Local Government in Liberal Democracies: An Introductory Survey

By J. A. Chandler | Go to book overview

Chapter 5

Italy

R.E.Spence

In many ways Italy is a country of enormous contrasts and contradictions. From a climatic point of view the regions of northern Italy have more in common with the continent of Europe than regions such as Sicily or Calabria in the south, which are closer to North Africa. Similarly, the social life of a city such as Milan more closely resembles that of Zurich than Naples or Palermo, which could almost be on another continent. The linguistic differences which were so important in the past have been removed by the spread of mass education and culture, though even now there are those who consider Italian almost as a second language.

Similar contradictions can be found in economic and political spheres. The economic triangle based upon the northern cities of Turin, Milan and Genoa was the home of the industrial revolution in Italy. It has been, for most of the twentieth century, part of the wider European industrialised world of the north. Many regions of the south, on the other hand, are still predominantly agrarian and practise farming methods which in some areas have not changed at all since the last century. The uneven development between north and south has led to mass internal migration, resulting in overcrowding in the cities of the centre and north and depopulation in many areas of the south. Despite massive investment of both public and private capital, the south still lags a long way behind the north and the gap does not seem to be narrowing.

On the political front, the present system of government is based upon the constitution which came into effect in 1948. The constitution is divided into two: the first deals with the rights and duties of the ordinary citizen, the second with the establishment of the legal, political and administrative organs of the state. More cynical observers suggest that the real split is between those parts of the constitution which deal with concrete proposals, and those dealing with pious hopes.

The system of government to which the constitution gave rise was one

-73-

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Local Government in Liberal Democracies: An Introductory Survey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vi
  • Preface vii
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Bibliography 6
  • Chapter 2 - England and Wales 7
  • Bibliography 27
  • Chapter 3 - The Republic of Ireland 28
  • Chapter 4 - France 53
  • Chapter 5 - Italy 73
  • Bibliography 98
  • Chapter 6 - Germany 99
  • Bibliography 117
  • Chapter 7 - Sweden 118
  • Chapter 8 - The United States of America 138
  • Bibliography 158
  • Chapter 9 - Canada 159
  • Chapter 10 - Conclusion 188
  • Bibliography 200
  • Index 201
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