Recent Social Trends in Italy, 1960-1995 9780773567788

Italy remains an enigma for many observers. Recent Social Trends in Italy, 1960-1995, the sixth volume from the internat

191 69 20MB

English Pages 512 [510] Year 1999

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

Recent Social Trends in Italy, 1960-1995

Table of contents :
Author's Contributions
0 Context
0.1 Demographic Trends
0.2 Macro-economic Trends
0.3 Macro-technological Trends
1 Age Groups
1.1 Young People
1.2 The Elderly
2 Microsocial
2.1 Self-identification
2.2 Kinship Networks
2.3 Community and Neighbourhood Types
2.4 Local Autonomy
2.5 Voluntary Associations
2.6 Sociability Networks
3 Women
3.1 Female Roles
3.2 Childbearing
3.3 Matrimonial Roles
3.4 Employment
4 Labour Market
4.1 Unemployment
4.2 Skills and Occupational Levels
4.3 Types of Employment
4.4 Sectors of the Labour Force
4.5 Computerization of Work
5 Labour and Management
5.1 Work Organization
5.2 Personnel Administration
5.3 Sizes and Types of Enterprises
6 Social Stratification
6.1 Occupational Status
6.2 Social Mobility
6.3 Economic Inequality
6.4 Social Inequality
7 Social Relations
7.1 Conflict
7.2 Negotiation
7.3 Norms of Conduct
7.4 Authority
7.5 Public Opinion
8 State and Service Institutions
8.1 Educational System
8.2 Health System
8.3 Welfare System
8.4 Presence of State in Society
9 Mobilizing Institutions
9.1 Labour Unions
9.2 Religious Institutions
9.3 Military Forces
9.4 Political Parties
9.5 Mass Media
10 Institutionalization of Social Forces
10.1 Dispute Settlement
10.2 Institutionalization of Labour Unions
10.3 Social Movements
10.4 Interest Groups
11 Ideologies
11.1 Political Differentiation
11.2 Confidence in Institutions
11.3 Economic Orientation
11.4 Radicalism
11.5 Religious Beliefs
12 Household Resources
12.1 Personal and Family Income
12.2 Informal Economy
12.3 Personal and Family Wealth
13 Life Style
13.1 Market Goods and Services
13.2 Mass Information
13.3 Personal Health and Beauty Practices
13.4 Time Use
13.5 Daily Mobility
13.6 Household Production
13.7 Forms of Erotic Expression
13.8 Mood-altering Substances
14 Leisure
14.1 Amount and Use of Free Time
14.2 Vacation Patterns
14.3 Athletics and Sports
14.4 Cultural Activities and Practices
15 Educational Attainment
15.1 General Education
15.2 Professional Education
15.3 Continuing Education
16 Integration and Marginalization
16.1 Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities
16.2 Crime and Punishment
16.3 Emotional Disorders and Self-destructive Behaviour
16.4 Poverty
17 Attitudes and Values
17.1 Satisfaction
17.2 Perception of Social Problems
17.3 Orientation toward the Future
17.4 Values
17.5 National Identity

Citation preview

Recent Social Trends in Italy 1960-1995

Series: Comparative Charting of Social Change Series Editor: Simon Langlois

Recent Social Trends in the United States 1960-1990 Theodore Caplow, Howard M. Bahr, John Modell, Bruce A. Chadwick Recent Social Trends in Quebec 1960-1990 Simon Langlois, Jean-Paul Baillargeon, Gary Caldwell, Guy Frechet, Madeleine Gauthier, Jean-Pierre Simard Recent Social Trends in West Germany 1960-1990 Wolfgang Glatzer, Karl-Otto Hondrich, Heinz Herbert Noll, Karin Stiehr, Barbara Worndl Recent Social Trends in France 1960-1990 Michel Forse, Jean-Pierre Jaslin, Yannick Lemel, Henri Mendras, Denis Stoclet, Jean-Hugues Dechaux Recent Social Trends in Russia 1960-1995 Irene A. Boutenko, Kirill E. Razlogov Recent Social Trends in Italy 1960-1995 Alberto Martinelli, Antonio Chiesi, Sonia Stefanizzi Convergence or Divergence ? Comparing Recent Social Trends in Industrial Societies Simon Langlois, Theodore Caplow, Henri Mendras, Wolfgang Glatzer (eds) In preparation Recent Social Trends in Greece 1960-1995 Dimitris Charalambis, Larra Alipranti, Andromaque Hadjiyannis Recent Social Trends in Bulgaria 1960-1995 Nikolai Genov, Anna Krasteva Grading Leviathan: The Performance of National States Theodore Caplow (ed.) Recent Social Trends in Canada 1960-1995 Lance Roberts, Rod Clifton, Barry Ferguson New Structures of Inequality Yannick Lemel, Heinz Herbert Noll (ed.)


McGill-Queen's University Press Montreal & Kingston • London • Ithaca

© McGill-Queen's University Press 1999 ISBN 0-7735-1842-8 Legal deposit first quarter 1999 Bibliotheque nationale du Quebec Printed in Canada on acid-free paper

Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data Main entry under title: Recent social trends in Italy, 1960-1995 (Comparative charting of social change) Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 0-7735-1842-8 I. Italy - Social conditions - 1945-1976. 2. Italy Social conditions - 1976-1994. I. Chiesi, Antonio M. II. Martinelli, Alberto III. Stefanizzi, Sonia IV. Series. HN477.R421999 306'.0945 C98-901379-0

This book was typeset by Typo Litho Composition Inc. in 10/12 Times.


Author's Contributions x Acknowledgments Preface


Introduction 0



Context 53 0.1 Demographic Trends


0.2 Macro-economic Trends


0.3 Macro-technological Trends 1

Age Groups


1.1 Young People 1.2 The Elderly 2



82 92


2.1 Self-identification


2.2 Kinship Networks


2.3 Community and Neighbourhood Types 2.4 Local Autonomy 113 2.5 Voluntary Associations 2.6 Sociability Networks

118 123







3.1 Female Roles


3.2 Childbearing


3.3 Matrimonial Roles 3.4 Employment 4

Labour Market




4.1 Unemployment 161 4.2 Skills and Occupational Levels 4.3 Types of Employment


4.4 Sectors of the Labour Force 4.5 Computerization of Work 5

Labour and Management


5.1 Work Organization


5.2 Personnel Administration

184 188


5.3 Sizes and Types of Enterprises 6

Social Stratification 211 6.1 Occupational Status 6.2 Social Mobility



6.3 Economic Inequality 6.4 Social Inequality 7

Social Relations 7.1 Conflict



232 233

7.2 Negotiation


7.3 Norms of Conduct






7.4 Authority


7.5 Public Opinion 8


State and Service Institutions 260 8.1 Educational System 8.2 Health System



8.3 Welfare System


8.4 Presence of State in Society 9


Mobilizing Institutions 291 9.1 Labour Unions 292 9.2 Religious Institutions 297 9.3 Military Forces


9.4 Political Parties 306 9.5 Mass Media 10


Institutionalization of Social Forces 10.1 Dispute Settlement



10.2 Institutionalization of Labour Unions 325 10.3 Social Movements 10.4 Interest Groups 11





11.1 Political Differentiation 340 11.2 Confidence in Institutions 348 11.3 Economic Orientation 11.4 Radicalism


11.5 Religious Beliefs 355





Household Resources


12.1 Personal and Family Income 12.2 Informal Economy



12.3 Personal and Family Wealth 13




13.1 Market Goods and Services 13.2 Mass Information



13.3 Personal Health and Beauty Practices 383 13.4 Time Use


13.5 Daily Mobility


13.6 Household Production


13.7 Forms of Erotic Expression


13.8 Mood-altering Substances 405 14



14.1 Amount and Use of Free Time 14.2 Vacation Patterns



14.3 Athletics and Sports


14.4 Cultural Activities and Practices 15

Educational Attainment 427 15.1 General Education


15.2 Professional Education 15.3 Continuing Education 16


434 437

Integration and Marginalization


16.1 Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities




16.2 Crime and Punishment


16.3 Emotional Disorders and Self-destructive Behaviour 16.4 Poverty 17


Attitudes and Values 17.1 Satisfaction



17.2 Perception of Social Problems


17.3 Orientation toward the Future 476 17.4 Values 479 17.5 National Identity



Authors' Contributions

ALBERTO MARTINELLI is the author of the introduction, introductory paragraph of chapter 8 and paragraphs 8.1, 8.2, 8.3; introductory paragraph of chapter 9 and paragraph 9.4; introductory paragraph of chapter 11 and paragraph 11.3; introductory paragraph of chapter 15 and paragraphs 15.1 and 15.2. ANTONIO M. CHIESI is the author of the introductory paragraph of chapter 0 and paragraphs 0.1, 0.2, 0.3; introductory paragraph of chapter 4 and paragraphs 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5; introductory paragraph of chapter 5 and paragraphs 5.1, 5.2, 5.3; introductory paragraph of chapter 6 and paragraphs 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4; introductory paragraph of chapter 7 and paragraphs 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5; paragraph 8.4; paragraphs 9.1, 9.3, 9.5; introductory paragraph of chapter 10 and paragraphs 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4; introductory paragraph of chapter 12 and paragraphs 12.1, 12.2, 12.3; paragraph 15.3. SONIA STEFANIZZI is the author of the introductory paragraph of chapter 2 and paragraphs 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6; introductory paragraph of chapter 3 and paragraphs 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5; introductory paragraph of chapter 13 and paragraphs 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4, 13.5, 13.6, 13.7, 13.8; introductory paragraph of chapter 14 and paragraphs 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 14.4; introductory paragraph of chapter 16 and paragraphs 16.2, 16.3, 16.4; introductory paragraph of chapter 17 and paragraphs 17.1, 17.2, 17.3, 17.4. ALBERTO MARTINELLI and SONIA STEFANIZZI are the joint authors of the introductory paragraph of chapters 1 and paragraphs 1.1, 1.2; paragraph 9.2; paragraphs 11.1, 11.2, 11.4, 11.5; paragraph 16.1; paragraph 17.5.


The Italian group is responsible for its own funding and internal operations. We gratefully acknowledge the Ministry of University and Scientific and Technological Research for financial assistance, the Department of Sociology at the University of Milano, and the Department of Economic and Social Research at the University of Cagliari. We are indebted to our colleagues who helped us find and interpret the data. We would like also to acknowledge the members of the Comparative Charting of Social change (ccsc) international research group, who have commented at great length on previous versions of the different topics and given valuable suggestions that improved the final output. As discussions on the Italian trends were carried out in different meetings (Paris, June, 1993; Berlin, December, 1993; S. Margherita, December, 1994; Moscow, June, 1995; and Athens, January, 1996), we would also like to thank the institutions that hosted these meetings. Thanks also to the editor of the series, Simon Langlois.

This page intentionally left blank


This is the sixth national volume resulting from the international Comparative Charting of Social Change programme. The programme is now ten years old, and the Italian volume is a lovely anniversary gift for its initiators. Its origin goes back to a meeting held by Theodore Caplow at the University of Virginia in 1987, where the four first national teams, from Germany, the United States, France, and Quebec, decided to compare societal changes that had occurred in their respective countries over the previous quarter-century. A Spanish and an Italian team then joined the group, followed by teams from Russia and Greece. The French team proposed a work plan that the other teams took up, making a few modifications to conform to the exigencies of international comparisons. Finally, the Louis Dim1 team, after much trial and error, defined a list of 60 trends of social change that takes account of all aspects of a national society. In recent decades, sociology and the other social sciences have become specialized and fragmented into discrete sectors and approaches. The result has been a better knowledge of the various societal sectors and institutions - religion, for example. Partial theories were proposed and developed until they became operative and were even used in social interventions - theory of organizations, for example. Now, we were convinced, the time had come to fit these different pieces of knowledge into an overall sociological picture. Three axioms ruled our research project: • It is possible to identify, isolate, and define evolutionary trends in society. • Among these trends, some can be evaluated using quantitative indices; for others, it is possible to talk only about the direction of the development with some degree of certainty, based on qualitative studies.


This "collective sociologist" chose this name, an anagram of "lundi soir," the time the teams first met.



• These trends have relationships from which it is possible to establish causality: "Does trend X have a link of causality with trend Y, which has a link with trend Z?" It follows that it is possible to construct a matrix showing all the links between the trends, two by two, according to a method often used in structural analysis (Forse, 1991). One thus obtains a true systemic model that allows one to analyze the dynamics of the national society under study. By "trend," we mean "a theoretical diagnostic through which a direction is given to a group of empirical developments, described by indicators arising from a single societal sector." Italy remains an enigma for many observers, and so this book provides a new and convincing schema for its comprehension. With their systematic analysis of the 75 trends of the Comparative Charting of Social Change, Alberto Martinelli and his team have been able to construct such a schema, demonstrating yet again, as did the five other national projects, that the nomenclature of these trends is an extremely effective descriptive tool. According to Martinelli, three essential institutions have structured Italian society and provided it with unity and permanence: the family, the church, and political parties. These institutions do not directly embody a national unity and have made the state a weak institution, beginning with the republican democracy in 1945, out of fear of a return to a strong, fascist-type state; in spite of this, its importance is fundamental as a regulator of the economy through the monetary and banking systems and powerful national firms, and as a regulator of society through the welfare state. The church, an imposing institution, is losing its integrative role with the decrease in religious practice and in para-ecclesiastic militantism because the great majority of the left fought against it to the extent that it was linked to the Christian Democratic Party. Yet religion remains an essential explanatory factor for Italians' moral and political orientations. Both major political parties, the Christian Democrats and the Communist Party, had national networks, which were both rivals and partners, present in and motivating the state and local and provincial governments. Thus, they federated regions with contrasting social structures: proto-capitalist Mezzogiorno, the industrial northwest, and the "Third Italy" of networks and small business. The public national firms, the regional and municipal governments, the media, and the banks are controlled by the major parties, which draw their financial resources and influence from them: from janitor to bank president to mayor, the clientele of the Christian Democrats have stimulated the entire society of Venetia, while the Communist Party (or its successor) has had a similar effect in Emilia-Romagna. In the 1990s, political parties underwent thorough transformations that resulted in a diminished influence, but they are still relevant actors.



A sequence of partial crises, a regulatory mechanism at all levels of society and the economy, assured the system's flexibility and ability to adapt to domestic and foreign events. In the last century, the trasformismo of governing elites caused changes in alliances and allegiances of a majority of the government and opposition. The ribellismo of the masses was the counterpart to the trasformismo of the elites, throwing into question all established political legitimacy and rejecting all reformism by feeding on Utopian hopes of global change. Although they were usually handled peacefully, conflicts could become violent, providing justification for terrorism and organized crime. In 1989, the fall of the Berlin wall robbed the Communist Party of its doctrinal and international legitimacy and fostered its transformation into a socialdemocratic party, and at the same time lost the Christian Democratic Party the legitimacy it had gained in its struggle against Marxism and communism, and it splintered into three smaller parties. At the same time, the weakening of the church and its doctrinal authority weakened the Catholic networks. Rapid economic growth enabled Italy to catch up to the three other main economies of Western Europe, and even to pass Great Britain in the late 1980s thanks to the "miracle" of Third Italy, which took over from the Turin-Milan-Genoa triangle. Mass consumption caused major changes in families' way of life and local sociability networks. Civil society was transformed very rapidly, while the political and administrative systems continued to function with their traditional conflicts and, sometimes, clientistic routines. With governments remaining weak, the prime minister had no real authority over his ministers representing the various parties or factions within a party. The benefits - generous, to say the least - of the welfare state were often distributed by the parties to maintain (in every sense of the word) their electorate, which entailed a steep rise in public debt. In other words, democratic culture and political management did not change at the same rate as did the economy and the civil society. A deep crisis of transformation was the only way to return the three elements to synchronization, while 20 years earlier terrorism, antiparliamentarianism, and savage strikes had been controlled without causing a major crisis; and had even reinforced the power system. While the unions saw their power growing very rapidly thanks to the worker movements, they found themselves in open conflict with political parties and employers, the first putting their political monopoly in peril and the second making the profitability of their investments uncertain. According to Martinelli, "The Italian bourgeoisie proved less capable than its equivalents in neighbouring countries of playing the role of a hegemonic class - that is, to situate the defence of its interests in the framework of a larger project of national development." Indeed, this class was divided against itself, comprising groups that had in common only the defence of the status quo: landowners, real-estate promoters, farmers, small-business



people. The employers' associations were divided into four groups: the two forms of oligopolies - traditional (such as electricity utilities) and modern (automobiles, durable goods) - state firms brought together under the authority of the IRI and the ENI, and the many small firms whose first-generation owners did not think beyond their own businesses. Thus, the modernizing elites (political, cultural, economic) were marginal and unable to implement their projects because they ran up against the elites in power who shared the same conservative project. Throughout the last half-century, development was both strong and chaotic, in the absence of strong government direction and the impulsion of a management class. The contrast with France is striking: in that country, a generation of senior bureaucrats was able to direct the economic renaissance with complete independence from the political class under the Fourth Republic and with the support of a strong government under the Fifth. In Italy, most bureaucrats were from the south part of the country, where a government job was the only way of evading unemployment. Their solely juridical training gave them a rigid attitude toward applying the rules. Many senior bureaucrats were recruited as a function of party allegiances and their careers advanced by seniority within one administrative sector without possibility of lateral mobility. In this context, the family remained a strong, reliable institution that ensured citizens of the continuity of social life, life style, and fundamental values. Mass consumption enabled families to become wealthier, to acquire domestic appliances, and to achieve, finally, a bourgeois life style. During the economic boom, household consumption increased by 8.5% per year. The result was an attenuation of differences in life styles and a reinforcement of the role of the family, especially the function of women, since they managed this abundance and transformation of the home. Becoming a major economic actor, the Italian mother was busy maintaining and even reinforcing family life, where her power was based. Adult children continued to live in their parents' homes until they got married, around age 30. Italy was the only European country in which children lived with their parents for so long while obtaining complete autonomy over their social, emotional, and sex lives. In recent years, Italian women have started looking for jobs and the childbirth rate has dropped, undermining their traditional role. In Liguria, women have found jobs in the tertiary sector - tourism - and one-child families are common. Attitudes toward the female role are changing very quickly: is this a complete re-examination of the Italian family? Martinelli doesn't think so: "Although one notes signs of tension within couples and between generations, the family seems more solid and stable in Italy than in neighbouring countries, and especially capable of fulfilling a wider function as proved by the low divorce rate, the strong emotional and fman-



cial support given to children by their parents, the stronger professional heredity and greater importance of the family business in the economy. Finally, the Italian family has proved a remarkable capacity to adapt to profound changes and to the contradictions resulting from economic growth and a bumpy modernization of society." Could it be that Italians spend so much energy on their family that they have little left for society and civic life? This summary does little justice to the wealth of data brought together in this book and to Martinelli's masterful analysis. His main ambition was to whet the reader's appetite. He shows the fecundity of the process of analyzing social change through the study of a series of macro-social or societal trends, which is the original method adopted by the national teams in the Comparative Charting of Social Change project. For each country, it tends to hierarchize the trends and to examine their reciprocal influences. The result of this approach, the Louis Dim matrix, establishes links of causality among the 75 trends and thus constructs a systemic model of the society. Although this matrix has not yet been created for Italy, Martinelli offers a qualitative equivalent that highlights the interdependencies and particular mechanisms of Italian society, or Italian societies, as we might say. In fact, these analyses of trends, conducted on the same terms in different countries, comprise a unique tool for comparative study. They are not dry statistical indicators that record facts isolated from their context, but, as we have said, diagnoses, expert judgments brought to bear on a precisely circumscribed set of social facts. Social change, as described in the six national volumes of the Comparative Charting of Social Change project, confronts sociologists with a major question: are Western societies on both sides of the Atlantic in the process of converging into a single model of civilization? Or, on the contrary, does the fabulous wealth of the "Glorious Thirty" open new degrees of freedom in the evolution of structures and social practices? Since the socialist "model" collapsed, economists have begun to be interested in various forms of capitalism, and they are showing that countries can play by a single set of rules in a globalized market, while maintaining a domestic diversity of managing production and consumption. Michel Albert did a pioneering work in contrasting Rhenish and Anglo-Saxon capitalism. Since then, a team of economists and political scientists has distinguished French-style state capitalism; Swedish- or Austrian-style social-democratic capitalism; negotiated, neo-corporatist German capitalism; and the reticular, small-business capitalism of Third Italy and Denmark. And, of course, regional models can fit a number of models: small business using the Germanic model in Bade-Wurtemberg, and the French model in Choletais. What is true of business structure and national economic management is no less true in the social and life-styles structure. Obsessed by equality, the French expect



the welfare state to fight against inequalities engendered by economic growth. The English have never shared this concern with equality and are more preoccupied with giving free rein to the individual initiative that was behind their economic success and world hegemony in the nineteenth century. The German expect from collective effort that everyone will progress thanks to a constantly renegotiated consensus. The Italians, as we have just seen, are more centred on the family. Thus, each remains faithful to its concept of the "good society." Ways of life are becoming increasingly diversified, as marketing specialists are well aware. Certainly we see major quantitative indicators developing in the same direction in the six countries studied, but once one goes beyond statistical appearances to analyze the social mechanisms, customs, and functioning of institutions, one is stunned by the abundance of traditions and changes and by the fact that the latter reinforce the former rather than obliterating them (Forse and Langlois, 1995). Certain domestic appliances are becoming standard equipment and are now present in all homes, leading some hastily to draw the conclusion that ways of life are becoming homogeneous and "North American," with a lag of ten or fifteen years. But refrigerators, cars, and televisions are used to satisfy individual tastes and ambitions. The refrigerator and freezer do not lead to standardization of food or of meal order; on the contrary, they help to diversify dishes and preparation and encourage variety rather than standardization. Automobile makers are proliferating the models they offer and the equipment in each model so that everyone can have a car that fits his or her desires and expresses his or her individuality, and owners of a marque or a model endlessly discuss these refinements. As for television, which at first raised the spectre of standardized entertainment and influence over political opinion and aesthetic tastes, it is now obvious that the variety of networks and programmes can only increase the diversity of tastes, reinforcing cultural and ideological particularities. The six national studies and the comparative analysis produced by the Comparative Charting of Social Change project provide more arguments in favour of the hypothesis of diversification, rather than convergence, of our societies. Each nation, region, locality, and social category is trying to preserve its identity, ingenuity, and customs, and each depends on the diversity of the innovations that Western economy offers it in terms of perpetuating itself and even reinforcing its identity. The more we change, the more we remain ourselves: that is the conclusion of our comparative research, and the Italian study provides further ample proof. Henri Mendras



BIBLIOGRAPHY Works from the Comparative Charting of Social Change project Caplow, T., Bahr, H., Modell, J., and Chadwick, B.A. 1991 Recent Social Trends in the United States 1960-1990. Montreal and Frankfurt: McGill-Queen's University Press and Campus Verlag. Dim, Louis 1990 La societe frangaise en tendances. Paris: PUF, 1990. 2nd ed. 1998. Trans. M. Forse, J.-P. Jaslin, Y. Lemel, H. Mendras, D. Stoclet, and J.H. Dechaux, Recent Social Trends in France 1960-1990. Montreal and Frankfurt: McGill-Queen's University Press and Campus Verlag, 1993. Forse, M., and Langlois, M. 1995 Tendances comparees des societes post-industrielles. Paris: PUF. Glatzer, W., Hondrich, K.-O., Noll, H.-H., Stiehr, K., and Worndl, B. 1992 Recent Social Trends in West Germany 1960-1990. Montreal and Frankfurt: McGillQueen's University Press and Campus Verlag. Langlois, S., Baillargeon, J.P., Caldwell, G., Frechet, G., Gauthier, M., and Simard, J.-P. 1990 La societe quebecoise en tendances 1960-1990. Quebec City: Institut quebecois de recherche sur la culture. Trans. Recent Social Trends in Quebec 1960-1990. Montreal and Frankfurt: McGill-Queen's University Press and Campus Verlag. Langlois, S., et al. 1994 Convergence or Divergence? Montreal and Frankfurt: McGill-Queen's University Press and Campus Verlag. Salustiano del Campo (ed.) 1993 Tendencias Sociales en Espana (1960-1990). 3 vols. Bilbao: Fundacion BBV.

