The public at a time of crisis: some notes on the Italian case


Lavinia Bifulco, Faculty of Sociology, University of Milano-Bicocca, via Bicocca degli Arcimboldi 8, 20126 Milano, Italy.



The article focuses on some dynamics affecting the public in Italy in connection with the financial and economic crisis. The hypothesis is that, faced with a growing desire for state, processes of institutional mediation underway are further weakening. The analysis goes into depth in some Italian policy cases: university and secondary school on a national level and vocational training policies in a regional context. These cases show rather critical phenomena as far as the public is concerned: the debate on research and knowledge is impoverishing; the change in the structure of the state is teetering between the possibility of solving secular problems and the risk of further endangering a collective service; and there are many signals of privatisation of citizenship. In the conclusions, some interpretive points on the themes of public, future and democracy are developed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.