democracy as a space of expression of the autonomous subject. Before the seduction exercised by the paternalistic powers, we need primarily to shift the focus from «father» to «children», from the master to the free subject who chooses to serve, to investigate the role that political apathy, conformism, immediate satisfaction of private wealth can play in the loss of democracy and the fall of the subject. Secondly, we need to enquire how representative democracy can continue to provide the conditions for the projection of individual existence in a political dimension.
Keywords: paternalism, voluntary servitude, freedom, democracy
parole chiave: paternalismo, servitù volontaria, libertà, democrazia


Indigenti responsabili e giovani occupabili. Il governo neoliberale di chi «merita» assistenza in Marocco
Irene Bono

The Responsible Poor and the Employable Youth. The Neoliberal Government of Deserving Assistance in Morocco
This article proposes to explore the concrete ways by which the social question has been governed in Morocco, as a way for reading the transformations of power relations among the different actors in charge of it. In Morocco, as elsewhere, the personal responsibility requested both to the poor and to the youth to be deserving of assistance is nowadays presented as a double anti-paternalist antidote: it should help to overcome traditional forms of social assistance based on clientelistic mechanisms, without opening new room for paternalist assistance through State intervention. By an approach of historical sociology of politics and economics, this article shows how the discretionary and non-systematic practices of assistance deserved by the responsible poor and the employable youth can be read as a renewal of paternalistic ways of managing welfare policies. The attention is focused, in particular, on the transformations in the logics of belonging subtended to private charity and labor unions social initiatives since the post-colonial times, and in the transformations of the relations among these actors and the State authority engendered by the introduction of standards and norms for regulating welfare policies in neoliberal times.
Keywords: Morocco, welfare policies, poor, youth
Parole chiave: Marocco, welfare, poveri, giovani


Il paternalismo, tra «proibizione» e «disciplinamento»: un percorso critico nella letteratura contemporanea
Federico Zappino

Paternalism between «Prohibition» and «Discipline. A Critical Path in Contemporary Literature
Starting from the recent theorization of Thaler and Sunstein’s «libertarian paternalism» – and from recent policies of nudging that it has inspired, implemented from 2008 onwards by some states, including Great Britain and the United States –, the paper proposes a recognition of the philosophical-political literature on the topic of contemporary paternalism, highlighting the connections between it and the recent advances in the fields of behavioral psychology and neuroscience.By privileging a critical approach, supported by a brief glimpse on that twentieth-century thought that investigated the aporias of concepts such as «autonomy», «freedom» and «judgment», the paper suggests that both theories and policies inspired by the libertarian paternalism can be read as instruments of discipline in the broader context of neoliberal governmentality of social and economic crises.
Keywords: libertarian paternalism, disciplining, behavioral psychology, austerity
Parole chiave: paternalismo libertario, disciplinamento, psicologia comportamentista, austerità


Diseguaglianze, fiducia e capitale sociale nel Mezzogiorno
Gaetano Gucciardo

Inequality, Trust and Social Capital in the Southern of Italy
How can it be explained that certain societies have a higher or lower endowment of social capital than others? Some data will be provided here which suggest that the endowment of social capital can be traced to a certain configuration of social relationships. It is possible to identify in social relationships the reasons that motivate the social actors to not be involved in producing social capital. The aim is to explore the relationship between social capital and inequality, verifying whether the available data corroborate the argument that the shortage of social capital in the south of Italy can be attributed to a greater incidence of inequality and identifying which social mechanisms could explain the relationship. If inequality affects social capital in a negative way, this could be explained by the fact that it distances people from each other and increases separation and segmentation. The result is a weakening in general trust. It is this type of trust that motivates individuals to cooperate and participate in the production of collective benefits. Inequality in southern society has been, and still is, much more pronounced than in center-northern ones. This suggests that it continues to affect social structure and relationships, conditioning the individual’s disposition to trust and therefore participate and cooperate with others and generate social capital.
Keywords: inequality, trust, social capital, Mezzogiorno
Parole chiave: diseguaglianza, fiducia, capitale sociale, Mezzogiorno


Vecchi e nuovi mediatori. Storia, geografia ed etnografia del caporalato in agricoltura
Domenico Perrotta

Old Brokers, New Brokers. History, Geography, and Ethnography of the Caporalato in Agriculture
The caporalato is an illegal system of intermediation of labour, widespread in the agriculture of Southern Italy since the beginning of twentieth century. Over the last 25 years, caporali of non-Italian origin have replaced a great number of their Italian «colleagues»; in August 2011, this form of intermediation has been declared a criminal offense by the Italian government. This article aims to contribute to the understanding of the caporalato from an historical, geographical, and sociological point of view. In the first part of the article, I trace the history of the caporalato in the Italian agriculture. In the second part, I depict similar kinds of brokers such as farm labor contractors in the US and gangmasters in the UK; moreover, I describe other instruments for the recruitment of agricultural workforce presently used in the European Union, in particular governmental programs for seasonal workers and private temporary employment agencies. In the last part of the article, I discuss some data collected with ethnographic methodologies in Puglia and Basilicata (Southern Italy); in particular, four organizations of caporalato and five dispositions held by farmworkers towards their caporali are described and analyzed. Keywords: gangmaster system, Southern Italy, migration, agriculture
Parole chiave: caporalato, Mezzogiorno, migrazione, agricoltura


Politica e ’ndrangheta nel Nord Italia. Il caso di Leinì
Elena Ciccarello

’Ndrangheta and Politics in the North of Italy. The Case of Leinì Town
This essay considers the modes by which Mafia groups (the ’Ndrangheta in particular) are able to exercise their influence on a local society without resorting to their intimidation power or extorting their victims. It explores the case of Leinì, a small town in the north of Italy, where the municipal council has been dissolved due to mafiosi penetration. In this territory, controlled by criminal groups, mafiosi cannot be viewed as mere extortionists. The study case shows that while some people may be victims of extortion, many others may be quite cinical customers of mafia’s services (like former mayor of Leinì, Nevio Coral). When mafia organizations are socially rooted and long-established, they have the capability to manage many social relationships and networks. In this situation corrupt politicians or entrepreneurs can buy mafia «protection» entering into mutually profitable relationships with mafiosi. Leinì is a paradigmatic case of these symbiotic relationships. In this town political and criminal actors operate as reciprocal protectors. The essay clearly shows that in Leinì links between the ’ndrangheta and no-criminal actors, rather than a colonization of municipalities, set up a political-criminal governance.
Keywords: Mafia, protection, governance, Leinì
Parole chiave: mafia, protezione, governance, Leinì