OTHER REFERENCES Albert, M. 1991 Capitalisme contre-capitalisme. Paris: Le Seuil. Trans. Capitalism against Capitalism. London: Whurr, 1993. Crouch, C, and Streeck, W. (eds.) 1996. Les capitalismes en Europe. Paris: La Decouverte. Dore, R., and Boyer, R. 1995 La politique des revenus en Europe. Paris: La Decouverte. Forse, M. 1991 L'analyse structurelle du changement social. Le modele de Louis Dim. Paris: PUF.



Mendras, H. 1988. La Seconde Revolution fran^aise. Paris: Gallimard. 2nd ed. 1994. Trans. La seconda rivoluzione francese. Milan: II Saggiatore, 1993.


The Uneven Modernization of Italian Society In a highly interdependent world, each modernizing country has to meet common challenges. Yet, given its history and autonomous culture, each country is unique. However, Italy often seems "more unique" than others. To many observers, Italy seems a puzzle or a mess, never a "normal" case. The international media sometimes describe Italy as being on the verge of collapse (a mid-1970s cover of the French magazine L'Express portrayed an Italian peninsula detached from the Alps and floating in the middle of the Mediterranean) and at other times praise it as an example of successful performance among developed countries (the Italian "economic miracle" in the 1950s and early 1960s, the recovery of the mid-1980s). At present, the picture of the country given by international and domestic media is blurred and uncertain, stressing, on the one hand, the legitimacy crisis of political parties, the backwardness of state apparatuses, and the extent of organized crime, and, on the other, the vitality of the Italian economy, the capacity to react to corruption and misgovernment of Italian civil society. While scholars seem to agree that for the first half of the 50-year period since the Second World War Italy was a successful example of economic growth and social modernization, for the second half - starting in the late 1960s - most tend to emphasize crisis rather than successful change. In the most interesting studies of the 1970s, crisis is the word most often used to interpret Italian social change. Italy is described either as beset by a variety of crises - economic and political, domestic and international - or as an exaggerated version of the general crisis of consensus and governability of Western democracies. More recently, however, other scholars have portrayed contemporary Italy as a country moving confusingly and painfully toward a modern democracy. In other words, the "optimistic" view of this state of affairs is that, through these multiple crises, a transition to a mature, modern democracy has taken place, while the "pessimistic" view is that the endemic crises account for a slow but persistent deterioration, since they are not acute enough to provoke a strong response but are serious enough to prevent orderly change and stable progress.



My view is that Italian social transformation can legitimately be seen as both a success story and a sequence of crises. The Italian specificity lies, above all, in its ability not only to survive but to grow and change in the presence of a multiplicity of endemic crises - which, however, never give rise to a systemic crisis. A major reason for this resilience to recurrent crisis is that Italian society is fragmented into a variety of regional and local social systems that are centred around the family and the community, foster the formation of strong identities, and are integrated into the larger national society by a market economy and a network of social and political organizations. The seriousness of the political crisis of the early 1990s lies in the fact that one of the integrating mechanisms, political parties, has lost much of its influence and integrating capacity. Yet, even this political crisis - which has featured the trials of corrupt politicians, state officers, and businessmen - is not likely to become generalized and lead to a major transformation of social relations. It has brought significant changes to the political system, but not to the society at large; it can be seen as a civil society's self-defence against too-powerful parties, a popular reaction to widespread corruption, and a struggle between old and new elites. Our study of social change in contemporary Italy covers a 35-year period from the early 1960s to 1995, while all other monographs of the Comparative Charting of Social Change series end at 1990. However, while the analysis of trends is confined to this period, the general interpretation of the scope and meaning of social transformation must be framed within a wider perspective, taking into account the period going back to the end of the Second World War. The war marked a more dramatic cleavage for Italy than for other countries involved in the war - such as the United States or the United Kingdom - because it provoked the collapse of the fascist regime and the transition to parliamentary democracy through a civil war. Italy changed from an authoritarian regime (with totalitarian features) to parliamentary democracy, from a tendentially "autarchic" economy to a free market, from a closed society with "imperial" ambitions to an open society. Parliamentary democracy and economic liberalization were basic preconditions for social integration and political stabilization in the postwar years, and then for intense and rapid industrialization and social transformation after the late 1950s. Viewed in this wider context, the early 1960s are a convenient starling point for a study of modernization in Italy - that is, for analyzing the ways in which Italian society coped with the complex problems posed by the social implications of economic industrialization, on the one hand, and by the institutionalization of the values and practices of a mass democracy, on the other.



At the beginning of the 1960s, industrialization was well under way in Italy. However, at the apex of the "economic miracle" and a century after the birth of the Italian state, the most difficult problems were still ahead: the institutional and cultural modernization of a rapidly and intensively industrializing country and its political institutions and state agencies, the management of growth-related social conflicts, the responses to the "revolution of rising expectations" and to the conflicting interests, identities, and values of an increasingly heterogeneous society. In Italy, these problems proved to be more resistant and social tensions more difficult to manage, because both the organizing potential of its modern state institutions and the sense of a collective national identity were weak. All of these problems can be fully appreciated only if they are viewed from the broader perspective of the last half-century. This introduction is intended to provide a synthetic interpretation of the Italian path to modernization since the Second World War, on the basis of major social trends analyzed in the volume. First, I shall give a short account of the type and scope of the respective transformation, the underlying basic changes from and continuities with the past, and the differences from other industrially advanced countries, taking into account both the "genetic code" of Italian society and the influences of the broader system on the process of modernization. Second, I shall approach the Italian case as an instance of the "cycle of growth and modernization" and discuss its specific features. Third, I shall develop a synthetic interpretation - a critical version of the theory of "unaccomplished modernization" - and examine Italian society in the light of the basic sociological problems of social order and societal change, focusing on three central questions: a) the factors and actors responsible for uneven modernization; b) the basic integrating mechanisms; c) the main agents of innovation and change. SOCIAL CHANGE IN POST-SECOND WORLD WAR ITALIAN SOCIETY

A national society can be defined in terms of a circumscribed territory, a distinctive culture, and a specific set of economic and political institutions. In the half-century since the Second World War, Italy underwent fundamental changes to its economy, society, culture, and political system. It was a thorough transformation with many facets - in some way a true social revolution. In the course of this transformation, which is analyzed in detail in the following pages and is briefly summarized here, Italian society moved: - from an agricultural economy with industrial enclaves to an industrial economy with rural remnants, and then to a service economy with strong industrial



foundations, where "flexible specialization" has been increasingly replacing Fordist-Taylorist types of work organization (chapters 0 and 5); - from a predominantly protected, self-reliant, slow-growing economy to a fastgrowing, export-oriented economy, well integrated into the world market, although with residual areas of marginal economy (chapter 0); - from significant demographic expansion to almost zero population growth and from the predominance of the extended family to the predominance of the nuclear family (chapter 0); - from a labour-exporting country with massive internal migrations to metropolitan areas to a labour-importing country (about 1.6 million immigrants in the early 1990s), with a declining population in the major cities (chapter 4); - from a predominantly peasant and locally fragmented society to a mature, urban, information society, where intellectual work is gradually replacing manual work (chapter 4); - from a simplified social structure with clear class cleavages and identities to a socially fragmented mass society, where barriers between social classes have eroded and a different hierarchical structure has emerged (chapter 6); - from a relatively static social structure with limited expectations to a dynamic social structure with significant processes of social mobility and constant expectations of greater well:being (chapter 6); - from traditional and class-differentiated consumer attitudes to individualistic, mass consumption patterns (chapters 6 and 12); - from a fragmented society with local subcultures and dialects to a more unified nation with a unified language - by virtue of the school system and the diffusion of television (chapters 8, 9, and 15); - from a constellation of ethnically homogeneous regions and sub-regions to an ethnically heterogeneous national society with new ethnic tensions and new social and cultural barriers between native and immigrant groups (chapter 16); - from a family-based solidarity system to a huge and costly social welfare system, which has contributed to a staggering public debt (chapter 8); - from traditional personal authority in parent-child relations, schools, and labour relations to organizational patterns where consent is essential (chapter 5); - from women's status being dependent on parents' or husband's authority to an autonomous status, with rising participation in the labour force and growing access to professions that had been monopolized by males, and with equal rights in family law (chapter 3); - from a traditional, religious culture to a modern, secular culture, embodied in the life styles - more than the values - of individualism (chapters 9 arid 17);



- from an authoritarian political regime to a mass democracy with universal suffrage, powerful political parties, and a complex web of collective movements and political and cultural associations (chapters 9 and 11); - from political conflicts stemming from industrialization and defined mainly by the antagonism of social classes to a more diversified set of conflicts of interests and values-like those between self-employed and employed workers, the private sector and the welfare state, economic and ecological values (chapters 7 and 17). Some of these processes are distinctly new, while others show significant continuities with the past and reveal a kind of "genetic code" of Italian society.

RADICAL CHANGES AND REMARKABLE CONTINUITIES: SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES WITH OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES Italy became a developed industrial country only after the Second World War, as indicators of economic production show: GNP, consumption, savings, and investment rates rose in quantum leaps between 1951 and 1991, and the proportions of the labour force employed in the various sectors changed dramatically. But, given the speed of the process of economic growth, the transition to a mature, industrial economy took place at the same time as processes of "primitive accumulation" were still occurring. In certain regions, the development of a tertiary sector entirely bypassed the stage of the formation of an industrial structure, thus provoking economic imbalances. Italy's traditional strong localism continued in the form of local, specialized, industrial districts (such as Biella and Prato for textiles, Brescia for the metal industry, Sassuolo for tiles), showing a remarkable capacity to adapt to the international market. In certain regions, a well-developed informal economy persisted alongside modern market structures. As well, the spread of the market and the explosion of private entrepreneurship were accompanied by persistence and growth of the system of state-owned firms - a trend that was reversed only recently with a wave of privatization of banks and industrial corporations. Italy's class structure changed dramatically over the last 50 years, with the fragmentation of major classes into sub-classes and status groups and the rise of a mass society. The peasant class almost disappeared and the number of farmers dropped precipitously (the proportion of people working in agriculture dropped from 50% to less than 10% between 1951 and 1991). The number of industrial workers increased rapidly with the "economic miracle" of the 1950s and 1960s, and later declined rapidly, because of labour-saving investments.



The constellation of middle classes expanded, because of the constant growth of new middle classes (private and public employees, cadres, technicians, and professionals) and the continued existence of traditional middle classes (artisans and shopkeepers). The bourgeoisie expanded as well, but the distinctive bourgeois life style became more and more blurred in the culture of mass society. On the one hand, wide and conspicuous waves of social mobility arose; on the other, oligarchic tendencies remained strong, and social inequalities caused by wealth and power continued to reproduce themselves. Since the 1960s, cultural change has been more rapid in Italy than in any other Western European country and has helped to make Italians' values, attitudes, and life styles more similar to those of other Western Europeans, although they maintained some specific features. The distinction between urban and rural communities, which was still clear-cut in the 1950s, faded as the urban life style prevailed everywhere. Secularization of mass culture occurred at the same time as urbanization in the 1960s and 1970s, as shown by legislative changes - through the passage of laws on divorce and abortion and reforms to family law - changing sexual morals, and constantly falling church attendance. The church as an institution lost some of its symbolic importance and ideological appeal and religious controversies became less important than in the past; nevertheless, religious beliefs and collective movements played a very important role in Italian politics (another specific feature of Italian society) and still have a significant, although diminishing, impact on electoral preferences. On the one hand, individualism became a way of life shared by almost all Italians, in spite of ideological and political preferences, similar to what happened in other Western societies. The primacy of individual objectives and self-satisfaction over collective objectives and the construction of society have become increasingly distinctive features of Italian culture. The predominance of individualism was accompanied by a widespread rejection of hierarchical values and authority relations, and involved a sharp decline in traditional types of classes and community solidarities, but was counterbalanced by a widespread inclination to engage in voluntary group activities. The well-known critique of particularistic individualism as an obstacle to public action developed by American scholars through notions such as the "decline of public man" (Sennet), the "loss of the civitas" (Bellah), and the "narcissistic implosion of the personality" (Lasch) applies only to some extent to contemporary Italy because of its cultural tradition of particularism and fragmentation. With modernization, the traditional form of Italian particularism gave way to, and became intermingled with, the new forms of particularism typical of contemporary market societies.



Traditional features of Italian societal culture, such as familism and localism, remained strong, as did traditional traits of the political culture, such as trasformismo and ribellismo. Familism can be defined as the attitude in which obligations toward one's own family are considered to be much stronger than, and even to some extent opposed to, those of the larger society. Localism can be defined as a strong identification with the local community at the expense of the rights and duties of citizenship. The notion of trasformismo was first introduced to portray the behaviour of members of the Italian Parliament in the late nineteenth century who changed their alliances according to narrow group or personal interests; here, it is employed in a broader sense as a combination of a distortion of parliamentary representation through patronage, a confusion between the government role and the opposition role, and a lack of hegemony of the governing class. Ribellismo was in a sense the counterpart of trasformismo in the behaviour of the masses and can be defined as a tendency to challenge any political authority and reject reforms and orderly change in favour of Utopian plans of global transformation. Politically, there was a radical change from fascism to mass parliamentary democracy and the rise of a multi-party system, but the traditional attitudes of Italian political culture, such as Pareto's "instinct of combinations" and mass radicalism, persisted, although in somewhat different forms. A specific feature of Italian political modernization was the growth of strong political parties, well entrenched in the civil society and endowed with conspicuous ideological and organizational resources. Political parties contributed to national integration and institutionalization of democratic values and behaviour, but they also systematically occupied state institutions and controlled important areas of civil society, such as banks and television networks. This tendency, together with trasformismo of political elites and ribellismo of the masses, made the legitimation crisis of the state more serious in Italy than in other countries. Another Italian specificity was the higher intensity of violent conflict, which took a variety of forms, from terrorism to organized crime. Any modernization process implies a large aggregate amount of conflict. In Italy, with its less efficient state administration, less coherent public policy, and a tradition of rebellion and illegal behaviour, nonviolent modes of conflict resolution, ceteris paribus, tend to be less effective. On the whole, the "genetic code" of Italian society was formed from a complex network of cities with strong local traditions, a variety of linguistic sedimentations, sharp and durable cleavages among different areas of the country (the "southern question"), deep family and community ties, a pervasive religious tradition, strongly ideological parties, patronage politics, and a rebellious political culture.



As a result of these features, Italy has had a weaker sense than do other Western countries of a national identity - of citizenship as a civic community that commands a sense of loyalty, solidarity, and belonging superior to all other identities. Because of this "genetic code," and because of the timing and sequence of industrialization and modernization that took place after the Second World War, Italian society manifested certain differences from other Western countries; actually, many of the processes outlined above were common to other modernizing countries, especially in the West; others were stronger or more rapid in Italy than elsewhere; and still others were specific to Italy. The most significant Italian peculiarities are: - persistent economic and social cleavages between different areas of the country, from the traditional dualism between north and south to the more recent societal models of the "three Italics" - the traditionally industrial regions of the northwest, the traditionally backward regions of the south, and the more recently developed eastern and Adriatic regions; - a gap between economic growth and social transformation, on the one hand, and the modernization of legal institutions, public administration, and political culture, on the other; - the resilience and flexibility of solidarity structures, primarily the family, but also the local community and voluntary associations; - the strength of political parties, with their tendency to "colonize" civil society and "occupy" state institutions, which in recent years, along with diffuse political corruption, caused a serious crisis of political legitimacy; - the weakness of governments, the political fragmentation of Parliament, the state's insulation from social changes in the midst of a highly politicized society, and the inefficiency of the civil service; - the multifaceted role of the Catholic church in influencing cultural attitudes and setting norms of conduct, contributing to social integration through a web of church-related voluntary and charity organizations, and influencing political life (religion, along with anti-Communist ideology, provided the basic ground for the legitimacy of the Christian Democratic Party, and for its until recently uninterrupted government role and leadership in Italian politics); - the diffusion of illegal behaviour and the serious challenge of organized crime, which proved able to exploit opportunities stemming from economic growth and patronage politics (the various organized-crime "families" developed ties with segments of the party system that rely on patronage to organize consensus and on political corruption to obtain extra resources for use in the competition for political power).



Because of these specificities, scholars speak of an Italian "anomaly." I prefer to speak of the specifically Italian version of the cycle of growth and modernization. At first glance, Italy's transition to a modern, industrial society looks similar to those in other countries. Like other latecomers, Italy's postwar industrialization took place over a short time (less than two decades) and was accompanied by simultaneous social and cultural changes (urbanization, mass consumption, secularization). It followed, to a certain point, a sequence familiar in the social transformation of modern societies, which we may call the cycle of growth and modernization, a process of economic growth with related social changes giving rise to contradictions, mass movements, and social conflicts, which, in their turn, stimulate a variety of institutional responses, such as changes in political institutions and culture and in government policies (land reforms, welfare policies, nonviolent modes of conflict resolution). Institutional responses seldom corresponded to the manifest goals of the collective movements; but, insofar as they changed the general context and specific situation in which collective action develops, they brought about a new configuration of social relations, changes in social conflicts, and new power relations among political actors - in short, a new social order. In contemporary Italy, this sequence occurred clearly but only partially. Rapid and intensive economic growth and basic social and cultural transformations (mass migrations and a rural exodus, the growth of metropolitan areas, rising literacy, secularization, mass consumption, growing individualism, etc.) took place in the decades after the Second World War. The "new" contradictions and conflicts related to industrial development, especially the conflictual relations between the business class and organized labour, mixed with "old" problems, such as the "southern question" and regional inequalities. Attempts to modernize state institutions and political culture have taken place at various stages of the process from the early 1960s to the present. On the whole, however, modernization was uneven and incomplete. Let us consider the cycle of growth and modernization in more detail. Italian economic growth in the 1950s and 1960s was rapid, intense, and uneven. It was stimulated by a set of complementary factors: on the supply side, an explosion of entrepreneurial energies - held in check during the fascist "protectionist" period - an abundant, hard-working, technically skilled labour force earning lower wages than those of foreign competitors, and subsequent waves of technological innovation and organizational rationalization; on the demand side, expanding exports of competitive Italian goods in a reconstructed international market and greater domestic demand due to rising wages and growing mass consumption. Economic growth was



supported, at first, by postwar reconstruction, us financial aid, government recovery policies, and growth of the domestic market for houses, infrastructure, and basic consumer goods, and later by the long postwar expansion of the international economy, the high competitiveness of Italian exports, and the growing integration of the Italian economy into the Western European market - symbolized by the signing of the Treaty of Rome of the European Communities in 1958. Italy's gross domestic product grew at the average rate of 5.5% between 1951 and 1958; in the "boom years" between 1958 and 1963, at the average rate of 6.3% a year; and after the short 1964 recession, again at an average rate of more than 6% until the oil crisis. Over this period, inflation rates remained low, and in 1961 the Italian lira won the Economist prize for the most stable currency. A growing domestic market for mass industrial products was formed; imports and exports as a proportion of the GDP exceeded 15%. Fixed capital investment was about 25%, growing at an average rate of 14% a year. The average annual increase in electricity consumption during the 1960s was 8.4%. Unemployment was down to the more normal and natural level of 3% in 1962. Italy's industrial structure consisted of a few large oligopolistic firms, both private and state-owned, in energy, steel, chemicals, automobiles, electronics (which favoured high rates of accumulation), and a multitude of small firms, some dependent on the large ones for their orders, but many others playing an increasingly independent and aggressive competitive role on both domestic and foreign markets. Macro-social and cultural trends went hand in hand with economic growth and industrialization. Basic changes in class structure occurred: a decline in the working population - due mainly to a sharp decrease in working families in agriculture, a sharp increase in the number of industrial blue-collar workers, arid significant growth of the middle classes, both employed and self-employed, working in the private and public sectors - and an equally significant expansion of the bourgeoisie (entrepreneurs in various economic sectors and top-level professionals). The most dramatic changes were those related to mass migrations. In a true social revolution, millions of families migrated from the countryside and small towns to large cities, first from the northeastern to the northwestern regions, then from the south to the north and to Rome. From 1959 to 1962, annual population shifts due to internal migrations led to a positive balance of 180,000 for the northwest and 32,000 for the central region (mostly Rome) and to a negative balance of 122,000 for the south, 35,000 for the northeast, and 54,000 for Sicily and Sardinia. Most migrants were peasants and small-holding farmers leaving the countryside, who had to face the new challenges of industrial work and the hardships and cultural shocks of metropolitan society. In



spite of the social and psychological costs, the change in the lives of millions of poor Italians over a few decades was astonishing. For the first time, most rural dwellers became part of the national society and acquired social citizenship through access to basic goods and services, in spite of existing and newly formed inequalities. At the end of the Second World War, Italy and France had the highest proportion of rural population among all Western countries. Forty years later, Italy had become a heavily urbanized nation, in which agriculture employed about 2 million people (8% of the working population) and was responsible for only 4% of national production. This dramatic exodus from the countryside was also largely responsible for the disappearance of the peasants. For centuries, Italian peasants had lived difficult lives; due to the existence of latifundia (large estates) with absentee ownership (in the southern regions), overpopulation, and the lack of land reforms (only in the postwar years was a partial agrarian reform approved by the Italian parliament). Today, the picture has completely changed. Most small-holding farmers have values, life styles, and consumption patterns that are not significantly different from those of city dwellers. The peasant world and its distinctive culture of traditionalism, religion, savings, and authority of the paterfamilias have completely disappeared. The outcome of massive migrations and the rural exodus was the growth of large metropolitan areas around Milan, Turin, Rome, and Naples and the emergence of serious problems involving housing, social services, transportation, and quality of life. For centuries, Italy had been to a large extent an urban society, in the sense of a dense web of towns with different features and different roles in their respective regions. Roughly speaking, in the south larger cities were inhabited by absentee landowners, a petty bourgeoisie at their service, and a lumpen proletariat engaged in the daily struggle for survival; towns were often only a kind of dormitory for peasants forced to walk many miles every day either to work as wage labourers or to work their small fields. In the northern and central regions, cities and towns were much more autonomous productive and cultural centres. After the Second World War, Italy became much more urbanized. The population grew dramatically in number, social diversity, and cultural heterogeneity. Metropolitan areas formed around major cities; for example, the population within the administrative borders of Milan rose to about 1.6 million, but the population of the metropolitan area rose to 4.5 million, and currently millions of nonresidents enter Milan every day to work and make purchases. A unified national culture was formed through rising literacy and the spread of television. But what was peculiar to Italy with respect to other countries like



England and France, which modernized before Italy, was that the process of urbanization went together with a deep-seated secularization of mass culture (Graziano and Tarrow, 1979). The contradictions and tensions of rapid and intensive industrial growth and social change stirred a wave of social conflicts and mass protest, first in the boom years, and then in the late 1960s and early 1970s (from the 1962 mass strikes in Turin over the metalworkers' contract renewal to the "hot autumn" of 1969). Labour protest arose due to a variety of factors: first, workers' bargaining power increased, because there was almost full employment in major industrial areas of the northwest - which, in the upswing phase of the economic cycle, made firms more vulnerable to the threat of strikes. Second, many "old industrial" workers felt alienated in the Taylorist-Fordist work organization of mass production featuring fragmented job tasks and speeded-up work; and many "new" immigrant workers who had to adapt to entirely different working and living conditions in an urban industrial environment - felt displaced and frustrated. Third, economic growth stirred rising expectations for more consumer goods and a quest for better living standards among most people. Political response to the collective movement of industrial workers was a mixed one: in the short term, union demands for shorter working hours and wage increases were met, contributing to a split in the business class between "modern oligopolies" such as Fiat and Pirelli, on the one side, and "old oligopolies," such as the electric companies, which controlled the largest business interest association (Confindustria) and were followed by most small firms, on the other. Then, the Bank of Italy adopted a recessive monetary policy in order to decrease inflation and reduce the unions' strength. The first centre-left governments proposed an ambitious program of reforms, which was only partially implemented. The most important reforms were nationalization of the electric companies; educational reform, which mandated a lengthening of the period of compulsory schooling and removal of some class barriers to educational attainment; and land reform, with the double aim of preserving Italy's natural and historical landscape and granting to the state - through an ad hoc tax some of the surplus value of the land stemming from urban expansion. Along with the anti-inflation policy, these reforms, although strongly opposed by conservative groups and gradually watered down, were temporarily successful in managing conflict and paving the way for a quieter period throughout the 1960s. In fact, however, they only postponed the emergence of sharp conflicts. A few years later, mass protest broke out again in a different and more favourable climate for worker mobilization. The scope of social transformations and



rising expectations of the new urban industrial masses - among whom were thousands of immigrants facing the hardships of mass production and the deprivation of inadequate housing and social services - continued to foster structural contradictions and extensive social conflict, which reached their apex in the late 1960s and early 1970s. All of the factors that help to explain the wave of worker protest in the boom years of the early 1960s - strengthened bargaining power by workers in the labour market in an upswing phase of the business cycle, reaction against the alienating work organization of mass industrial production, the frustration and cultural shock of young immigrant workers, rising expectations for a better standard of living were still present in 1968. Added to them was the particular cultural climate of that year: the "wave effect" of collective protest breaking out in many Western countries, and, more important, the cultural revolution in values and behaviour, the decline of deference, and the spread of secularized attitudes, which made traditional authorities less effective in maintaining deference at the very time when labour conflicts were most acute and anxiety due to the social costs of urbanization was at its peak. At this point, during the most intense conflict, the third step in the cycle of growth and modernization - the institutional response to collective protest by governments and political elites - proved to be weaker than in other modernizing countries. Changes in labour relations - with the 1969 passage of the "workers' statute" - took place. Significant changes in family law and more limited reforms to industrial policy, the school system, and the national health system were introduced in the 1970s. But modernizing forces were weak, caught between the guardians of the status quo and the radical left. Moreover, government strategies were generally short-sighted and paralyzed by contrasting interests and ideologies in the governing coalition. The old weakness of Italian coalition governments, with the prime minister lacking authority both over his cabinet members - who belonged either to different parties or to different factions of his own party - and over the state bureaucracies became even more acute. Aside from some scattered, though significant, reforms, the major institutional response, as I will argue later, was a defensive, politically distorted use of patronage welfare for consensus purposes by government parties - that is, the distribution of welfare benefits such as invalidity pensions not in response to real needs, but to obtain support by political clients. In the political sphere, government ineffectiveness opened the way to illegal forms of political action: at first, the terrorism of corrupt and renegade sectors of the secret services in alliance with the extreme right, and, later, the terrorism of the extreme left. The Mafia and Camorra also



grew dramatically as a consequence of state weakness and patronage politics, and in some cases mixed with terrorist groups in the so-called strategy of tension, aimed at destabilizing democratic institutions. The most significant innovations stirred by growth-stimulated tensions and the related collective actions were provided, as we shall see below, by major actors in the civil society - such as firms, families, associations, and social movements which developed their own strategies for coping with change. THE THEORY OF U N A C C O M P L I S H E D MODERNIZATION

This state of affairs brought the most recent and best-known interpretations of recent Italian history (see Ginsborg, 1989; Graziano and Tarrow, 1979; Lanaro, 1992; Lepre, 1993; Salvadori, 1994; Scoppola, 1991) to portray the Italian case a one of blocked or unaccomplished modernization (or, more bluntly, of failed mod ernization) and to complain that the impressive and rapid growth of the economy and civil society was not accompanied by adequate institutional changes and gov ernment reforms. For example, Tarrow stresses the impact that the lack of a bourgeois revolution had on Italian modernization and remarks that in postwar Italy modernization in education, culture, legislation, and public administration did not keep up with the pace of economic development (Graziano and Tarrow, 1979: 14). Lanaro (1992: 452; my translation) speaks of "modernization left to itself" an "lack of government resulting in a wild self-government of old and vested interest groups" and points out that "nongovernment is the real problem of Italy, the incapacity of the political class to solve even the simplest problem." Ginsborg (1989: 464; my translation) notes the "failure of reforms to check the excesses of unplanned development" and the fact that "public institutions were never modernized." Scoppola (1991, ch. 7; my translation) defines Italian change as "development without steering." These interpretations overstress objective features of the Italian case. I am con vinced, as are these scholars, that Italy's remarkable economic growth and social transformation in recent decades were not accompanied by a parallel evolution in its political institutions and political culture. Empirical research on the malfunctioning of public services in some regions of the country, the inefficiency of large sectors of the state bureaucracy, the overproduction of laws, the low level of respect for the law by the population, and the weakness of citizenship values provide evidence for these interpretations. In addition, the political rupture in recent years, together with the judiciary's investigations of political corruption and the acceler-



ated rate of institutional reforms, can also be interpreted as a consequence of too wide a gap between the layer of socio-economic transformation and the layer of political-institutional innovation; the collision of these two layers, like that of tectonic plates causing a earthquake, produced a rupture. Yet the thesis of unaccomplished modernization is open to serious criticism. First, the word "unaccomplished" conveys the mistaken idea that modernization can be fully achieved once and for all, whereas any historical process is openended and never fully achieved. In other words, the risk exists to postulate an implicit model of modernization with fixed and a priori relations among economic growth and social development, on the one hand, and political, cultural, and institutional changes, on the other, and to evaluate the Italian experience only insofar as it conforms to this abstract model, neglecting the fact that there are many different paths to modernization. This attitude generally leads to consideration of the Italian case as anomalous, with an overestimation of the differences from and underestimation of the striking similarities with other Western countries and the general processes of convergence among them. It is therefore preferable to speak in terms of uneven or unequal modernization to stress the imbalances between different phenomena, societal sectors, and regions. Second, while some of those scholars view the "lack of government" that left the development process without direction as the product of the lack of guidance and inaction of modernizing elites, it can be seen - at least to some extent - more as the result of a conscious active strategy deployed by the conservative bloc (composed of business interests and the hierarchy of the Catholic church, which were politically represented by the Christian Democratic Party (DC) and had the backing of American foreign policy) and aimed at delaying and diluting change and opposing reformist policies. Finally, these interpretations tend to overemphasize the role of systemic forces of change over strategies of action; when they do consider strategies of action, they tend to overstress those of collective actors at the expense of those of individual actors. For example, whenever their interpretations criticize unplanned development, they tend to ignore the conscious, "planned" strategies of individual actors such as entrepreneurs, workers, consumers, and welfare recipients. I do not want to revisit the old controversy between structuralist and action-oriented perspectives; I simply point out that in my analysis the two approaches are seen as complementary rather than opposed. Societal factors - such as economic relations, cultural values and traditions, legal and social rules, political institutions - are seen as constraining factors for the bounded choices (choices with some degree of freedom) that individual and



collective actors make. On the one hand, structural conditions - such as the changes and contradictions of a development process - need actors to produce outcomes, and actors are able to shape and transform structures. On the other hand, rational action takes place within a normative order; actors are constrained by structures, and their freedom of choice is limited not only by the interplay between different strategies and by their previous choices, but also by existing economic and normative structures. According to this perspective and in order to avoid the pitfalls of some current interpretations of Italian modernization, our analysis will discuss three intertwined sets of questions. First, which factors are more responsible for the uneven modernization? Was it due more to lack of guidance of the growth process by modernizing elites (political, economic, and cultural) or to the outcome of a successful conservative project aiming at maintaining the power of privileged social groups and controlling the major parties? I argue that both factors were relevant, together with the chronic weakness of the Italian state - which made implementation of reform policies difficult to achieve - and the pervasive influence of a political culture of rebellion and trasformismo, which contributed to the defeat of reform-oriented political forces. Second, given the fact that Italy was a divided country at the end of the Second World War and subsequently underwent a thorough economic and social transformation, with weaker government responses and more intense conflicts than in other modernizing countries - in which similar processes of growth and waves of collective action took place - how were crises managed, and why did society not break apart and the political order not collapse (in spite of such pathological features as terrorism and widespread corruption)? My argument is that the market, the family, and political parties were the main organizing principles of Italian society and that religion and community also played a more limited role. Third, given that growth and modernization took place in contemporary Italy although amidst sharp contradictions and recurrent crises and in spite of conservative forces - what were the structural factors and social actors responsible for change? Can we discern a specific development model in Italy's social transformation of recent decades? I argue that civil society was more important than the state and that the strategies of individual actors often proved more effective than those of collective actors. Actually, I think that the Italian experience shows that the role of the state in modernization is less important than we usually think. The three sets of questions are clearly interrelated, since social integration and political consensus can be achieved through change and innovation and the same actors can be both agents of change and mechanisms of social integration.



Italy's uneven modernization (in other words, the imbalance between great socioeconomic change and slight political-institutional transformation) was the outcome of both domestic and external factors. International conservative forces certainly played a role - sometimes directly opposing change, more often indirectly favouring the status quo. Among them, by far the most prominent were conservative US governments, which were concerned about any significant political change in a country occupying a delicate "frontier" position in the Western bloc in the age of bipolarity; and conservative Vatican circles, which opposed Communist-led reform movements and were suspicious of cultural modernization that threatened traditional values and social relations. There were significant exceptions: both John Kennedy and Pope John xxin initially opposed the first centre-left governments, but then favoured them, even against the opinions of some of their advisors. Uneven modernization was, however, due mainly to domestic factors: the strength of conservative forces, the weakness of modernizing elites in the economy, the polity, and cultural institutions, and the inefficiency of the civil service. The main conservative actors were strong vested-interest groups - such as those related to landownership and the building trade, farmers, and shopkeepers - who backed conservative parties or factions in the government coalition. Most private firms and their employers' associations also opposed reforms in general. Actually, business was divided into four major components: traditional oligopolies - such as the electrical industry and the connected main employers' association - which opposed even very mild reforms; modern oligopolies, such as the auto industry and durable-consumer-goods industries - which favoured the growth of a large domestic market and were therefore willing to accept wage increases, together with modern industrial relations and some social reforms for an expanding working class and migrants from the countryside; state-controlled firms, organized in the huge public holding companies IRI and ENI, which were more open to innovation in work organization and labour relations and more willing to co-operate with governments' industrial strategies, but were also increasingly "colonized" by government parties; and the multitude of small, firstgeneration businesspeople - most of whom displayed vigour, talent, and remarkable entrepreneurial skills along with a narrow-minded political culture. The net result of the cleavages and differences among these different business sectors was either staunch opposition to reforms or passive tolerance of the mildest changes. A second, more important factor accounting for uneven modernization was the weakness of modernizing elites. Italian elites (even those ideologically reform-ori-



ented) have been strong and effective in pursuing their particularistic goals, defending their vested interests, and reproducing themselves, but they have often proved incapable of fulfilling a governing function and playing a hegemonic role in implementing national interest strategies. Let's briefly examine the roles of the political elites, the economic elites, and the intelligentsia. If one defines modernization in the Western sense as a culture favourable to development of a free-market economy and the consolidation of a representative democracy, one must note that modernizing forces have always had a hard time in Italian politics, not only because of the obvious resistance of vested interests, but also because of cultural opposition. The two dominant political subcultures were at least ambivalent toward modernization: significant sectors of the Catholic world were not anti-capitalist, but were against the values and social relations of an industrial society (they opposed individualism, mass consumption, and secularization); most communists were not anti-industrial but against the capitalist West and had anti-American feelings. There were reform-oriented politicians in the Catholic party (such as Vanoni in the 1950s and Fanfani in the 1960s), but they usually had to compromise with stronger conservative forces. There were other reformists in the Italian left, but they were hampered by many factors: the rivalry between socialists and communists and the traditional hang-ups of the Italian left: the rebellious character of major protest movements, which often put "nonnegotiable" demands and denied legitimacy to the existing political system of representative democracy, instead of competing within the accepted rules of the game; the changing strategy of the socialist party, which strongly demanded structural reforms when the centre-left government was created in the early 1960s (but was defeated by the joint opposition waged by conservatives and communist forces) and then progressively watered down its demands in favour of continuing participation in government; subordination of the communist party to Soviet ideology and foreign policy, its lack of internal democracy, and the gap between open (revolutionary) and covert (consociational) attitudes in its political behaviour. Generally, the Italian political elites were unable to foster a national civic culture or provide an image of the state that citizens could identify with. Democracy was consolidated, but individual interests usually prevailed over general interests, and sectorial identities, either ideological or local, prevailed over the national identity. As far as economic elites are concerned, I discuss above the cleavages among major components of the business class and the relative weakness of the modernizing components. Although entrepreneurial skills played a basic role in fostering economic growth and mass consumption, as I will discuss below, economic elites



often did not act as conscious actors in modernization. The Italian bourgeoisie proved less capable than their equivalents in other Western societies of playing the role of a hegemonic class - that is, to frame the defence of its interests within a wider project of national development (Martinelli, 1979). The Italian bourgeoisie grew in a market already dominated by other industrial powers and did not consolidate into a hegemonic class. After the industrial take-off of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Italian entrepreneurs relied heavily on an alliance with strong pre-industrial estates and demanded the protection of the state. The traditional model of business providing political and financial support to authoritarian governments in exchange for repression of workers' demands and protection from external competition (a model followed by the fascist state) was, however, no longer workable during the transition to a mature industrial society. It was at this time that the lack of a bourgeois revolution in Italy was deeply felt, as was the gap between staggering capitalist growth and a weak bourgeois class, which lacked self-confidence and the capacity to institutionalize liberal democratic values throughout the society. The rather myopic defence of vested interests by discrete sectors of the business elite had the net effect of weakening the general position of the bourgeoisie and creating the conditions for more intense conflict in the late 1960s and early 1970s - when labour strikes and protests by ideologically anti-capitalist students' and women's movements occurred daily. In recent decades, economic growth and mass consumption defeated anti-entrepreneurial attitudes. Twenty-five years after the "hot autumn," the values and practices of the business class are fully legitimized in Italian society. But Italian capitalism remains the preserve of a small number of family-controlled oligopolistic firms, co-ordinated by the major Italian merchant bank (Mediobanca), a shrinking state-controlled sector, and a galaxy of dynamic, regionally based small firms looking for a greater political role and different political representation. And economic elites do not enjoy the prestige or play the leading roles of their equivalents in other Western countries, because of their traditional cultural weakness and their ambivalent attitude toward politics - a mix of deference to and abhorrence of those in power. Policy decisions are generally seen only as constraints and burdens to be avoided, even by breaking the law, as shown by the recent judicial inquiries into major firms' involvement in political corruption. This involvement did not contribute to the prestige of the economic elite, but it also stirred a positive response - in the form of increased interest in business ethics and the civil responsibility of businesspeople against the dominant view that as long as entrepreneurs and managers make a profit, they have fulfilled their social responsibilities.



Finally, modernizing values and attitudes were upheld by only a minority of intellectuals. Several factors conspired against diffusion of a modern culture based on democracy and the market among intellectuals and in the educational system. The most important were, first, the above-mentioned strength of the dominant ideologies (Catholic and Marxist), which were either suspicious of or openly opposed to the values of a modern industrial society in the name of communism or anti-modernism. Second was the cleavage between the "two cultures" (humanistic and scientific) and the widespread neglect of empirical science and technological education among intellectuals. Third was the separation of schools and universities from the economy, which accounted for the abstract, obsolete nature of most school programmes and which, together with the neglect of empirical science, also accounted for the paucity of scientific research in Italian universities. Fourth was the lack (with only a few exceptions) of educational institutions explicitly dedicated to the formation of elites, similar to the French grandes ecoles or the British public schools. Last was the strongly ideological character of public debate, in which the lack of independence of many journalists also contributed to insufficient growth of a civic culture of citizenship rights and duties. Actually, the most serious shortcoming of Italian intellectuals and cultural institutions - above all the school system - remains the unaccomplished civic education of the Italian people. My argument concerning the weakness of modernizing elites should not convey the image of contemporary Italy as a static society. On the contrary, in recent decades a remarkable degree of social mobility has developed, involving even the top niches of society. In spite of the large number of successful first-generation entrepreneurs, however, the traditional industrial elite - with some losses and a few newcomers - has maintained its position and oligopolistic character, with the help of financial institutions such as Mediobanca. Alongside success in business, the second major avenue for social mobility into the elite has been politics, both for members of Parliament and for party-supported managers and professionals. These connected social groups have increasingly acquired the features of a nomenklatura, because of the lack of turnover in government. Also for these reasons, deliberate modernizing visions have been rare and not generalized among members of either the old or the new elites. The third and most important factor in Italy's uneven modernization was the chronic backwardness of the Italian civil service and the intricacies of the legal system, which delayed or made impossible the effective implementation of several reforms. The backwardness of the state went hand in hand with a limited legitimation of state authority not only among rebellious minorities, but also in large areas



of the Mezzogiorno, where "amoral familism" and criminal organizations such as the Mafia and the Camorra are competing with the state for people's loyalty. The Italian state is weak in the double sense of a weak legitimation among segments of the population and of a fragmented administration, with little communication among different branches and incoherent policies. The state bureaucracy was the sector in which continuity with the precedent authoritarian regime was strongest; in 1973 95% of top bureaucrats had been hired before 1943 (Putnam, 1993) and many of them had problems identifying with a democratic state and accepting the values and practices of a representative democracy. Generational turnover somewhat reduced authoritarian attitudes, but other features conspired against efficient and effective administration. The civil service is composed mainly of bureaucrats from southern areas with high unemployment rates, where a state job is the only opportunity available. Recruitment for top officers does not take place through specific schools and has often been influenced by party allegiance. Careers are made on the basis of seniority rather than merit; the civil service is divided into departments and there are limited opportunities for officers to move from one department to another (Cassese, 1992). The educational background of most bureaucrats was law school and the predominant attitude was the rigid application of norms and procedures with no concern for outcomes. The strict division of roles and competencies tends to fragment the decision-making process and delay decisions through frequent use of the veto. Bureaucratic culture is not very open to innovation in general, but conservative attitudes are particularly strong in the Italian bureaucracy. Indicators of the lack of efficiency and effectiveness of Italian bureaucracy are the number of laws that are not implemented and the residui passivi, or financial resources allocated for a given purpose that return to the state treasury because they are not spent in time. Typical examples of the latter are subsidies granted to the southern regions and the limited use of European Union credits for agricultural modernization and the development of underdeveloped areas. Lack of implementation of reform laws, however, is even a more serious problem. Even among reform-oriented governments - such as the centre-left governments of the 1960s, the "national solidarity" governments of the late 1970s, and the "emergency" governments of recent years (since 1992 Amato's government) policy implementation was difficult, not only because of conflicts among the various components of the government coalition, but mostly because of the limited efficiency and effectiveness of the state bureaucracy. Such inefficiency and ineffectiveness helps to explain - along with the existence of a strong communist party - why, in Italian democracy, leftist forces always had



a difficult time implementing their strategies of change. In fact, while the political right is more confident in relying on the spontaneous forces of market and society, requiring only limited government direction, the political left tends to think that society can be changed only deliberately and be moulded only by conscious and enlightened reform policies - which require an effective state apparatus. The less efficient the government, the more difficulty it has playing its role. This may help to explain why Italy tends to have governments with rightist policies and leftist rhetorics. The Italian experience also shows that the state is not a primum mobile of development and modernization. Social relations and cultural attitudes changed profoundly in Italy, in spite of the limited effectiveness of deliberate reform policies and low efficiency of state institutions. The limited efficiency and effectiveness of the state bureaucracy also contributed to partial failure of the two attempts to use either territorial or functional "meso-governments" as a way to overcome the crisis of governability - a general malaise of liberal democracies in the 1970s - as did other countries, such as Spain (Perez Diaz, 1993: 185). Both attempts were the creation of regions in the early 1970s and the neo-corporatist agreements between business, labour, and government in the formation of public policy in the early 1980s. According to the "overloaded government" theory, more and more demands are put on governments without any effective filtering by political actors; this, in turn, reduces governments' policy effectiveness - their capacity to solve basic problems and, therefore, their legitimacy. In this situation, two ways to increase the overall governability of a country are regional decentralization - which achieves an administrative division of labour between the centre and the periphery, brings some government decisions closer to ordinary citizens, and makes policy makers more responsible to taxpayers; and delegation of authority to trade unions and business interest associations in exchange for co-determination in economic and labour policies. Co-determination strategies and neo-corporatist pacts require a unified representation of major collective actors and a reliable and efficient state to guarantee the pacts. In Italy, there was neither a unified trade-union movement nor a unified business interests association; different unions were related to major political parties, some in government and some in opposition; employers' associations were divided between private and state-controlled firms, and between large and small firms. In fact, weak coalition governments were often the first to break the agreements by raising public employees' salaries well over the agreed wage level. It is therefore not surprising that neo-corporatist agreements could hardly take place in Italy - with the partial exception of the early 1980s and the Amato and



Dini governments of the 1990s. In 1983, the government reached an agreement with the three major trade unions and the major employers' association to modify the wage indexation system, reduce work hours, stop wage negotiations for 18 months, and provide incentives for firms; the agreement, signed by a weak preelectoral government with strong interest organizations, convinced both employers and unions to make concessions, with economic compensation granted to them by the government - which worsened the financial burden of an already strained state budget. A year later, the Craxi government signed an agreement that further reduced the wage indexation system, but over the opposition of the major communist-led trade union. The co-determination agreements of the 1990s were of a different nature: both the Amato government in 1992 - with its introduction of a ceiling to wage negotiations - and the Dini government in 1995 - with its partial reform of the pension system - have been able to persuade unions to moderate their demands in order to control inflation and reduce the budget deficit. Regional decentralization runs against a consolidated tradition in Italian state administration. In spite of Italy's "genetic code" of municipal and regional diversity, the political regimes that have succeeded each other from the birth of the Italian nation state to the present have always tried to impose centralist state structures. National unity came late (in 1861) and, in spite of the generous efforts and good intentions of the active minorities who fought in the Risorgimento, the outcome was in many ways disappointing. The centralist and authoritarian government model adopted under the Savoy monarchy was weak in terms of both legitimation and policy effectiveness, and it proved essentially unable to create a strong feeling of national identity among most people. Patriotism grew significantly during the First World War - especially in 1917, when the very independence of the country seemed at risk. But in the postwar years, the government's failure to keep its promise to distribute land to poor peasants who had fought in the war, the acute class conflicts between workers and industrialists and between peasants and landowners, and the violent confrontation between socialists and fascists destroyed whatever unity had grown from the war experience of many Italians. Fascism, which intensified the authoritarian and centralist character of the state in order to pursue its anti-democratic strategy, added mass mobilization and nationalistic rhetoric, but it built neither a state nor a durable sense of national identity. This regime was actually a great failure: it ended in a lost war, transformed Italy into a battleground of foreign armies, showed the shameful failure of an entire governing class, and left a country more divided than ever in a civil war. The political elites of the new democratic Italy - who fought against Nazism and fascism - wanted to wipe out all remnants of the fascist regime, state



centralization among them, but they were very worried about the country's deep territorial, economic, and ideological cleavages, and therefore refrained from building a truly decentralized state. The 1948 democratic constitution of the new Italian republic envisaged a regional decentralization of powers; this was implemented only in the early 1970s, and then in a rather limited way. The main reason for this - aside from the communist-party ideology of a strong central state - was the opposition of the major government party (DC), which controlled the state apparatus and had successfully made penetrated the central bureaucracy, and was therefore very reluctant to delegate real power to regional governments, which might be controlled by the main opposition party in key areas of the country. Once the decision was finally made, the creation of regional bureaucracies was seen by both government and opposition as a further opportunity to hand out jobs and benefits to supporters and clients. The result was a significant increase in size and costs of public administration, without any significant improvement in the quality of local government or satisfaction of the increasing demand for local identity by the people. Regional decentralization had worked better for a limited part of the country just after the Second World War, when the special status regions created in the major islands and border areas were in fact able to absorb and channel a considerable volume of social pressure and unrest. But as time passed, these regional autonomies became fertile ground for patronage politics, contributing to huge government deficits. Federalism has now become one of the most important political issues, and is apparently approved of by all major political forces (although each has a rather different conception of it). But, for the moment, the Italian state remains both weak and centralized, showing the negative aspects of centralization - such as disregard for regional autonomies and local identities and fiscal unfairness - but not the positive ones - such as decision-making effectiveness, bureaucratic competence, and esprit du corps. Some reforms leading to a more decentralized fiscal policy have recently been introduced, but there remain many examples of continuing state centralization of functions at the expense of territorial autonomies. ORGANIZING PRINCIPLES OF ITALIAN SOCIETY: SOCIAL INTEGRATION AND CRISIS MANAGEMENT

If it is true that the state in Italy, although large and pervasive, is weak in the sense of both poor performance and low effectiveness of public policies, and that modernizing elites are weak and lacking hegemonic capacities, two other related questions must be answered: first, how was social integration guaranteed in a context of sharp social cleavages and rapid and tumultuous change; and which were the major actors in the profound transformation that took place.



In the half-century between the Second World War and the present, Italian society had to meet two serious challenges: first, the traumatic experiences of the Second World War, the civil war, and the political transition from fascism to democracy; second, extraordinary economic growth and social transformation, with sharp contradictions, a large aggregate amount of conflict, and recurrent crises. Any study of the transformation of a particular society must come to terms with the fundamental sociological question of social order (i.e., Simmers question, "How is society possible?"). What are the basic mechanisms that allow for integration of individuals into a society and guarantee persistence through change, given the fact that members of a society, on the one hand, are "forced" to co-operate for common objectives and, on the other, are competing with each other for scarce resources and desirable goods? What are the basic modes of social regulation that co-ordinate social activities and social relations, manage conflicts, and distribute resources and rewards? In light of the three basic forms of social regulation - exchange, authority, and solidarity - I argue that regulation of Italian society took place through a mix of these forms' related institutional devices: market forces, political organizations (mostly political parties), and community institutions (primarily the family; to a lesser extent, the church). The "patriotism of the constitution" - the solidarity among the social and political actors who built the new democratic state - played a more limited role. But both the religious factor and the constitutional factor exerted their influence largely, though not entirely, through the political parties. In fact, Catholicism was behind one of the two hegemonic political subcultures, while loyalty to the constitutional pact was based on an alliance of anti-fascist parties, which co-operated in their fight against Nazi occupation troops and their fascist allies. The relative importance of these principles and institutions changed through time and in relation to the two different sets of challenges that Italian society had to face. As the role of the market grew more important and political parties consolidated their penetration of the state, the role of traditional institutions - the extended family, the local community, and the parish - diminished. However, these institutions showed an aptitude to adapt to change and to be themselves actors of change. THE CLEAVAGES OF ITALIAN POSTWAR SOCIETY AND THE CHALLENGE OF NATIONAL UNITY AND DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION

At the end of the war, and 85 years after its birth as a unified nation-state, Italy was a deeply divided country because of its heterogeneous "genetic code" - which made nation-building difficult - and the legacy of a civil war. Moreover, the failure



of political elites to integrate the masses through a democratic state and of economic elites to integrate workers through a developed market economy contributed to sharp economic inequalities, profound social cleavages, and a polarized political culture. First of all, there was the century-long fragmentation into a multitude of regions and towns: at the birth of the Italian nation-state, less than a century earlier, Italy was divided into five major political entities and a few other smaller states. Along with this fragmentation was the traditional cultural diversity of the "thousands of steeples." Taking the spoken language as a major indicator of this diversity, it is worth recalling that until the Second World War, Italian was mainly a written language for educated elites and until the 1960s the majority of the population spoke other "minor languages" or dialects. Even today, there are 13 "minor languages" and 12 dialects; in spite of the homogenizing impact of compulsory education and television, 14% of the population speak only one minor language or dialect, while 60% know one. Fragmentation and cultural diversity have historically been both a strength and a weakness for the country: they were a major source of municipal pride and identity and a rich breeding ground for great art and craftsmanship, but they also fostered widespread rivalries and weakened the country, thus facilitating foreign domination of a large part of it. Second, there were political and ideological cleavages, the most important of which was the division between the majority, who either had not supported the fascist regime or rejected it when it became clear that it was responsible for the national tragedy - which included the significant minority of about 100,000 partisans who fought in the Resistance movement - and the minority of more or less disguised fascists. In addition, the political attitudes of the anti-fascist majority itself were divided among Catholic and non-Catholic, liberal and Marxist, conservative and progressive, socialist and communist. As well, there was a cleavage between the monarchists and the republicans, who blamed the king for his responsibilities in accepting Mussolini's dictatorship and agreeing to the war. Finally, there were economic and social dualisms between north and south and between cities and the countryside; as recently as 1954, according to the parliamentary inquiry on poverty, 85% of poor families lived in southern regions, and per capita income was 3.5 times higher in Piedmont than in Calabria. Italian society was also sharply stratified: there were great differences in income levels, living conditions, cultural values, life styles, and consumption patterns between bourgeois and blue-collar workers, peasants and clerks, artisans and state employees. The result of all these cleavages was a deeply divided nation and a population with a weak national identity. The idea of "nation" itself had been distorted by the



fascist regime. Patriotic nationalism had been transformed into Mussolini's aggressive nationalism; a large gap existed between the official rhetorics of re-creating the triumphs of imperial Rome and the reality of an irresponsible ruling elite that shamefully ended its reign in the dramatic summer of 1943, when the entire state organization collapsed. The monarchy was also a discredited institution, since it had favoured the authoritarian regime and proved unable to lead the country in troubled times, thus losing the opportunity to restore its prestige. The resistance movement in the north - where Nazi occupation had been longer and the fight against fascism harsher - and the national-unity governments in the regions controlled by British and American troops helped to foster mutual trust and respect among the newborn (or reborn) democratic political parties and to legitimize them as the major emerging social actors, which - along with traditional institutions such as the extended family, the church, and the local community combined to hold the country together. The situation at the end of the war was, however, so dire that one may well wonder why the country did not break up, either along political-ideological lines (through a continuation of the civil war), or along regional lines (through the growth of independentist movements such as Sicilian separatism). To answer this question, one must consider the combined effect of several factors. First, the division of the world among the three winning powers at Yalta put Italy within the Western sphere of influence, set clear boundaries to the range of available political options, and encouraged political realism among the Italian leftist parties, which did not want to engage in an armed struggle and repeat the tragic experience of the Greek civil war. Second, there was the legacy of the resistance movement, which became a key factor in breaking away from the authoritarian past and in laying the foundations of the new Italy. Building on the strong ties and feelings of solidarity developed in the common struggle, anti-fascist parties of various ideological leanings showed a remarkable spirit of co-operation in drafting the new constitution. The outcome of the 18 months of work of the Constituent Assembly elected in June 1946 was a reasonable compromise among the three major political subcultures, Catholic, Marxist, and liberal: the values and institutions of free enterprise were affirmed, along with solidarity and equality of opportunity; confirmation of the privileged status of the Catholic church went hand in hand with recognition of the institutions of the workers' movement. All basic rights and civil liberties either limited or completely denied by the fascist regime were solemnly affirmed and guaranteed. As far as the constitutional fabric was concerned, the constitution was too weighted in favour of guarantees and controls for the opposition at the expense of



government effectiveness, both because the fascist experience led to a stress on constitutional rights and democratic controls and because, given the uncertain outcome of future elections, each major party was concerned with guaranteeing and emphasizing the role of the opposition. In spite of this imbalance and although some vital parts were implemented slowly - such as that regarding regional governments - the constitution was an important achievement, contributing to a smooth transition to democracy and fostering national unity through "patriotism of the constitution." Third, there was the role played by traditional institutions, primarily the family and the church. The family and the community parish were core institutions in a country where most people still lived in the countryside and small towns. Their influence increased during the war years, when, in times of hardship and sorrow, after state authority collapsed and anomic relations spread, they appeared to many to be the only safe havens. Church and family were also two key contributors to the political success of the Christian-democratic party. Religious values were deeply felt among peasants, the middle classes, and women - the social groups in which approval of the Christian Democrats was highest. It was on behalf of family and religion that this party's strategy of transcending class conflicts in the name of a common religious identity (interclassismo) was constructed. But the importance of these institutions went much further than their impact on Italian politics. The family was the most important locus of solidarity and mutual assistance and, as I will argue below, proved particularly resilient given the social challenges of modernization and actually served more as a factor of change than of conservatism. The Catholic church was a complex institution playing multiple roles. In Italy, "church" meant different things: the very extended network of parishes and the Vatican bureaucracy, the powerful religious orders and the web of Catholic associations active in daily life, the moral values and codes of social behaviour stemming from religious teaching and individuals' experiences in the community of believers. After the compromise reached between church and state under Mussolini's concordat in 1929 (the Patti lateranensi), according to which Catholic institutions were recognized by fascism (and acted to some extent as competitive socializing institutions), the Catholic religion became a compulsory subject in the schools, and fascism gained more approval among the Catholic masses. With the post-Second World War democratic atmosphere and the 1948 Constitution - which confirmed the 1929 concordat - the Catholic church was much freer to establish a powerful network of para-Catholic organizations in an attempt to increase its influence in various sectors of society. Contrary to France, where para-



Catholic organizations were stronger in the 1920s and 1930s, in Italy they underwent maximum expansion and strength in the postwar years. Workers, peasants, and young people were the key targets of specific organizations under the parent organization Catholic Action. The church's influence, exerted by both parishes and para-Catholic organizations, went from socializing children in the oratori to recommending pious and moderate workers to employers, from normative control of sexual behaviour to censorship of "scandalous" films and books, from provision of welfare services through charity organizations to hospital assistance, from political influence in Catholic parties, unions, and interest organizations (CISL, ACLI, Coltivatori diretti, etc.) to the ideological fight against communist atheism. This pervasive influence, featuring both the "positive" elements of the tradition of Christian love and the "negative" elements of a state religion's normative control, extended to most Italians, even to many who voted for leftist parties, and was a major factor in social integration. The last important factor in social integration was the political parties. They were legitimized by their role in the struggle against fascism and found in the new democratic institutions fertile ground for vigorous growth. The three largest parties - the Christian democrats, the communists, and the socialists - proved very effective at organizing mass consensus through ideological indoctrination, the action of powerful party organizations, and the influence exerted by strong collective movements and their allied associations, such as the peasant movement, the workers' unions, the employers' associations, the small farmers' associations (Coltivatori diretti, Federterra), and the women's associations (such as the communist-linked UDI). Both the largest parties and the smaller centrist parties - the most important of which was the Partito d'Azione - represented major social groupings and expressed major political subcultures; they signed the constitutional pact of the new republic. Although they competed fiercely with each other, they institutionalized the new democratic values and practices and organized the consensus necessary for economic recovery and political stabilization. The reasons for the particular strength of political parties were both international and domestic. In the cold war climate and in a frontier country like Italy, an all-out battle between alternative ideologies and conflicting models of individuals and society was fought and parties proved to be the most effective instruments in this conflict. But there were also basic domestic factors: political parties were the protagonists of the new Italy and were able to fill the void left by the collapse of fascist



institutions and the failure of traditional elites. They were nourished by the newborn and burgeoning democracy. Even though an anti-party movement, Uomo qualunque (the ordinary man), founded in 1946, got some electoral support, mostly in the south (almost 7% in the June, 1946, national elections, but almost 50% in Bari in the local elections of November, 1946), the vast majority of Italians liked democratic politics, identified with prestigious leaders, and mobilized easily both for grand ideals and for bread-and-butter issues. The huge tasks of reconstructing the country and building the institutions of the new democracy gave many people a sense of common purpose. And a generation of capable and dedicated political leaders and militants helped to enhance the parties' prestige and form collective identities. After more than a decade of hard work, entrepreneurial ingenuity, fierce political disputes, violent political conflict, hardship, and sacrifice, both the political transition to democracy and the industrialization of the economy were finally well under way. THE CHALLENGE OF DEVELOPMENT AND MODERNIZATION

At the end of the 1950s, the first challenge had been met. Italy presented a mixed picture: the most serious postwar problems were definitely solved, but it was still far from being a developed country. Most Italians enjoyed moderate economic well-being and personal security and had hopes of further improvement. At the societal level, an Italian nation was well in the making, although the traditional fragmentation and division had not disappeared. If one compares this state of affairs with Italy's situation at the end of the war, the scope and quality of change were quite remarkable. Yet, social problems such as infant mortality, illiteracy, lack of basic social services and decent housing, and unemployment were still far from being solved, especially in the south and in rural areas. Hundreds of thousands of Italians had to look for work abroad, but even more were migrating from the countryside of the south and the northeast toward Rome and the large industrial cities of the northwest. The challenge of development and modernization fostered new tensions and conflicts, which were all the more acute because of the legacy of inefficiency of the Italian state and weakness of the national elites. The hopes for thorough social change and democratization of the state apparatuses held in the Resistance movement were not fulfilled. Yet, under the hegemony of the Christian democratic party, social normalization and political stabilization had succeeded and all basic preconditions for economic development were now present.



The basic organizing principles and integrating institutions of Italian society during the social normalization and political stabilization of the 1950s had been political parties, the family, and the church. With economic growth and modernization, another institutional actor, the market, with its logics of growing productivity, competitiveness, and mass consumption, gained a very important role. Traditional institutions either declined (the parish and the local community) or transformed themselves (the family). The church maintained a strong influence, though it was bowing to the challenges of secularization. Political parties extended their power and influence to the point that they controlled key institutions, such as banks, stateowned enterprises, health-care institutions, and state television networks. Trade unions and business associations also became more powerful actors, and their role can be better understood in connection with the strategy and organization of the major political parties. Other organized interest associations, voluntary associations of various kinds, and the mass media also played an increasingly significant role. Political parties dominated the public sphere, defining common goals, building collective loyalties, and distributing resources through patronage welfare. The family dominated the private sphere, playing a variety of functions as a kind of nucleus of social relations. The expanding market was the source of increasing economic well-being, and fostered the integration of individuals through mass consumption. Religious values and institutions and local communities continued to be relevant, but their role shrank in proportion to the rise of importance of economic growth, mass consumption, and secularization. I shall discuss in the next section - on actors of social change - the role of interest organizations, collective movements, the market, and the family. Here, I will focus on the church and political parties as basic factors of social integration (the distinction does not imply, of course, that market and family have not been also factors of social integration and that political parties and the church have not also been actors of change). The Catholic church continued to play an important role in Italian society far beyond the political arena, but secularization - which went together with growth and modernization - deeply changed the context of its action and limited to some extent its influence. The new challenges facing the church in an increasingly secularized society stirred up the traditional controversy between conservatives and innovators and, with Pope John xxm, stimulated the bold responses of the Second Vatican Council in religious doctrine and institutional arrangements. In recent decades, the number of religious vocations, attendance at church services, and private devotions declined steadily. However, secularization has not entailed the complete detachment of religiously inactive persons from their religious heritage. Family



religious tradition has been, and still is, a major component of personal identity. Religious marriages and funeral services are still more widespread in Italy than in other Catholic developed societies. And the church still claims, as in the past, to exert its moral authority over all citizens. Moreover, church-related voluntary associations - either strictly devotional, charity oriented, or educational - constitute a huge and complex network that contributes to social integration and collective identities. Actually, voluntary associations - both church related and lay - are another basic mechanism helping to bind Italian society together. According to a recent national study (Tomai, 1994), millions of Italians are members of voluntary associations of some kind and several hundred thousand are members of mutualhelp associations; their numbers are growing even in the midst of a secularized, utilitarian, and individualistic society. Let us now turn to political parties and their multifaceted role in Italian society, from the production of ideology to collective interest representation, from mass mobilization to the selection of political personnel, from the occupation of state institutions to patronage welfare. Our emphasis on political parties may convey the impression of an overpoliticized interpretation of Italian social change, but it is not. Political parties have been the core institution of postwar Italian society, and the strongest parties in Western democracies. It is precisely because of their disproportionate importance that their present political crisis, rooted in corruption, has become a more general crisis of political governability and social regulation. As I have argued above, political parties were the main organizing principle of Italian society in the period of economic reconstruction and political democratization ("the time of political society," as Famed termed it in 1973). They helped to integrate a sharply divided society and institutionalize democratic values and behavioural patterns, but they were also major actors in the process of modernization. They built a system of political and economic power and of cultural influence that lasted for three decades and, though sharply reduced, is still present today. The Italian party system has been defined as "polarized pluralism" (Sartori) and "an imperfect two-party system" (Galli), since it has been dominated by the Christian democrats (DC) as the main government party and the communists (PCI) as the main opposition party. The third largest, the socialist party (PSl) and the smaller centrist parties (PRI, PSDI, PLi) were allies of the two major formations, while the right-wing minority of the monarchists (PNM) and the neo-fascists (MSI) remained in opposition. The two major parties, the Christian democrats and the communists, were ideologically polarized. DC's ideology was a particular blend of Catholicism and mar-



ket economy, traditionalism and reform, continuity with the authoritarian past and sincere participation in the democratic process. These different components were often at odds with each other and gave rise to a certain degree of ambiguity, but the cold war climate and the imperative to maintain power were stronger than potential cleavages among the various "souls" of the party. The political success of DC was favoured by two strong allies: the Catholic church, with its powerful structure of parishes scattered throughout the territory and associations such as Azione cattolica (with more than 2.5 million members and 4,000 movie theatres in the mid-1950s), Catholic co-operatives (almost 2 million members in the 1950s), electoral committees (such as the Comitati civici) activated in the wake of national and local elections, and so on; and the United States, with its political and economic power and the popular appeal of the "American way of life" spread by Hollywood films and mas-circulation magazines. The Christian democrats were also able, as I have noted, to build on the family as the core institution of societal stability and of political consensus for a moderate party. Moreover, starting in the mid-1950s DC developed a huge party structure comprising a complex federation of party factions (correnti) headed by national leaders with strongholds in different areas of the country - and a strong network of supporting "collateral" organizations, the most important of which were the association of farmers created by Bonomi (Coltivatori diretti), which numbered 1.6 million affiliated families of small-holding farmers in the mid-1950s; the association of Christian workers (ACLl); and the Catholic trade union (CISL), which was formed when Catholic workers left the unified, communist-controlled, united labour organization. DC could also rely on a lively and pervasive Catholic subculture, which was, however, much stronger in the northern regions of Lombardy and Venetia than in the communist regions of Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany or in the south - another example of the profound cleavages in Italian society. The Christian democrats' bases of consensus were consequently rather different in regions - mostly in the north - where the Catholic ideology and associations were strong, and in regions mostly in the south - where public resources were used to build patronage relations and create material ties with voters, in the absence of strong ideological ties (government policies such as agrarian reform and newly created state agencies such as the Cassa del Mezzogiorno were aimed at this). The communist party also developed a strong ideological subculture and a powerful network of supporting organizations and had the backing of the other major power, the Soviet Union. However, the last factor proved to be more of a liability than an asset. In spite of the USSR's international prestige for its decisive role in



defeating Nazism, it was widely seen as a foe of democracy and involved an embarrassing subordination of the PCI to its foreign policy. The Italian communist party's ideology was a coherent, sometimes dogmatic, and sometimes original interpretation of Marxism-Leninism, elaborated mostly by Gramsci and Togliatti. The contradictions in the PCl's strategy and ideology were much greater than those of the Christian democrats': it was a communist party, ideologically subordinated to the USSR, and had to live with and adapt to the forms and rules of parliamentary democracy; it had to take into account the division of the world into two antagonistic camps, without losing sight of the revolution; it had to maintain the consensus of its core social base, blue-collar workers, while trying to build larger social coalitions. Hence its dilemma: to dilute the socialist content of its programme in order to gain consensus from the middle classes, or to stress it to meet workers' aspirations at the risk of becoming isolated and becoming only a workers' party. In Emilia-Romagna, the strategy of alliances worked well; at the national level, it failed. Moreover, although the PCI had powerful collateral organizations (labour unions, co-operatives, the Union of Italian Women, the youth federation, etc.) and an extended network of "people's houses," which were active centres of community life and political indoctrination, it was at a clear disadvantage vis-a-vis the Christian democrats, in the sense that since its ousting from government in 1947, it was much less able than was DC to use public resources to organize mass consensus. Finally, the defeat of the peasant movement, which had agitated for agrarian reform in the south, and the weakening of the workers' unions, due to the combined action of conservative governments and aggressive entrepreneurs, were major blows in the 1950s. In spite of these handicaps, the PCI capitalized on its position as the main oppo sition party in a country where many people had reasons to protest; its membership gradually grew after its defeat in the 1948 elections and played a decisive role in the consolidation of democratic values and practices and in the integration of the working class into a mature industrial society. As modernization continued, the two major parties consolidated their power and reduced their ideological differences. On the one hand, the Christian democratic party systematically increased its autonomy from both the church and big financial and industrial groups; it "colonized" the archipelago of government apparatuses and state agencies, controlling the traditional bureaucracy without reforming the state; it developed the system of state-owned firms initiated by the fascist regime (IRI, ENI) and created new public agencies, such as the special agency for development of the south (Cassa del Mezzogiorno). On the other hand, the



communist party continued to control the largest labour union - which became particularly strong in the factories of the northwest in the period of intense and rapid industrialization in the 1960s - and to attract and lead opposition and protest movements. Even when those movements started spontaneously and were critical of its moderate politics, as they were in the 1970s, the PCI profited at the polls fro the widespread left-wing climate. The distinction of roles between a government party controlling the state and an opposition party leading collective movements was, however, not clear-cut: the Christian democratic party was able to direct important social movements, such as those of independent farmers, artisans, shopkeepers, and the like, and the communist party was able to control institutions at the local government level, mostly in Emilia Romagna and in central Italy. In general, the major actors in political society, organizations and movements, were either controlled by or inserted into the strategies of either the government party or the main opposition party. As industrialization and modernization went on, the costs of political mediation increased. The main political parties slowly and constantly reduced their ideological differences during the 1970s and the 1980s and weakened their ideological appeal to the electorate. Moreover, government and opposition parties increasingly developed consociational relations. The centre-left coalition governments became weaker and more divided and developed a day-by-day style of government with no coherent strategic vision. They tried to compensate for a shrinking consensus with a patronage model of welfarism - the distribution of welfare benefits not in response to real needs, but in order to obtain support from political clients - and to gain support they increased the practice of discussing policy decisions with the main opposition party and granting it a considerable share of management positions in public institutions (banks and state-controlled firms and, later, a television network). Although shut out from national government - except during the shortlived "national solidarity government" of the late 1970s - the PCI participated i law-making in Parliament and increased its control of local governments, mostly in major cities. The socialist party (PSI), which in the early 1960s moved with the communists from opposition to an alliance with the Christian democrats in the national government, maintained its ties with the PCI in many local administrations. The PSi's strat egy swung between subordination to either the PCI or the DC and attempts to exploit its coalition power as the middle party between the two big ones and win a status more important than that assured by its electoral results. After the 1983 elections, the socialists succeeded in leading the government coalition and tried to implement a strategy of modernization which - though obtaining some success in



economic and labour policies and in foreign policy - did not succeed because of the combined opposition of the two largest parties and of the PSI'S own mistakes, above all its involvement in political corruption. Political parties have had both beneficial and detrimental effects on Italian society. They helped to create the conditions for economic growth and social and cultural modernization, but they did not prove equally capable of managing the tensions and contradictions stemming from those processes or directing the thorough transformation of the country that took place from the end of the 1950s onward. In addition, they were responsible, to different degrees and in different ways, for serious pathologies of the Italian political system - the most serious of which were widespread corruption and a staggering state deficit - that have exploded in recent years. Corruption was the result of a "blocked democracy," with insufficient "metabolism" and almost static roles for the government and opposition parties. This situation conflicted with the rate of change in the economy and the cultural realm. Corruption was to some extent a symptom of this tension, a kind of perverted response of some political actors to the demands of a fast-growing and -changing society. The huge public debt was the result of a "welfare state Italian style" and a major mechanism of tension management and consensus formation. As I argued above, patronage welfarism was a defensive, political use of welfare by government parties for consensus purposes, and it systematically distorted the public sector. Let us consider in more detail patronage welfarism in relation to another specific feature of Italian society, the "southern question." The growth of the welfare state and the ensuing fiscal crisis have been common features of Western societies in recent decades, both as a result of social pressures from below and as a mechanism of consensus formation and tension management from above. In Italy, however, more than elsewhere, welfare policies have taken the form of patronage welfarism, and have become, in the lack of basic reforms, a deliberate way of managing social tensions and conflicts for weak coalition governments and for elites lacking the hegemonic capability to integrate the masses. In so doing, welfare policies also contributed to the fragmentation and hierachization of social categories. The DC, which had always drawn support from different classes, increasingly became a catch-all party and - especially in the south - a patronage party, capable of gaining consensus not so much through implementation of coherent development policies as through distribution of particular resources and benefits to individuals, groups, and local communities. The other government-coalition parties followed the same path to different degrees, both in patronage politics and in corruption.



This strategy of individualistic mobilization (Graziano and Tarrow, 1979; Pizzorno, 1993) did not cost the public purse a great deal as long as it involved limited resources and was accompanied in the search for consensus by strong ideological mobilization (anti-communism, religion). But when it became mass patronage, both for tension management and for electoral reasons, it fostered a staggering deficit and decisively contributed to the crisis of the DC and its political regime. Moreover, mass patronage went hand in hand with the growth of a huge bureaucratic apparatus, run by government parties and serving a growing and increasingly heterogeneous mass of clients. As it was fragmented and inefficient, the state bureaucracy contributed to the formation of fragmented and incoherent public distributive polices. The case of the southern regions is enlightening in this respect. The "southern question" has, since the birth of the Italian nation-state, been a dramatic problem, marked by widespread poverty, mass migrations, and endemic crime. Neither governments prior to the First World War nor the fascist regime were able or willing to change the situation and reduce the gap between the Mezzogiorno and the rest of the country. The democratic governments of the last 50 years scored better: levels of income, living conditions, and cultural patterns of southern Italians were transformed, as were those of their fellow citizens. But the gap between north and south did not change significantly in relative terms - although there is now a much greater differentiation among different parts of the Mezzogiorno as well. The greatest failure of the Italian democratic state is that no self-sustaining process of productive growth has been generated in large areas of the Mezzogiorno. There has undoubtedly been an increase in living standards, but it has come mainly from two major sources, aside from emigrant workers' remittances: public jobs and public assistance, which fostered patronage relations and a "client" attitude toward the public authority on the part of the population, and the illegal economy of organized crime (the Mafia in Sicily, the Camorra in Naples, and the 'Ndrangheta in Calabria). Today, after decades of "unstable stability," Italian politics is undergoing profound changes. As a consequence of the collapse of communism and internal developments, the political equilibrium based on the complementary-conflictual relations between the two major parties, one always playing the government role and the other always playing the opposition role (along with extensive local government control and parliamentary co-operation in law drafting) is over. After the 1994 national elections, the former Christian democratic party had lost almost two thirds of the vote and was badly split among conflicting political factions; the other former government coalition parties, such as the PSI and the PRI,



have almost disappeared; the former communist party also lost votes and suffered a secession on its left wing when it changed name and political strategy. The political void was filled by new political formations: first, the Northern League, which bases its appeal on staunch opposition to the corruption of the old Rome-based political regime, and, later, Forza Italia, the party led by a successful mass-media entrepreneur, which - along with the former neo-fascists - captured most of the moderate and conservative votes. The Italian political system is searching for a new configuration, but the transition is difficult: large sectors of the political elites and strong interest groups related to them are resisting changes to the rules of the game and the system of power - which has provided them with so many benefits - while at the same time looking for compromises with the "new" political elite. In fact, some members o the new elite are not new at all, but "recycled" elements of the old ones, and many of the new political actors show a remarkable tendency to imitate them, assimilating their practices in the exercise of power and consensus formation. Political parties are weaker than in the past, have fewer resources, and score low in the "prestige" scales of public-opinion surveys. Their continuing role in a representative democracy is unquestionable, but they are painfully trying to change their strategies and organizations in order to maintain influence and counteract the appeal of plebiscitarian, "videocratic" democracy. THE ACTORS OF SOCIAL CHANGE

Even the staunchest supporters of the thesis of blocked modernization cannot deny the deep and thorough changes that have taken place in Italian society in recent decades. Our third question concerns specifically the main actors of this change. Given the fact that political institutions were able to avoid a systemic crisis and to maintain power, but not to guide the process of development (the thesis of uneven modernization), major actors of change and modernization should be looked for more in civil society than in the state, more in individual than in collective actors, more in the strategies of families and firms than in those of political parties and government agencies. This is not to deny the impact on change of political parties, collective movements, and state agencies, but to give them the proper weight in comparison with other significant actors. We have already examined the strategies of political actors in Italian society. The parties in power generally gave a fragmented response to emerging problems through patronage politics, the political use of welfare, and the distribution of benefits to the most vocal and aggressive interest groups. The weak and internally



divided coalition governments they formed conducted day-by-day management of most urgent questions, lacking a strategic vision, but guaranteeing the survival of the political regime and of the dominant social bloc. This situation became particularly evident in the mid-1970s, when the largest opposition party, the PCI, was th major electoral beneficiary of the mass protest of previous years (it reached its absolute maximum in votes, around 35%, in the local elections of 1975 and the general elections of 1976) but did not succeed in replacing the existing government coalition with an alternative one; while an "opposition culture" prevailed among many of its leaders, cadres, and the rank and file, it took part in the division of posts at the head of state banks and firms and of the national television network (the practice of lottizzazione). The cycle of political representation (Pizzorno, 1993) - a model complementary to the cycle of growth and modernization - was very limited. According to this model, new collective identities and interests emerge periodically from social transformations; most of them find, to varying degrees, political representation in collective movements, associations, and parties, in the double sense that new political actors are formed and that old ones try to incorporate the new demands. The "organizational imperatives" of political action - such as the bureaucratization of representative structures, the increasing gap between the leaders and the led, changes in strategies and tactics, and compromises entailed by participation in parliamentary procedures and government policies - progressively bring collective enthusiasm to an end and foster apathy among both militant followers and general supporters. After a while, the conditions for a new phase of the cycle are created, with the emergence of new demands and the formation of new collective identities. In Italy, in the crucial period from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, political action was particularly intense and turbulent, but the cycle of political representation was incomplete. New collective movements - of workers, students, women, ecologists - gave voice to new demands, and traditional parties were, to some extent, able to incorporate new demands. But both the system of "blocked democracy' which did not allow for a shifting of roles between government and opposition and the limited effectiveness of public policies altered the sequence and brought about more violent and long-lasting protest, on the one hand, and less strategic change, on the other. New leftist parties were, in fact, an electoral failure. The communist party entered the government in the late 1970s, but only because of the national emergency created by the escalation of political terrorism, for a limited period, and with limited policy innovations, mainly in health and regional policies. The Italian political system was more a blocked democracy than ever before. It continued to lack basic features of a democratic polity, such as the changing roles



of parties in government and in opposition and the clear distinction between the legislative and executive branches of government. The outcomes were a consolidation of consociative practices in Parliament and in party-controlled institutions such as banks and public television; the distortion of public space through patronage politics; the trasformismo and widespread corruption of the political elites, and even obscure attempts to overthrow democratic institutions made by extremist groups and corrupt secret services. This is not to say that the protagonists of this period of intense collective action, the collective movements, did not have an impact; they contributed to important changes in values, attitudes, and life styles, but they were unable to produce long-lasting changes in the political system and in government policies. The workers' movement of the 1969 "hot autumn," the 1968 students' movement, and the women's liberation and ecological movements, contributed significantly to wide-ranging cultural changes in Italian society in labour relations, parent-child relations, women's rights, sexual morals, and environmental protection. The anti-authoritarianism of the workers' and students' movements introduced changes both in the work place and in schools, while the anti-sexism of the feminist movement and the new environmental sensibility fostered by the ecological movement became long-lasting changes in Italian culture. Moreover, these movements influenced the approval of modernizing reforms, such as the divorce, abortion, and family laws. But, on the whole their political impact was less significant than their cultural impact, and less than might have been expected from the scope and scale of their mass mobilization. Let us consider in greater detail the case of the labour movement. After the 1969 "hot autumn," trade unions were attacked by the most radical militant workers, but they were soon able to gain leadership of the protest movement, by making more radical demands and adopting more militant tactics, and could harness and channel the workers' protest. Unions enjoyed a rapid and extraordinary increase in power and influence in the early 1970s, playing a role usually performed by political parties. But their strategy reached limits when it threatened firms' investments and challenged the parties' monopoly on political representation. In fact, in a capitalist economy that is deeply integrated into the world market, union power cannot pass a critical level, above which it blocks investments - the very premise of its demands for wage increases. When this level is reached, unless unions become part of a political coalition that changes the political regime, they have to limit their veto power and transform it into some policy of co-determination at the firm level and into greater influence in government policy-making. In Italy, in spite of the revolutionary rhetoric of small political groups, there were by no means the conditions for a revolutionary change, and unions were reform oriented. They were not



willing to play a role similar to that of German trade unions in the decision-making process at the firm level (Mitbestimmung). What they tried to do was influence government policies in areas such as employment, welfare, industrial policy, and so on. This strategy brought consistent gains to labour in the 1970s. In the meantime, increasing internationalization and globalization generalized the rules of the competitive game at the world level, setting constraints on union strategies, and strengthened Italian business through connections with foreign firms. Technological and organizational innovation and rationalization weakened the union base in large firms through labour-saving investments, productive decentralization, increased flexibility, and some deregulation of labour market. Profit margins increased and the influence of business values and management criteria increasingly expanded in Italian society. In this situation, the other major actor in industrial relations, employers' associations, slowly regained influence and control. Being more concerned with the interests of large firms - where unions were strong - than with those of the majority of small firms, which were asking for "more market" and less state, they followed a defensive strategy through the 1970s, letting relations of force between employers and workers change slowly at the firm and plant level, through investment decisions and managerial strategies. In the 1980s, they played an increasing aggressive role, asking for more flexibility in labour relations and greater moderation in union demands for wage increases (Martinelli, 1994). On the whole, it seems clear that the main social changes took place far from the centre of the political stage, partly as a response to collective movements, partly following the inherent dynamics of economic growth and social modernization. If we confine our analysis to the role played by government and opposition, unions and business associations, dominant elites and collective protest movements, we risk missing essential processes of change. We have then to turn to the strategies of nonpolitical actors, both collective and individual - such as families, firms, voluntary associations, consumers, welfare recipients, and young women specifically, to the role of the market, entrepreneurial innovation and mass consumption - with the related culture of individualism - the permanent, although changing, centrality of the family - with its strategies of multi-source income and mutual support - and the different role of women. THE MARKET

The market is a culturally undemanding mechanism, in the sense that it does not require major changes in one's own identity, but only that one play according to the



rules of its game. It favours great transformations in social relations (geographical, occupational, and social mobility), and it fosters social conflict, but it also helps to integrate and transform society and culture, fostering expectations of continuous social upgrading, and developing common life styles and consumer attitudes. Continuous individualistic mobilization through mass consumption can bring more persistent changes than can temporary waves of collective mobilization. In postwar Italy, market growth was a "spontaneous" outcome rather than the result of deliberate economic policies. The largest political parties were, with different arguments, ideologically suspicious both of the free market and mass consumption and of the cultural changes they entail. Well-known blueprints for recovery and development were proposed by the most important business interest association (Confmdustria), by the largest labour union (CGIL) - which was Marxist oriented - and by the centre-left parties and the reformist wing of the Christian democratic party. The model supported by Confmdustria's president, Angelo Costa - a prominent member of a strict Catholic family of shipowners from Genoa - was a blend of confidence in the free market and faith in traditional values and social relations. Costa emphasized savings and investment over consumption, the work ethic over leisure, complementarity rather than opposition between peasant culture and industrial culture, and the need to guarantee the continuation of what Schumpeter defined as the "protective strata of capitalism," such as artisans, small shopkeepers, and independent peasants. In his deeds and writings, Costa maintained that there was a need for a smooth transition to industrial society, with an attempt to preserve the core values and attitudes of a pre-industrial society according to an ideology of "enlightened paternalism." CGlL's Piano del lavoro, presented in 1949, was an ambitious plan of public spending to be financed through strongly progressive taxation and aimed at construction of new houses, schools, and hospitals, reclaiming land and implementing agrarian reform, and nationalizing electric-power firms and developing hydro-electric energy. The positive effect of these measures for employment was estimated at 700,000 new jobs; in order to achieve these goals, unions offered to "make sacrifices" - that is, to moderate their wage demands. The unions' and employers' associations' blueprints for development were opposed in their attitudes toward the respective roles of the free market and the state in promoting growth and jobs, and in their definition of the scope and quality of industrial relations, but they shared a concern for the requirements of intensive accumulation and a strong preference for traditional social values in family relations and consumer behaviour. Enlightening in this respect is the list of basic consumer



goods that were decided upon by the trade unions and the employers' association to protect them from inflation: the list conveys the image of an austere and traditional working population, with no place for cars, refrigerators, or leisure goods of any sort. This picture of workers' life style changed dramatically a few years later; what had been considered superfluous consumption soon became prerequisites for the average worker. Given this "objective value convergence," in spite of class antagonism, no wonder there was little room for reformist policies, such as those suggested in 1954 by the Christian democratic finance minister and by leaders of the small centre-left parties such as La Malfa, which were inspired by the American New Deal and the social-democratic experiences of northern European countries. These reformists argued for Keynesian-type policies of state intervention to correct market imbalances, reach full employment, eliminate the trade deficit, and overcome underdevelopment, mostly in the Mezzogiorno. None of these blueprints for development was adopted; rather, a peculiar mix of all of them accompanied the unstoppable growth of the market and of mass consumption: on the one hand, the free market model upheld by Confindustria certainly won, but it swept away the traditional virtues and social relations cherished by Costa. On the other, state intervention, requested by both CGIL and the reformoriented components of the centrist government coalition, also took place, but more than achieving the proclaimed general goals (reducing the cleavage between north and south and developing social services), it was instrumental in building consensus for government parties through patronage politics and the distribution of benefits to specific social groups - often in agreement with union demands for particular categories. Whatever the intended strategies followed by different economic and political actors, the relevant facts were extraordinary economic performance and the unstoppable growth of mass consumption. In the "boom years" of the early 1960s - at the beginning of the period covered by our study - the market increasingly performed a complex non-economic role, alongside its economic function of fostering productivity and competitiveness: the socialization of most Italians to the habits and life styles of mass capitalism; the social promotion of disadvantaged social groups, mainly industrial workers, artisans, and shopkeepers; and a growing consolidation of the power and influence of both entrepreneurial elites and political parties. The most important discontinuity of Italian society in the postwar period alongside the installation of a democratic polity - was the "virtuous circle" between accumulation, mass consumption, and political consensus, which for the first time in Italian history broke, although not entirely, from the old equilibrium



between low wages and low consumption on which relations among social classes had been based. The widespread experience of rising income levels and more comfortable life styles, the concrete opportunity to obtain the symbols of the "affluent society" (cars, television sets, house appliances, mass-produced clothing, etc.) fostered the collective consensus for the productive mechanism of the market economy and helped to legitimize the values and institutions of Western democracy and the governing elites that upheld them. As Romeo (1990: 254) writes, in the years of the "economic miracle" the Italian people abandoned the dream of an unachievable political "grandeur" and discovered unimaginable opportunities for development and success in productive activities; old problems and century-long sufferings could be perceived and dealt with in their real dimensions. For the first time, the ideals of modern Western democracy achieved a widespread consensus and legitimation, not only as a belief of cultivated elites, but also as a conquest and an ideal shared by the masses, and Italy was effectively brought into the community of Western nations. Collective participation in the market economy also increased the number of social relationships and cultural exchanges with other advanced industrial countries, thus limiting the impact of localism and parochial values and attitudes. Moreover, the combined effect of political democracy and market economy reduced the impact of hierarchical mechanisms of social control (dogmatic religious teachings, paternalistic management in firms, centralized party structures, authoritarian state institutions) and, on the contrary, increased the role of social integration through collective bargaining (primarily, but not only, in labour relations) and of compromise among multiple free options. The unstoppable growth of mass consumption is illustrated by the data on family ownership of durable goods. In the five years of the economic boom, at the start of the period analyzed in our study, the income spent by Italians on the purchase of cars increased almost 50%. At the apex of the economic boom (1963), private consumption increased 8.5%, stimulated by wage increases of 14.5%. For the first time, a majority of Italian families owned such goods as televisions and refrigerators. Thereafter, consumption grew steadily, at varying rates in the various phases of the economic cycle, continuing steadily after the economic boom of the early 1960s and the short economic recession that followed in 1964—66: in 1966, only 31.3% of Italian families owned a private car, 59.5% a television set, 60% a refrigerator, and 32.2% a washing machine; in 1990, 76.5% had a car, 95.7% a television set, 96.3% a refrigerator, 92.5% a washing machine, and 88.4% a telephone. Food habits, especially meat consumption, also changed significantly. Today, new goods



have reached significant proportions of consumers (in 1992, 39.5% of families owned a videotape recorder, 22.2% a dishwasher, 11.6% a home computer). Particularly significant in comparative terms is the fact that about two thirds of families own their own home, a clear indicator of the cultural importance of the household in contemporary Italian society and of the strong territorial roots of many Italians. The expansion of television has been impressive: it is now broadcasting 24 hours a day. Italians spend an average of 4 hours a day watching TV; the television market is controlled by the duopoly formed by RAI (public network) and Fininvest (private network), plus a multitude of small, mostly local broadcasters. The expansion of television has helped to promote a unified market - based on widely shared beliefs about betterment of the quality of life through the possession and use of an increasing quantity of goods and services - as well as encouraging the growth of specific markets, appealing to the particular segments of the population. The mass media helped both to homogenize and to diversify consumption by promoting different types of general "citizenship consumer goods." Television also became a powerful tool of consensus formation and cultural indoctrination. This revolution in consumption had two major consequences. First, it reduced basic differences in the life styles of different classes. The life styles and consumption patterns of a working-class household still differed from those of a cadre's or an employee's family with the same level of income - the latter spending relatively more on new products, leisure, and holidays; the former spending more on food. The important changes were that differences in consumption models replaced differences in the quantities of goods and that relative deprivation replaced absolute poverty. The second important consequence was that greater material prosperity and increased concern with consumption fostered individualism and familism. The role of the family as the basic consumption unit was enhanced. Durable goods such as cars and television sets contributed to forms of leisure centred on the nuclear family. Women became the major target of advertising for new consumer goods; those who did not work were increasingly isolated within the household. Along with the spread of mass consumption, urbanization also fostered forms of sociability more centred on the nuclear family. Urban organization tended to isolate families in small, comfortable apartments, with fewer chances for communitarian relationships. Although they did not disrupt family ties in the extended family to the extent they did in other developed countries, migrations changed forms of sociability. In this respect, the traditional bourgeois model of the nonworking wife, concerned with bringing up the children and managing the household, was extended, with significant cultural differences, to farmers' and workers' families, while the curve of female employment outside agriculture rose.



Related to the role of market is entrepreneurial innovation. This has been a constant feature of Italian development and it involved subsequent waves of industrialization, spreading from west to east and from north to south. After the phase of collective action in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in the late 1970s and the 1980s entrepreneurial innovation was also a business strategy in reaction to the unions' power. Many firms, large and small, regained decision-making autonomy and production flexibility through decentralization of production, investments in laboursaving technologies (automation), and product innovations. Here again, it is important to stress that changes were introduced by individual firms rather than business associations; in other words, there was an individual rather than a collective response to the constraints set by trade unions and labour laws. THE FAMILY

The other major agent of social change and integration has been the family. Although it lost part of its socializing role in favour of the school system and the mass media, and part of its mutual-help role in favour of the welfare system, the family remains a kind of core of social relations: it is a major solidarity structure, a fundamental source of social identity, a mix of welfare agency, job-placement agency, consumption unit, and, at least in certain regions and for certain social groups, a productive unit. Notwithstanding the continuing core function of the family in Italian society, we should not to overlook the fundamental changes it underwent after the late 1960s and the important role it played in societal change. The decline of fertility, the weakening of authority patterns in parent-child relations, the increasingly independent role of women, changes in sexual relations, and the growing marginalization of many elderly people were all fundamental - and to some extent traumatic changes. They were by no means confined to Italian society. As the introduction to Convergence or Divergence? (Langlois, 1994: 13) states, "The transformation of family structure that occurred over the past 30 years is no doubt the most important and consequential change in Western civilization during this period." But the Italian situation shows specific features. First, the decline in fertility rate - and the consequent reduction in family size was greater and faster in Italy. In the 1960s the average rate of population increase was 6.7% per thousand; in the 1970s it dropped to 4.4%; in the 1980s it dropped to only 2.5%; and in the early 1990s it reached a negative value. Traditional large households with relatives dropped from 22.4% of all households in 1951 to 13% in 1991, while the proportion of single-person households rose from 10.6% to almost 20% (see chapter 0).



The decline in fertility and the reduction in family size are correlated with the same set of processes as in other Western countries: the massive entrance of women in the labour force with full-time labour contracts, the lengthening of females' educational career and the postponing of marriage, falling marriage rates, and increased availability of anti-pregnancy devices and higher rates of abortion. Some of these trends - such as the increase in women's employment rates and the postponing of marriage - were more pronounced in Italy than in other developed countries, while others - such as abortion rates - were less pronounced. But the ne effect has been a deeper impact on the extent and speed of demographic change. The three most important interrelated factors accounting for the lower fertility of Italian women were the increasing participation of women in the labour force in the industrial and service sectors, the extraordinarily rapid and profound modifications of cultural attitudes toward the appropriate role of married women, and the lack of effective public policies for families, especially in the provision of social services for working mothers. Female employment is steadily on the rise, women are increasingly moving into professions traditionally considered a male preserve, and the gap between women's and men's average salaries has shrunk. But the condition of women - including working women - within the family has not changed significantly: family and household tasks (looking after children, providing care, housekeeping) continue to be a considerable load for women (see chapter 3). Married men spend more time at work but also enjoy more leisure time than do women with children. Cultural attitudes of younger generations with regard to the occupational role of women have changed significantly: the traditional "bourgeois" ideal - which extended to other social classes - of the nonworking wife taking care of the household and the breadwinner husband, who maintained relations with the outside world - has given way to much greater equality in the legitimate aspirations of professional success for men and women alike, with most women, however, having to bear the burden of multiple and conflicting expectations. Significant differences between Italian families and families in other Western countries are also found in such trends as the increase in divorce, consensual unions of unmarried couples, and births out of the wedlock, as well as in the growth of single-person households and single-parent families, which have been less pronounced in Italy than in most other Western countries. As well, the condition of young people (as shown in chapter 1) presents several traits in common with other Western societies - among which the most relevant are longer schooling, postponed entry into the labour market, higher unemployment, and less authoritarian relations with parents. But there are also a few remarkable peculiarities, mostly in relations with parents and in attitudes toward marriage and



children: according to the 1993 IARD National Survey on the Condition of Youth (Cavalli and De Lillo, 1994), half of 29-year-old men and one fourth of 29-yearold women still live in their parents' homes. Although several symptoms of increasing tensions in couples' relations and intergenerational relations are evident, the family looks more solid and stable and more capable to perform a wider set of functions in Italy than in other developed countries, as illustrated by such diverse indicators as lower rates of divorce, greater financial and emotional support of adult children by parents, higher probability of "inheriting" a parent's job, and greater importance of family businesses in the economy. On the whole, the Italian family has shown a remarkable capacity to adapt amidst the profound changes and contradictions stemming from a rapidly growing economy and an unevenly modernizing society. For these reasons we tend to consider it in our analysis more a factor of change than of conservation. Finally, one may note that the "positive" role of the family in overcoming hardships and tensions was balanced by two "negative" implications for an open democratic society: the tendency to "inherit" a parent's job limits social mobility, and "amoral familism" sets obstacles, particularly in some regions, in the path of forming a national civic culture. This concept was introduced by Banfield in his wellknown 1958 study of a southern Italian village, which connotes a situation in which the interests and values of the family are considered not only of higher priority than but also contrasting with those of the larger society; in such a situation the obligations toward one's own family (as in the Italian expression tengo famiglia - I have to take care of my family) may become the justification for any kind of behaviour - even illegal - disregard for one's own responsibilities toward the larger community, and mistrust of the state. As Bobbio (1986) wrote more recently, Italians spend a lot of energy and courage on the family, so that little remains for society and the state. Amoral familism should not be overstressed, but it is true that a family-centred ethics has been diffused in Italy, with contrasting consequences for social integration and public responsibility. CONCLUSION

If we look at Italian modernization in comparative perspective, we run into an apparent paradox: on the one hand, Italian society seems more politicized than that of most other developed countries, according to such indicators as the amount of attention paid by the mass media to political issues and leaders, percentages of voters in general and local elections, rates of membership in political parties, trade



unions, and interests associations, and so on; but, on the other hand, change can be better explained in terms of the strategies of individual actors and private institutions - primarily firms and families - than in terms of the strategies of collective actors and public policies. Political parties have been stronger and more influential than in other Western democracies; large and militant collective movements have mobilized millions of people, but their impact on change was smaller than might have been expected because the impressive and rapid development of the economy and the civil society was not accompanied by adequate modernization in education, culture, legislation, and public administration. Collective action had an impact on change, but the lack of institutional responses - because of divided coalition governments, weak elites, and an inefficient bureaucracy - made its role less important for reforms. Individual strategies and nonpolitical actors had a more significant influence. Micro-social relations and individual behaviours proved more adaptable to change than did macro-state structures and collective action. In recent decades Italian society can be characterized as resulting from the interdependence of a few major elements: a heterogeneous, fragmented, flexible, and resilient civil society, centred on the family; a vital and competitive market economy, unevenly distributed through the country and subject to permanent youth unemployment and periodic inflationary pressures; a strong and pervasive party system, which tends to encapsulate society and occupy state institutions, and which is in crisis today; a large and centralized, but also weak and inefficient, state; a mass culture strongly influenced by mass consumption and the mass media. These elements are bound together, in the sense that lack of governance is both a cause and an effect of a resilient society and of a familistic and individualistic culture. If we compare the present situation with the post-Second World War years, when national unity was at stake and a difficult transition to democracy was in the making, and with the early 1960s, when development and modernization began and the point of departure for our charting of social change, we now find a less polarized, more culturally integrated society. In the place of sharp class distinctions between the bourgeoisie, the workers, and the peasants, we find a fluid constellation of increasingly differentiated status groups; in the place of parties with different strategic priorities and conflicting international alliances we find a variety of political actors that compete for power and appeal for consensus on the basis of "technical" solutions to commonly perceived problems; in the place of unifying ideologies that upheld different and to a great extent conflicting Weltanschaungen we find a core set of widely shared beliefs on democracy, the market economy, individual freedom, and peaceful coexistence; in the place of clear-cut differences



between a bourgeois culture and a popular culture - with different life styles and consumption patterns - we find a plurality of values and attitudes changing according to fashion and personal choice. Traditional problems, however, are still there, such as the "southern question," a weak citizenship culture, mass youth unemployment, bureaucratic inefficiency, political corruption, organized crime, and extensive illegal behaviour. The problems have changed along with the country, but they have not been solved. The potential for conflict remains high for several reasons, aside from the unsolved traditional problems. While many aspects of social inequality, such living standards, consumption patterns, homeownership, and educational attainment, have diminished, others, such income distribution and occupational prestige, have remained more or less constant. Moreover, new inequalities are constantly produced (creating the socalled two-thirds society) and new problems arise in a unevenly developed economy and in an increasingly multi-ethnic society (as recent symptoms of renewed regional conflicts and ethnic prejudice seem to show). The present political transition, symbolized by the 1994 national elections, has significantly reduced parties' power and influence, but so far it has neither increased state efficiency and government effectiveness, nor bettered the quality and the accountability of elites. At present, it seems that Italian society, even more than in the past, will be dynamic, affluent, conflict-ridden, and difficult to govern. Alberto Martinelli REFERENCES Bagnasco, A. 1977 Tre Italic: la problematica territoriale dello sviluppo italiano. Bologna: II Mulino. Banfield, E. 1958 The Moral Bases of a Backward Society. Glencoe, IL: Free Press. Bobbio, N. 1986 Profilo ideologico del novecento italiano. Turin: Einaudi. Cassese, S., and Franchini 1994 L'amministrazione pubblica in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Cavalli, A., and de Lillo, A. (eds.) 1994 Giovani anni 90. Terzo rapporto lard sulla condizione giovanile italiana. Bologna: II Mulino. Cesareo V. (ed.) 1990 La culture dell'Italia contemporanea. Turin: Fondazione Agnelli.



Farneti, P. (ed.) 1973 // sistema politico italiano. Bologna: II Mulino. Gallino, L. 1987 Delia ingovernabilita. Milan: Comunita. Ginsborg, P. 1989 Storia d'Italia dal dopoguerra a oggi. Turin: Einaudi. Ginsborg, P. (ed.) 1994 Stato dell'Italia. Milan: II Saggiatore. Graziano, L., and Tarrow, S. (eds.) 1979 La crisi italiana. Turin: Einaudi. Lanaro, S. 1992 Storia dell'Italia repubblicana. Padua: Marsilio. Langlois, S. (ed.), 1994 Convergence or Divergence? Frankfurt: Campus Verlag/Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. Lepre, A. 1993 Storia della Prima Repubblica. L'ltalia dal 1942 al 1992. Bologna: II Mulino. Martinelli, A. 1979 "Organized Business and Italian Politics: Confmdustria and the Christian Democrats in the Postwar Period." West European Politics, 2(3). Martinelli, A. (ed.) 1994 L'azione collettiva degli imprenditori italiani. Milan: Comunita. Ornaghi, L., and Parsi, V. 1994 Le virtu dei migliori. Bologna: II Mulino. Paci, M. (ed.) 1993 Le dimensioni della diseguaglianza. Bologna: II Mulino. Perez Diaz, V. 1993 The Return of Civil Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Pizzorno,A. 1993 Le radici della politica assoluta. Milan: Feltrinelli. Putnam, R. 1993 La tradizione civica nelle regione italiane. Milan: Mondadori. Romeo, R. 1990 Scritti storici.1951-1978. Milan: Mondadori. Salvadori, M. 1994 Storia d'Italia e crisi di regime. Bologna: II Mulino. Scoppola, P. 1991 La repubblica deipartiti. Bologna: II Mulino.



Tomai, G. 1994 Vil Volontariato. Milano: Feltrinelli. Tullio Allan, C. 1986 La nostra Italia. Milan: Feltrinelli. Vertone, S. (ed.) 1994 La cultura degli italiani. Bologna: II Mulino.

0 Context

The recent historical period, during which Italy has run through the entire cycle of industrialization, from the take-off of the late 1950s to the industrial decline of the 1990s, has been characterized by demographic changes that have, in turn, both caused and resulted in cultural and economic developments. This can easily be seen in the trends in household structure, which has been affected at least by four major transformations: migration movements into urban areas, which disrupted traditional extended family structures; the labour market, into which the entry of the women has heavily affected fertility rates; the development of the welfare state in the 1970s and the fiscal crisis it caused in the 1980s, which has taken the family's place in many socialization functions and made it dependent on external institutions; and the improvement of life expectancy at birth, which has increased life spans but has also increased the number of elderly, especially women, who live alone. Economic trends have also resulted from social factors and policy decisions and contributed to the diffusion of life styles typical of an affluent society. The fact that Italian capitalism developed relatively late, compared with Great Britain, Germany, and France, had two important consequences for the formation of its social and economic structure. First, Italian industry has consistently been dependent on the cycle of international demand (Graziani, 1979). Second, the state has actively intervened to promote economic development, serving, first, as a "substitution factor" in the mechanism of original accumulation (Gerschenkron, 1962), then, since the 1960s, as a means of income redistribution between regions and social groups. These two factors are behind an important dualism in the economy: on the one hand are companies, many of them small, that are subject to international competition, adopt flexible strategies, and frequently restructure; on the other hand are companies, many of them large and state owned, that enjoy a domestic monopoly. Only some large financial groups, most of them family controlled (such as Fiat, Pirelli, Olivetti, and Ferruzzi), were able to escape this dualism, because they maintained both the advantage of a domestic quasi-monopolistic position and the opportunity to compete in international markets. The dualism of the economic



structure has produced various cleavages and strategies in the labour market and has been related to differential economic performances in the regions, because of the territorial concentration of the oligopolistic structure in the so-called industrial triangle in the 1960s, and because of areas favourable to small business in the following 20 years. Although these areas were developed due mainly to specific institutional and social factors (Bagnasco, 1977; Trigilia, 1986), the role of technological innovation is relevant and the emerging model of flexible production has been stressed by foreign scholars (Piore and Sabel, 1983). Another important feature of the context of social development in Italy in the period under study is the effect that increasing state intervention has had on public expenditures. Public expenditures were made to promote short-term approval of the political parties by the population during the 1970s, when the political opposition and electoral success of the communist party seemed to challenge very seriously the traditional centre-left coalitions. Still, excessive deficit spending negatively affected economic development in the 1980s and is one of the factors behind the collapse of the party system that had ruled for the 30 years under study. The income differences that accompanied rapid and uneven economic development are also an acceptable explanation for the trends in migration that originated movements toward central European countries and between northern and southern regions in the 1960s. As the standard of living in the outmigration regions rose in the 1970s and 1980s, population movements decreased and immigration from northern Africa grew. The latter phenomenon is transforming Italy into a multiethnic society. In spite of these transformations, Italy was demographically more static at the beginning of the 1990s than in the 1960s, because both the demographic rate of substitution and internal migrations were diminishing. This, in turn, was related to dramatic differences in the official unemployment rates from region to region (see section 4). REFERENCES Bagnasco, A. 1977 Tre Italic: la problematica territoriale dello sviluppo italiano. Bologna: II Mulino. Gerschenkron, A. 1962 Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Graziani, A. (ed.) 1979 L'economia italiana dal '45 ad oggi. Rev. ed. Bologna: II Mulino.


0.1 Demographic Trends

Piore, M.J., and Sabel, C.F. 1983 "Italian Small Business Development. Lessons for U.S. Industrial Policy." In John Zysman and Laura Tyson, eds., American Industry in International Competition: Government Policies and Corporate Strategies. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. Trigilia, Carlo 1986 Grandi partiti e piccole imprese. Bologna: II Mulino.

0.1 Demographic Trends Since 1964, the birth rate has been on a constant decline, affecting population growth, which has experienced a progressive deceleration and reached a negative value at the beginning of the 1990s. Increasing ageing and feminization of the population are important consequences of this trend. The geographical distribution of the population has been affected by decreasing internal migrations, which reached an apex in conjunction with the economic boom in northern regions during the 1950s and 1960s. International migrations also changed; from a country of widespread emigration to other European countries in the 1960s, Italy became a country of repatriation in the 1970s and of immigration in the 1980s. Like other European countries, Italy has experienced a structural transformation of households: the size of the families has dropped and numbers of singles, especially elderly women, have been increasing.

The population size of Italy is very similar to those of Great Britain and France. Although the 1990s began with a drop in population, Italy is still the secondlargest country in Western Europe. In the 1960s, the average rate of population increase was 6.7 per thousand. In the 1970s, the rate dropped to 4.4, and in the 1980s it decreased further to 2.5. Forecasts for the 1990s give a negative value, with a turning point of 1991. The decline in population size began a decade before in the northern regions and then spread southward. The decline in the birth rate is one of the main reasons for this trend. The highest number of births was reached in 1964, with more than 1 million children born (see table 1). The baby boom of the 1960s had an impact on welfare structures during the following decade, by increasing the social demand for education. According to some observers of the labour market, it also affected the unemployment rate in the 1980s, worsening the situation of many young people seeking a job. Since



Table 1 Selected demographic rates, 1960-92

Population Live births Birth rate Deaths Death rate (000) (000) (per 1,000) (000) (per 1,000)

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

50,672 50,996 51,358 51,778 52,109 52,443 52,757 53,061 53,399 53,732 54,179 54,646 55,180 55,645 56,014 56,323 56,601 56,599 56,829 56,999 56,536 56,742 56,929 57,080 57,202 57,291 57,399 57,505 57,576 57,746 56,757 56,948

910 930 937 960 1,016 990 980 949 930 932 901 906 888 875 869 828 782 741 709 670 640 623 618 600 586 575 562 560 578 567 581 559 562

18.1 18.4 18.4 18.8 19.7 19.1 18.7 18.0 17.6 17.5 16.8 16.8 16.3 16.0 15.8 14.9 14.0 13.2 12.6 11.9 11.3 11.0 10.9 10.6 10.3 10.1 9.8 9.8 10.1 9.8 10.1 9.6 9.9

481 568 509 516 490 518 496 510 533 539 521 523 534 547 532 554 551 547 541 538 555 545 532 561 532 545 545 535 538 532 544 548 535

9.6 9.3 10.0 10.1 9.5 10.0 9.5 9.7 10.1 10.1 9.7 9.7 9.6 10.0 9.7 10.0 9.9 9.8 9.6 9.6 9.8 9.7 9.4 9.9 9.3 9.5 9.5 9.3 9.4 9.2 9.4 9.5 9.4

Infant Average mortality number rate (per of children 1,000 births) per woman

43.9 40.7 41.8 40.1 36.1 36.0 34.7 33.2 32.7 30.8 29.6 28.5 27.0 26.2 22.9 21.2 19.5 18.1 17.1 15.7 14.6 14.1 13.0 12.2 11.8 10.5 9.8 9.6 9.1 8.6 8.2 8.4 8.3

2.41 2.70 2.67


2.36 2.20 2.10 .96 .86 .74 .66 .5 .5 .5 1.46 1.41 1.32 1.31 1.34 1,.30 1..31 1.26 1.25

Sources: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche. 1926-1985; ISTAT, Bollettino mensile di statistica. selected years. ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, selected years. Author's compilation.


0.1 Demographic Trends

1986, the number of births has almost halved, so that each woman has about 1.3 children, well below the substitution threshold of 2.1 (table 1). In turn, the decline in births has caused a progressive over-staffing in the education system, starting in elementary schools and spreading to secondary schools in the 1980s. Various phenomena are related to this sharp decrease, including a decrease in the marriage rate, even controlling for the composition of the population by age groups (Santini, 1986). The increasing unemployment of young people (see section 2) has been identified as a possible explanation for the trend in the marriage rate, but this interpretation is not consistent with the fact that the marriage rate is higher in southern regions, where unemployment is also higher. Cohabitation of unmarried couples, which is common in other European countries, has not increased as quickly in Italy (Golini, 1986). Other possible explanations point to the role played by the high cost of new houses in the urban areas, where internal migrations have concentrated the population. The most convincing hypothesis involves the massive entry of women into the labour force along with the maintenance of traditional full-time labour contracts as a generalized pattern (see section 5). The diffusion of contraceptives has played a minor role in the decline of birth rate, while abortion is increasing. On the other hand, the decrease in the death rate is not enough to counterbalance the birth-rate trend. Life expectancy at birth has changed dramatically, affecting the age structure of the population (see table 2). In 1961, people 65 years of age and over comprised 9.5% of the population; in 1987, they comprised to 13.4%. The progressive ageing of the population has contributed to an increased difference of life expectancy between the sexes, in favour of females. The average life span of men increased from 68 years in 1960 to 73.7 in 1992, while the increase for women was from 72.3 years to 80.2 over the same period. As a result, women constitute 60% of the population over 65 years of age and 67% of the population aged over 80 years. This fact, together with the tradition of marrying younger males, means that the great majority of single-person households comprises widows. In fact the average age of marriage remained quite steady during the 1980s, at about 27 for men and 24 for women. More generally, the entire age pyramid of the population was reshaped from 1961 to 1991. Not only did it become taller, because of the life-span increase, but its base became narrower and its apex wider, because of the larger proportion of the elderly; there are half as many boys and girls under 5 years old and the number of those 85 years old has quadrupled over four decades. Only the age class of 2530 years comprised about the same proportion in 1951 and 1991. From those older than 30 years on, the proportion is increasing in favour of the elderly.



Table 2 Population by age, 1951, 1991 (%)

Age group Under 5 5-10 10-15 15-20 20-25 25-30 30-35 35^0 40-45 45-50 50-55 55-60 60-65 65-70 70-75 75-80 80-85 Over 85

7957 Males


1991 Males


4.67 4.20 4.50 4.28 4.30 4.10 2.90 3.50 3.40 2.95 2.50 1.95 1.70 1.40 1.05 0.70 0.30 0.10

4.45 4.00 4.40 4.25 4.30 4.28 3.15 3.70 3.65 3.10 3.85 2.50 2.20 1.80 1.30 0.90 0.50 0.25

2.42 2.65 3.25 3.92 4.16 4.08 3.55 3.30 3.40 3.00 3.10 2.85 2.65 2.30 1.25 1.29 0.65 0.40

2.28 2.55 3.09 3.76 4.08 4.05 3.60 3.30 3.50 3.12 3.27 3.20 3.10 2.95 1.70 2.00 1.30 0.95

Source: ISTAT, Italian Statistical Abstract, Rome, 1992.

The last 30 years also saw the end of the historic migrations that had been a structural feature of the Italian population since the beginning of the century, when hundred of thousands of emigrants crossed the Atlantic Ocean yearly (peaking in 1913, when about 600,000 people left Italy, mainly for North and Latin America). After World War Two, international migrations were directed mainly to central European countries (see table 3), but their importance has been constantly decreasing, in favor of internal migrations from southern rural areas to northern industrialized towns. Internal migrations were affected by the economic cycle, reaching their apex during the booming 1960s, when Italy quickly became an industrialized country and 180,000 farm workers a year moved from other regions to firms in mechanical industry around Turin or Milan. This stream slowed during the ensuing decades; since the 1970s, it has also affected the northeastern and central regions, where widespread industrialization has taken place (see table 4). Eastern regions turned to be particular areas of immigration. In the 1980s, when many people return to the south as pensioners and the increasing standard of living in southern regions discouraged the young from moving northward, the migration balance evened out.


0.1 Demographic Trends

Table 3 Emigration from and immigration to Italy, 1957-91 Emigration (000)

1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991

384 387 366 278 258 283 296 229 216 182 152 168 142 124 112 93 97 88 86 89 85 89 98 85 77 67 58 55 49

Immigration (000)

192 210 229 221 190 196 206 169 150 153 143 129 138 125 117 123 116 102 90 92 90 89 92 88 77 67 56 53 49

Balance -70,696 -41,922 -28,926 -7,041 38,286 51,835 41,199 -20,336 -115,365 -138,382 -135,198 -62,451 -20,390 -73,352 33,486 45,933 47,532 56,698 48,302 39,524 34,700 25,212 39,096 22,981 57,895 53,053 34,150 30,296 26,838 60,602 43,598 16,738 187,703 71,377

Sources: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche. 1926-1985; ISTAT, Annuario Statistico Italiano, selected years.



Table 4 Average annual migrations to and from regions of Italy, registered immigrants and emigrants, 1955-88 (000)

1955-58 1959-62 1963-66 1967-69 1971-74 1975-78 1979-82 1983-84 1988




97.3 179.8 89.8 105.1 65.6 13.6

-38.3 -35.8 -4.3

16.7 3.2.3 27.0 27.7 23.8 18.8 17.8 18.0

2.8 -13.5 16.0

7.3 15.8 16.9 17.0

9.4 27. Oa


-57.4 -122.3 -74.7 -94.8 -75.0 -36.4 -29.1 -13.4 -4.3b


-18.3 -54.0 -37.4 -45.3 -30.2 -12.9 -8.5 -0.5

a. This figure includes both northeast and central regions. b. This figure includes both southern and islands regions. Sources: ISTAT-AIS, Immagini della societa italiana, 1988; ISTAT, "Statistiche e indicated sociali," 1993, Supplement to Annuario statistico italiano.

Table 5 Population according to size of municipality, 1961-91 (000)

under 5,000 5,001-100,000 100,001-500,000 over 500,000 Total





12,292 26,039

11,584 26,643 7,401 8,398 54,025

10,155 30,482 7,681 8,239 56,557

10,786 31,485 6,939 7,546 56,757

12,530 50,624

Source: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano. Census of the population.

While the first postwar decades were characterized by a widespread urbanization process, thus increasing the size of the larger cities and causing the abandonment of less fertile land, over the last ten years there has been a kind of "counterurbanization" movement. The shrinking size of large cities has been related to a more even distribution of the population throughout the country, with an increase in inhabitants of small and medium-sized towns. It has been pointed out that this trend is not specific to Italy but affects most Western countries (Nobile, 1988). In addition to this phenomenon, analysis of the most recent census data shows that complex urban areas are in formation around major cities, and the old municipali-


0.1 Demographic Trends

ties are no longer representative of larger metropolitan areas. In fact, while the municipality of Rome has lost 2.3% of its inhabitants, the population of the province has increased by 15.1%. Similar changes have occurred around most other large cities (see table 6). Since the 1980s, Italy has also become an immigration country. The first immigrants were mainly Asian and African women, who were employed as servants in urban households at the end of the 1970s. At the same time, seasonal migrants from North Africa worked in the Sicilian fishing industry. Thereafter, demographic pressure and an increasing economic gap between southern Europe and North Africa has fed a mainly clandestine stream of migrants, who have been confronted with selection policies to decide who may enter the labour market and apply for unskilled manual jobs that Italians are no longer interested in. It is well known that official statistics underestimate this kind of immigration flow. The census of October 1981 gave a total of 320,778 foreigners, mainly legal residents. Over ten years, there was an increase of 56.5%, most of whom were nonresidents. According to the Ministry of the Interior, there were 923,625 foreigners with a residency permit in 1992, and an annual increase of 5.2% (see section 16). Recent studies have stressed the growing importance of kinship networks (see section 2.2) in understanding the dynamics of modern households, so that the fact of living under the same roof is no longer the only structural factor that affects family organization. An analysis of structural indicators of the households taken from census data reveals certain trends. Average household size dropped constantly, from 4 members in 1951 to 2.8 in 1991. Thus, in spite of a decrease in the number of

Table 6 Changes in population of major Italian cities and comparison between municipalities and provinces (% difference 1991 to 1981) City Florence Genova Milan Napoli Palermo Rome Turin Venice Source: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano.



-10.0 -11.0 -14.7 -12.0 -0.5 -2.3 -13.8 -10.6

3.7 -3.6 5.8 10.8 5.9 15.1 3.7 4.4



marriages, the number of households has been constantly increasing, at a rate greater than that of the population. This trend is related to the drop in the birth rate (in 1964 women had an average of 2.70 children, compared to 1.26 in 1992, well below t population substitution level of 2.1) and to the growing proportion of single persons, which rose from 10.6% in 1951 to 19.4% in 1990 (see table 7). On the other hand, the proportion of traditional extended households with relatives, a structure that had been widespread especially in southern rural areas, dropped from 22.4% to 13.0% over the same period. At the beginning of the 1990s, the nuclear family with children, the standard pattern of urban industrialized society, no longer comprised the majority of households, having dropped from 59.0% in 1951 to 48.9% in 1990. Finally it is worth noting that the main demographic transformations hav been accompanied by a dramatic improvement of health conditions among the population. The increase in life expectancy at birth is undoubtedly evidence of this trend (see table 8). The average height of a 20-year-old man rose from 168.5 cm in 196 to 174 cm in 1992 (see table 9), while the infant mortality rate has dropped by a factor of four, from 43.9 to 8.2 per thousand (see table 1).

Table 7 Average size and type of households, 1951-90


Household size (members)

1951 1961 1971 1981 1990

4.0 3.6 3.3 3.0 2.8*

Couples without children

Households without children

Households with children





10.6 11.5 13.5 18.3 19.4

11.3 13.4 15.5 17.1 18.7

59.0 55.8 54.0 53.3 48.9

22.4 19.4 16.9 11.2 13.0

Households with relatives others

* Figure for 1991. Figures shown for 1990 are not census data but were obtained by the ISTAT multipurpose sample survey, in which households are considered in their de facto structure, independently from records in population registers. Sources: ISTAT-AIS, Immagini della societa italiana, Rome, 1988; ISTAT, Rapporto Annuale. La situazione delpaese, 1992; ISTAT, Indagine multiscopo sulle famiglie italiane, Rome, 1994.


0.1 Demographic Trends

Table 8 Life expectancy at birth, 1962-90

Year 1960-62 1970-72 197 5 1980 198 1 198 5 198 6 198 1 198 7 198 8 1989 199 0


Average life span: females

72.3 74.9 77 .2 77.4 77. 8 78.6 78.9 77.8 79.4 79.7 80.0 80.2

67.2 69.0 70.6 70.6 71. 1 72.0 72. 5 71. 1 72. 9 73. 2 73. 5 73.6

Source: ISTAT, Annuario Statistico Italiano, selected years.

Table 9 Height of Italian servicemen born in selected years, 1940-72 Year of birth:

1940 194 1 194 2 194 3 194 4 194 5 194 6 1 47 19 4 19 4 195 0 195 1 195 2 195 3

Height (cm)

Year of birth

168.47 168.71 168.91 168.91 168.99 168.62 169.40 169.73 169.66 169.77 169.88 170.01 170.03 171.05

Source: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche. 1926-1985. Rome, 1988.

1954 19 55 1956 195 7 195 8 195 9 196 0 1961 1962 196 3 1967 1969 197 2

Height (cm)

171.06 171.48 171.89 172.19 172.19 172.37 172.69 172.80 172.83 173.02 173.67 173.84 173.96



REFERENCES Barbagli, M. 1990 Provando e riprovando. Matrimonio, famiglia e divorzio in Italia e in altri paesi occidentali. Bologna: II Mulino. Birindelli A.M. 1984 "Dalle grand! emigrazioni di massa aH'arrivo del lavoratori stranieri: un secolo di esperienza migratoria in Italia." Materiali di studi e ricerche, no. 5. Rome: Dipartimento di Scienze demografiche, Universita La Sapienza. Donati, P. (ed.) 1989 Primo rapporto sulla famiglia in Italia. Milan: Edizioni Paoline. Donati, P., and Scabini, E. (eds.) 1983 Le trasformazioni della famiglia in Italia. Milan: Vita e Pensiero. Golini, A. 1986 "La famiglia in Italia: tendenze recenti, immagine, esigenze di ricerca." Atti del Convegno: La famiglia in Italia, Annali di statistica, 9, no. 6. 1988 "Profile demografico della famiglia italiana." In Piero Melograni (ed.), La famiglia italiana dall'ottocento ad oggi, Bari: Laterza. IRP 1988 Secondo rapporto sulla situazione demografica italiana. Rome: ISTAT. 1993 Rapporto annuale. La situazione del Paese, 1992. Rome. Lanzetti, C. 1988 "Le famiglie nei censimenti." in ISTAT-Ais, Immagini della societa italiana. Rome: Sagraf. Nobile, A. 1988 "Caratteri, trasformazioni e prospettive della popolazione." In ISTAT-AIS, Immagini della sociaeta italiana. Rome: Sagraf. Sgritta, G. B. 1986 "La struttura delle relazioni interfamiliari." Atti del convegno: La famiglia in Italia. Annali di statistica, 9, no. 6. Santini, A. 1986 "Recenti trasformazioni nella formazione della famiglia e della discendenza in Italia e in Europa." Atti del Convegno La famiglia in Italia, Annali di statistica, 9, no. 6. Saporiti, A. 1988 "Le strutture familiari." In ISTAT-AIS, Immagini della societa italiana. Rome: Sagraf. Saporiti, A. and Sgritta, G. B. 1982 "Condizioni e aspetti dell'evoluzione della famiglia italiana." Atti del Seminario sulla evoluzione della famiglia italiana. Rome: Cisp.


0.2 Macro-economic Trends

0.2 Macro-economic Trends Economic trends in Italy have moved quickly inconsistently. Two periods of accelerated, export-led growth in the 1960s and 1980s were separated by a decade of economic crisis, generated by internal labour struggles and worsened by the first oil shock. Inflation and deficit spending were important consequences of this crisis. Inflation was fought successfully in the 1980s, while the public debt has been increasing because of the amount of interest paid by the state to families that own bonds and have a traditional high saving propensity. Another feature of Italy's economic development has been its geographic unevenness. The economic boom of the 1960s was concentrated in the northwestern regions, and only in the 1970s did more widespread industrialization, based on small firms, spread to the eastern and central regions. On the contrary, southern Italy could not sustain endogenous development and has been traditionally dependent on increasing state subsidies.

The dynamics of the Italian economy were structurally affected by two fundamental factors: strong dependence on the international economic cycle, and the persistence of internal differences in terms of revenues and productive structure due to the inefflcacy of increasingly expensive public interventions aiming to redress these differences. The economic expansion of the late 1950s and 1960s was mainly export led and based on the following factors: strong income differences in industry and agriculture, which drew an increasing amount of low-cost labour from the southern regions to the "industrial triangle" (the Milan, Turin, and Geneva industrial areas) to be employed in mass production; liberalization of foreign trade and increasing international integration of the domestic industry (see table 1); and a progressive drop in prices of raw materials, which have traditionally been imported. Low labour costs were behind a virtuous circle of high productivity levels, low export prices, and high profits. The productivity increase was also supported by the economies of scale typical of mass-production sectors such as means of transport and durable goods. This model, which had been generating internal imbalances, was disrupted for the first time in 1963. At the beginning of the 1960s, full employment was reached in the industrialized regions, and mass migration from the south was no longer able to supply all of the labour needed. The first consequence of full employment was a notable rise in wages, the first effect of which was to boost domestic demand. The



Table 1 Imports, exports, and fixed capital investments as % of GDP at current prices, 1957-92 Imports

1957 1959 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

14.4 12.3 12.1 15.3 15.4 16.0 17.4 15.5 14.8 15.9 16.4 16.3 17.9 19.6 17.8 18.9 22.0 29.2 22.2 25.4 24.5 23.6 26.0 27.4 28.0 27.0 24.8 22.5 22.7 18.2 18.3 18.2 19.6 19.5 18.4 18.3


Fixed capital investments

13.7 13.1 13.7 15.4 15.8 15.8 15.2 16.1 17.9 18.6 18.2 19.3 20.2 20.2 17.7 18.4 18.6 23.0 21.0 22.9 24.0 24.3 25.3 22.7 24.5 24.2 23.5 20.7 20.8 18.7 18.0 17.8 19.0 19.1 17.8 18.1

22.5 21.4 21.8 23.9 24.9 25.0 24.9 22.3 19.6 19.3 20.4 19.9 21.4 22.7 21.0 20.4 24.1 25.7 20.3 23.7 21.5 20.0 21.3 25.1 20.2 19.4 1.7.9 21.3 20.7 19.7 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.2 19.8 19.1

Sources: Author's calculations from ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche, 1926-1985; ISTAT, Rapporto Annuale. La situazione del Paese 1992.


0.2 Macro-economic Trends

ensuing inflation produced the first postwar trade deficit, with booming imports and a loss of export competitiveness. In 1963, the government adopted monetary and fiscal measures aimed at cooling out the aggregate demand and fighting inflation and wage increases. International competitiveness was quickly regained and the export-led virtuous circle was started again (see table 1, in particular the import and export rates from 1964 to 1970), thanks also to a restructuring of the exportoriented industry, in which some production phases were decentralized to small plants with no unions. As the short-term measures did not affect the structural constraints of the economy, a period of generalized strikes and heavy social unrest, beginning in 1969, brought dramatic wage increases. In that year, the cost of labour grew by almost 20% in the manufacturing industries (Boccella, 1987) and the development model was disrupted again, causing a loss of international competitiveness and high inflation. Table 2 shows that the period of high inflation started at the beginning of the 1970s; remained well above 12% during the following decade, with a peak of 21.2% in 1980; and diminished as the 1980s progressed. The oil shock of 1973 worsened that year's economic slump, turning it into a social and political emergency featuring political instability and terrorism (see section 7). The communist party's electoral victories caused the flight of Italian capital and the withdrawal of foreign capital. At the international level, the collapse of the fixed-exchange-rate system incited the domestic monetary authority to try to maintain international competitiveness with frequent devaluations of the domestic currency, but this measure fed inflation, which, in turn, had to be fought with restrictive interventions that produced unemployment. The economic problems of the 1970s were interwoven with the fall of political consent. At the social level, the government tried to confront the consequences of the crisis through a huge expansion of public expenditure, at both the central and local levels. The increased expenditures were not supported by a rise in public revenues, and the public-sector deficit began to increase, as table 3 shows. In spite of these problems, there was a second unpredictable economic change in the 1970s, related mainly to small firms that adopted innovative production strategies based on flexible technologies. The economic boom of the following decade is rooted in this structural change, which was interpreted as an alternative to assembly-line mass production in large plants (Piore and Sabel, 1984). While big plants in the traditional industrial areas underwent deindustrialization, causing serious job losses (table 4), there was a grassroots movement of new, small-scale entrepreneurship, coming sometimes from the ranks of former skilled workers of big factories. This change had long-term effects on much of the country; some



Table 2 GDP per capita, rates of GDP increase, and inflation, 1960-93 Per capita GDP at 1970 prices (000)

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

1,763 1,904 2,044

2,193 2,257 2,379 2,562

2,714 2,897 3,060

3,218 3,278

3,416 3,628

3,718 3,574 3,755 3,806

3,881 4,035


Rate of GDP increase

8.2 6.2 5.6 2.8 3.3 6.0 7.2 6.5 6.1 5.3 1.6 3.2 7.0 4.1 -3.6 5.9 1.9 2.7 4.8 3.9 0.2 0.4 1.0 2.7 2.6 2.9 3.1 4.1 2.9 2.1 1.3 0.9

Inflation rate

4.7 6.9 5.9 4.6 2.3 3.7 1.4 2.7 4.9 4.8 5.7 10.8 19.1 17.0 16.8 17.0 12.1 14.8 21.2 17.8 16.5 14.7 10.8 9.2 5.8 4.7 5.1 6.2 6.5 6.4 5.2 4.2

Sources: Banca d'ltalia, Relazione del Governatore, selected years; ISTAT, Statistiche sociali, 1981; ISTAT, Annuario di contabilita nazionale, selected years.


0.2 Macro-economic Trends

Table 3 Government expenditures as % of GDP per region, 1951-88 Region: Valle d'Aosta Piemonte Lombardia Trentino A.A. Veneto Friuli V.G. Liguria Emilia Romegna Toscana Umbria Marche Lazio Abruzzo Molise Campania Puglia Basilicata Calabria Sicilia Sardegna







7.1 5.4 4.8

7.4 5.8 5.2





6.6 5.8

6.7 6.3

8.2 6.9

9.8 8.0


13.6 10.0 15.9



9.5 9.2

9.3 9.3

14.8 10.2 15.8 10.2

12.2 14.7 15.3 21.3 15.6 16.3 13.8 16.7 17.7 16.6 16.0 18.1

10.5 12.7 12.5 20.9 14.5 19.2 14.4 14.1 16.8 17.7 16.1 18.4

14.7 10.7 14.2 13.3 10.5 12.6 16.3 13.4 18.5 15.6 19.1 19.7 18.5 22.1 24.5 19.3 21.1

8.1 12.4

7.0 8.1 8.9 9.2 9.7 19.4 11.9 11.9 13.2 12.2 11.4 12.5 13.2 13.4

9.5 15.3

9.6 13.5 12.3



10.7 12.7 13.2 21.3 15.3 20.5 15.3 15.1 17.8 18.8 17.1 19.3

11.2 12.7 11.6 18.7 14.0 17.1 17.9 16.2 17.6 19.9 16.9 19.0

Source: Istituto G. Tagliacarne, // reddito prodotto nelle provincie italiane, 1973 and 1990 (Milan: F. Angeli); author's calculations.

Table 4 Selected statistics on plants in the manufacturing and construction sectors, 1951-91

1951 1961 1971 1981 1991*

Number of plants

Number of employees

Mean number of employees per plant

634,939 622,064 662,478 955,768 827,474

4,067,958 5,306,122 6,057,119 7,011,535 6,354,288

6.41 8.53 9.14 7.33 7.68

* Provisional data. Source: Census of economic activities. Author's compilation.



southern regions acquired an industrial structure for the first time. Regions such as Piemonte, Liguria, and Valle d'Aosta lost positions in the regional ranking according to NDP per capita because their economic structure was still based on tradi tional large-scale industrial sectors. On the other hand, regions such as Veneto, Trentino, Marche, and, especially, Emilia Romagna, whose industrial structure was based on small business, become relatively wealthier. This model of economic development also involved a few southeastern regions, such as Abruzzi and Molise, although to a lesser extent. Among regions that industrialized early, only Lombardy kept its leading position, because of the development of areas of competitive small firms alongside large-scale plants (see table 5). Scholars have found an indi-

Table 5 Net domestic product at factor costs per capita of Italian regions, 1951-88 (index number on Italy average=100)

Valle d' Aosta Piemonte Lombardia Trentino A.A. Veneto Friuli V.G. Liguria Emilia Romegna Toscana Umbria Marche Lazio Abruzzi Molise Campania Puglia Basilicata Calabria Sicilia Sardegna Italy







154.6 142.5 147.2 113.5 89.4 100.6 163.1 108.4 105.1 88.2 86.0 111.1 66.5 56.9 69.3 67.3 58.2 56.8 67.4 78.9 100.0

149.5 133.3 140.6 102.4 97.7 100.7 141.6 115.8 107.6 88.4 85.4 111.0 66.3 61.0 69.8 68.6 55.3 55.2 67.5 70.3 100.0

129.6 126.9 134.0 101.1 100.7 109.0 136.6 116.1 106.6 87.7 87.2 110.5 72.9 61.5 68.2 69.8 60.7 55.0 72.3 76.9 100.0

134.5 125.2 132.0 104.6 98.9 112.5 135.7 116.6 107.0 91.4 86.7 111.4 73.9 62.3 67.5 70.2 62.5 56.1 72.5 77.5 100.0

127.5 117.0 130.3 118.5 109.5 111.8 113.9 130.4 110.1 105.3 105.9 101.0 86.2 76.6 66.4 72.5 69.5 57.5 67.6 73.5 100.0

124.5 117.1 132.4 116.4 114.1 114.5 116.9 124.0 110.2 93.6 102.1 113.0 85.6 73.7 65.2 70.1 61.4 55.0 66.8 73.5 100.0

* For 1980 and 1988, the data refer to value added per capita. Source'. Istituto G. Tagliacarne, // reddito prodotto nelle provincie italiane, 1973 and 1990 (Milan: F. Angeli).


0.2 Macro-economic Trends

rect but strong relationship, often affecting several generations, between the development of small industrial entrepreneurship and the presence of small-scale farmers in central Italy (Paci, 1982; Bagnasco, 1988). Since the 1970s, the decentralized family-run firm has represented an innovative response to the need for organizational change. This diffuse industrial system, based mainly on small business, is competitive at the international level because of several characteristics: first, it is backed by external economies that are based at the local level and organized through "industrial districts," areas in which one particular type of production is established and a network of small, independent firms is vertically or horizontally integrated. Thus, the district is a functional equivalent of the economies of scale. Second, the productive organization of small business is more flexible in the use of labour because industrial relations are more pragmatic and co-operative. Third, the social structure of the districts is characterized by social mobility, and the values of individualism and private initiative are largely shared both by employers and workers. In the 1980s, big business regained competitiveness with the introduction of major restructuring programs, investments in new flexible technologies, and the dismissal of unskilled labour, exploiting expensive state programs to mitigate the social consequences of technological unemployment (early-retirement schemes and unemployment compensation). Although these measures ensured social consent for the consequences of industrial restructuring, they worsened the public finances and caused the government to expand the public debt (see table 6), which in turn took resources away from productive investments and raised interest rates. During the second half of the 1980s the indebtedness of the public sector was increasingly due to interest paid, and from 1991 on the interest burden alone created an annual deficit equivalent to about 11 % of the GDP. Moreover, the introduction of new taxes reduced aggregate domestic demand, contributing to the economic slump of the 1990s. In spite of the structural instability of the economy and regional inequalities, the material well-being of Italians has improved substantially since the 1960s (see section 12). While economic development in northern and, especially, central Italy is based on spontaneous market mechanisms, the welfare of southern Italy is increasingly dependent on revenue transfers from the public sector (see table 3). At the end of the 1980s, more than 20% of the GDP of regions such as Calabria, Basili cata, and Sardinia was generated by government activity.



Table 6 Indebtedness of the Public Sector as % of GDP, 1960-92

Total state revenues

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

17.5 17.8 17.8 17.0 17.7 19.0 33.9 23.2 24.8 25.3 27.6 28.1 31.8 36.0 35.1 34.9 35.2 36.0 36.5 38.2 38.7 39.7 41.8

Total state expenditures

Annual net indebtedness of the state

Annual indebtedness not including interest

Interest paid on public debt

22.1 24.3 24.9 25.7 25.9 30.7 30.0 32.7 37.5 38.5 42.1 44.5 44.4 50.5 50.3 51.2 51.0 50.9 51.0 52.1 53.3 54.0 55.9

1.0 1.1 1.2 1.4 1.3 5.6 4.0 2.8 3.2 3.5 4.1 6.5 7.7 7.6 7.7 12.5 9.8 9.0 10.5 10.2 9.0 11.8 11.9 11.0 12.0 13.1 11.9 11.6 11.1 10.4 11.3 10.6 10.3

-.6 -.5 -.2 .1 0.0 4.2 2.5 1.0 1.4 1.6 2.3 4.2 5.1 4.9 4.6 8.5 5.5 4.7 5.4 5.0 3.6 5.2 4.5 3.4 3.5 4.6 3.0 3.1 2.9 1.2 1.4 .0 -1.1

7.6 8.2 8.2 8.6 8.1 8.3 9.0 9.7 10.3 11.5

Sources: author's calculations from ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche. 1926-1985 (Rome, 1988); Banca d'ltalia, Relazione del Governatore, Rome, 31 May 1993.


0.2 Macro-economic Trends

REFERENCES Bagnasco, A. 1988 La costruzione sociale del mercato. Bologna: II Mulino. Bianco, M.L., and Luciano, A. 1982 La sindrome di Archimede, Bologna: II Mulino. Boccella, N. 1987 "Uno sviluppo eterogeneo." In Ugo Ascoli and Raimondo Catanzaro (eds.), La societa italiana degli anni ottanta. Bari: Laterza. Boyer, R., and Wolleb, E. 1988 Laflessibilita del lavoro in Europa. Milan: F.Angeli. Brusco, S. 1982 "The Emilian Model: Productive Decentralization and Social Integration." Cambridge Journal of Economics, no. 2. Franco, D. 1993 L'espansione della spesa pubblica in Italia. 1969-1990. Bologna: II Mulino. Fua, G. 1976 Occupazione e capacita produttiva. la realta italiana. Bologna: II Mulino. Graziani, A. 1975 Crisi e ristrutturazione dell'economia italiana. Turin: Einaudi. Graziani, A., ed. 1979 L'economia italiana dal 1945 ad oggi. Bologna: II Mulino. Istituto Tagliacarne 1992 // reddito prodotto nelle provincie italiane. Milan: F.Angeli. Morcaldo, G. 1993 La finanza pubblica in Italia. 1960-1992. Bologna: II Mulino. Paci, M. 1982 // mutamento della struttura sociale italiana. Bologna: II Mulino. Piore, M.J., and Sabel, C.F 1984 The Second Industrial Divide. Possibilities for Prosperity. New York: Basic Books. Regini, M., and Sabel, C.F. (eds.) 1989 Strategic di riaggiustamento industriale. Bologna: II Mulino. Salvati, M. 1980 Alle origini dell'inflazione italiana. Bologna: II Mulino. 1984 Economia e politica in Italia dal dopoguerra ad oggi. Milan: Garzanti. Svimez 1993 Rapporto sulla distribuzione Nord-Sud della spesa pubblica. Bologna: II Mulino. Trigilia, C. 1992 Sviluppo senza autonomia. Bologna: II Mulino.



0.3 Macro-technological Trends Due to the structure of Italy's dependence on foreign sources of energy, the oil crisis of the 1970s did not strongly affect the kinds of energy sources used. There was an increase in imports of natural gas, rather than of oil. Since the 1970s, Italy's economic competitiveness has been increasingly based on technological innovation, especially in small firms, which have adopted flexible strategies in order to devise innovative products and processes. The role of the state in promoting innovation and research activity has traditionally been inadequate. Gross domestic expenditures on scientific research increased moderately in the 1980s, but were constantly below 1.35% of GDP, or less than a half of those in West Germany.

Between 1960 and 1985, electricity consumption almost quadrupled, while consumption of natural gas more than quintupled. Thus, energy sources have diversified; nevertheless, Italy is still very dependent on foreign sources of energy. Energy consumption is closely related to pace of economic development, and was affected by the oil crises of 1974 and 1980 (see table 1). The average annual increase in electricity consumption during the 1960s was 8.4%. In the following decade the trend decreased considerably, to an average of 5.0%, but new energy-saving technologies had an effect only during the 1980s, when the average annual increase diminished dramatically, to 1.9%, demand that has been satisfied mainly through electricity imports from abroad, because domestic gross production remained fairly steady during the first half of the 1980s. Labour productivity, which during the 1950s and the 1960s was based mainly on wages lower than those in competing countries, has become more and more dependent on technological innovation and labour organization since the 1970s. As transformations in labour organization are discussed in section 4, we shall concentrate here only on technological trends, although the two dimensions are closely related. The economic boom of the 1950s was very dependent on technology imports from other industrialized European countries, and competitiveness relied on low labour costs. Also in the second half of the 1960s, restructuring was based mainly on internal organizational changes aimed at increasing the pace of work, extending overtime, and individual incentives (Graziani, 1979). There were major financial reorganizations related to consequences of nationalization of the energy sector, which provided rich compensation to the private financial holdings of the electricenergy sector. In the 1970s, restructuring was based on productive decentraliza-


0.3 Macro-technological Trends

Table 1 Energy production and consumption, 1960-85

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985

Gross electricity production (million kwh)

Total electricity consumption (million kwh)

Total natural-gas consumption (million cubic metres)

56,240 60,565 64,859 71,344 76,739 82,968 89,993 96,829 104,011 110,447 117,423 124,860 135,261 145,518 148,905 147,101 163,550 166,545 175,041 181,264 185,741 181,656 184,444 182,880 182,669 185,740

47,584 51,275 56,951 62,769 67,073 72,515 78,881 85,412 92,139 98,271 105,637 109,933 117,279 125,829 130,962 128,639 141,122 146,185 151,955 160,012 163,645 162,798 164,952 164,302 173,441 177,509

6,447 6,863 7,151 7,267 7,634 7,742 8,433 9,206 10,737 11,890 12,884 13,175 15,295 17,168 19,254 22,037 26,641 26,173 27,159 27,436 27,432 26,601 26,601 26,385 21,154 33,001

Source: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche. 1926-1985.

tion, which gave rise to a new system of technologically advanced small firms. While the index number of occupation in the larger industrial plants (more than 500 employees) fell constantly, from 100 in 1970 to 67 in 1991 (Piacentini, 1994), subcontractors began to devise innovative products and processes that gave them independent access to markets. Decentralized industries began selling their products directly abroad rather than supplying large firms for subsequent export, a change reflected in the newborn machine-tool industry. At the end of the 1970s, Italy ranked behind West Germany but well ahead of France and Great Britain as Europe's second-largest producer of numeric-control equipment and robotics



(Piore and Sabel, 1984: 226-7). Table 2 provides data on this development since the end of the 1970s. According to research carried in 1985, the most innovative sectors were as follows, in descending order: office automation, pharmaceuticals, artificial fibres, measurement devices, machines and mechanical devices, and chemistry. The main innovations are related to new products, new types of labour organization, and innovations in the productive process. Another important example of innovation is the production and use of robots in manufacturing industries. In 1985, the import-export balance for robots was tipped in favour of Italian industry: 270 robots imported against 422 exported, of which 20.9% went to West Germany, 20.4% to France, and 12.6% to the United States (UCIMU, 1988). Nevertheless, generally, Italy is a traditional net importer of patents and licenses. The balance of payments of patents and licenses has been always negative, although in the second half of the 1980s, the situation was improving as far as the licenses were concerned (see table 3). Technological innovation and organizational change affected productivity levels. The major increases in productivity were attained during the industrial take-off of the 1950s, when average annual productivity increases exceeded 10% in chemistry and production of means of transport (see table 4). In the 1980s, productivity gains took place mainly after the economic crisis at the beginning of the decade (see table 5). Compared with the other seven major industrialized countries, Italy was second, after Japan, in productivity increases between 1983 and 1989 (Tronti, 1991). Productivity increases in the service sector were moderate, especially in government-supplied services, where the government lost efficiency especially during the 1980s.

Table 2 Number of robots used in selected production processes, 1979-85

1979* 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985








28 37 45 95 207 274 238

233 37 102 213 222 196 216

9 8 32 45 79 57 117

55 11 25 32 105 76 117

n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. 6 24 46

16 20 33 67 88 108 99

341 113 237 452 707 735 725

*Cumulative data. Source: Chamber of Commerce of Milan, 1988.


0.3 Macro-technological Trends

Table 3 Selected data on scientific research in Italy, 1985-91 Gross domestic expenditures in million dollars for scientific research, number of researchers, patents and licences.

1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991

Gross domestic expenditures ($ million)

Expenses as % of GDP

Number of researchers

7,633 8,064 8,995. 9,894 10,798 12,484 13,076

1.12 1.14 1.19 1.23 1.29 1.35 1.35

61,979 63,759 67,844 70,556 74,833 76,074 77,876

Balance of payments: licences ($million) patents ($million) ^64,340 -564,849 ^54,021 -766,819 -593,656 -302,182

-100,756 -73,002 -92,012 -120,996 -102,236 -75,939

Source: OECD reported by ISTAT, "Statistiche della ricerca scientifica," Collana d'informazione, 1993, no. 3.

Table 4 Average annual increase in hourly productivity in selected economic sectors, 1953-92 (%) 1953-63 Food Textiles Metal Chemistry Means of transport Manufacturing Agriculture Communications and transport Banking and insurance Market services Government services Total economy

4.6 4.8 8.6 10.8 10.9 8.7








8.0 6.2 1.6 .8 6.7

1.8 5.7 2.1 1.7

6.7 3.3 3.3 -7.0



2.1 4.8 1.0 -3.3

5.3 4.1 4.0 2.0 0.0


Sources: Banca d'ltalia, Relazlone annuale, selected years; ISTAT, Annuario di contabilita naiionale, selected years; ISTAT, Rapporto annuale 1992; Ministero del lavoro e della previdenza sociale, Report '90- '91.



Table 5 Productivity and plant usage in manufacturing industries, 1971-92

1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

Labour cost by production unit at constant prices

% of plant use

8.0 4.8 -1.5 -2.1 9.8 ^1.5 0.6 -3.9 -1.8 -6.9 1.7 0.6 1.8 -5.4 -2.3 -2.1 -2.3 -2.9 0.5 0.4 -1.0 -1.6

94.6 90.6 86.8 88.3 91.0 89.3 90.4 91.5 94.5 95.4 94.6 92.2 91.0

Sources: Banca d'ltalia, Relazione del Governatore, Rome, 1993; ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche 1926-1985, Rome, 1988. Author's compilation.

Gross domestic expenditures on scientific research, although increasing moderately in the 1980s, were constantly below 1.35% of the GDP, or less than half of those in West Germany, Japan, or the United States and just more than half of those in France (OECD, 1993). The role of the state in promoting scientific research was slowly but constantly increasing. Foreign sources of funding were below 2% during the 1970s, but tripled by 1990 (see table 5). Consequently, firms' contribution to research was constantly diminishing.


0.3 Macro-technological Trends

Table 6 Research funding by source, 1974-90


Total (million lire)

Government (%)

Business (%)

Foreign sources (%)

1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990

916,893 1,168,193 1,352,865 1,684,110 1,866,862 2,287,926 2,897,274 4,055,335 4,915,678 6,027,005 7,358,951 9,132,902 10,189,139 11,696,035 13,281,284 14,800,669 17,001,221

46.73 47.15 48.83 51.44 48.33 43.91 45.35 47.21 48.54 52.40 53.42 51.74 55.29 53.95 51.83 49.48 51.50

51.74 51.04 49.60 47.25 50.02 54.66 52.07 50.08 48.50 45.06 43.46 44.62 40.27 41.73 43.93 46.40 43.75

1.53 1.81 1.57 1.31 1.65 1.43 2.58 2.71 2.96 2.54 3.12 3.64 4.44 4.32 4.24 4.12 4.75

Source: ISTAT, "Statistiche della ricerca scientifica," Collana di informazione, 1993, no. 3. Author's compilation.


Eni 1993 Rapporto sull'energia 1992. Bologna: II Mulino. Graziani, A., ed. 1979 L'economia italiana dal 1945 ad oggi. Rev. ed. Bologna: II Mulino. OECD 1993 Basic Science and Technology Statistics. Paris. Piacentini, P. 1994 "Orario di lavoro e occupazione." Paper presented at Riduzione dell'orario e occupazione. Cagliari, 29 April. Piore, M., and Sabel, C.F. 1984 The Second Industrial Divide. New York: Basic Books. Reyneri, E. 1988 "L'innovazione produttiva nella rete delle relazioni sociali." Stato e Mercato, no. 23.



Tronti, L. 1991 "Distribuzione del guadagni di produttivita e livelli di contrattazione." In Cnel, Retribuzione, costo del lavoro, livelli di contrattazione, 3, Rome. UCIMU (ed.) 1988 L'industria italiana della maccina utensile: automazione e robotica. Milan: Ufficio studi economic!.

1 Age Groups

Measured simply in terms of years, youth and old age are stages in the life cycle that constantly involve different people. The young and the elderly do not constitute a stable social grouping; rather, they represent the expression of a social condition - more specifically, that of a particular duration. Belonging to an "age group" means sharing many of the values, attitudes, and problems inherent to a specific stage of the life cycle. Since the war, profound demographic changes have taken place in Italy, as have changes in the way the various life-cycle stages are perceived. As far as elderly people are concerned, we stress a significant series of countertrends that modify the traditional profile of old people in early industrial society, in which relatively few lived to be very old, they were poorly educated, and they had low incomes and few assets. In the very near future, in contrast, there will be far more elderly people, in both absolute and relative terms. In 1981, people aged over 55 accounted for 23% of the population; in 2000 they will account for around 28%. The rising number of elderly people has led to a change in the equilibrium between the generations and raised questions about the "social pact" between them. This is having a variety of effects: 1) the growing number of elderly people will create an increasing burden on the national health system and, consequently, will require ever higher contributions from the working population; 2) family support, which was once ensured by the extended family, now has a reduced intrinsic capacity to support family members as a result of the growing tendency for women to work outside the home; 3) today, perhaps for the first time in history, one person can be both parent, grandparent, and son or daughter at the age of 50-60 (with a living parent), with the emotional burden that such a situation entails in terms of role playing, problems of personal identity, and responsibilities. Another counter-trend concerns the increasing "power" of elderly people (higher income and better education, health, and planning capacity) compared with their former "weakness." The quantitative and qualitative changes in the elderly as a group have brought to light the lack of coherence in the approaches and instruments


Age Groups

of public services; these often seem to work as if they were dealing with the elderly persons of the past, who were weak and poor. The signs of these counter-trends become even more apparent if we consider the evolutionary trend in the stages of the life cycle, which is erasing the once rigid borders between temporal sequences marking the various stages of a person's life. The times at which one begins a professional career and gets married take now place at a considerably later stage for young people, and the length of time between these two events is growing. The entry into the world of work, traditionally the threshold between adolescence and adulthood, is now a longer and more complex process. By virtue of both more education and growing expectations, many young people, thanks to financial support from their families (with fewer children), are now able to postpone the choice of a more stable job, often alternating or combining periods of study and temporary work, or simply waiting for the job they want. The traditional study-work-retirement sequence - which was once almost universally accepted - is now being challenged. Today, this sequence does not necessarily preclude other possibilities; indeed, the possibility always exists to return to the previous phase. An elderly person may begin to study or work again, while a working-age adult may opt for early retirement and then take up a new job, and a young student may gain work experience and then return to school.

1.1 Young People The condition of young people has changed significantly over the last 35 years. The transition to adulthood now takes more time than in the past and comes about in a different way. The social condition of youth in contemporary Italy is in many ways similar to youth in other industrialized countries.

The social condition of youth in contemporary Italy is in many ways similar to that of youth in other industrialized countries. Youth is a social status rather than an age cohort, as it was in pre-industrial societies. It is tending to last longer and longer, because of more extensive schooling and delayed entry into the labour market. Most young people experience status inconsistency, since they are considered adults in some respects, with the rights and obligations of adults (e.g., voting rights), while in other respects they are still dependent on others for financial support. There are, however, also significant differences in their relations with their parents (half of 29-year-old men and 25% of 29-year-old women still live with


1.1 Young People

their parents) and in their attitudes toward marriage and children (Italians tend to marry later and there are significantly fewer unmarried couples and single-parent families). Studies on life style, behaviour models, and values applying to such concepts as age, generations, counterculture, class, and marginal groups have produced diverse results, showing the difficulties inherent in analyzing the world of today's youth and in highlighting the processes of change affecting young people in the context of modern society. While some studies consider young people to be divorced from the cultural models of the past or those prevalent among adults, others do not appear to perceive any notable generational change and regard the problems encountered by today's young people as identical to those of previous generations. Thus, the researchers who consider young people to be the protagonists of a "silent revolution" (Inglehart, 1977) within society in terms of values, cultural models, and beliefs are balanced out by others who feel that today's youth represent a "reflex reaction" and are either indifferent to or have rejected traditional values and political ideologies, without having new ones to advance. According to some investigators, young people express the crisis in collective confidence, ideologies, and peer groups. Others, in contrast, feel that deep socio-cultural changes in the behaviour of young people have emerged. One factor that emerges clearly from the most recent studies on young people is that this social condition is currently changing again: with the decline in birth rates, there is a tendency to prolong youth and delay entry into adulthood (see table 1). While it is undoubtedly present in other countries, the phenomenon of "extended adolescence" has reached considerable quantitative dimensions in Italy. One of the leading national studies in this area reveals that some 80% of young Italians Table 1 Young Italians (14-29 years) by age group, 1951-91 (%)

14years 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991*

6.2 7.0 6.5 7.0 5.4

Age group: 15-19 20-24



32.0 32.6 33.6 30.5 32.2

30.3 30.0 28.3 27.8 32.5

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

31.5 30.3 31.6 34.7 30.0

* At 1 January 1991. Source: ISTAT, Censimenti 1951-1961-1971-1981-1991; ISTAT, Popolazione e Movimento Anagrafico dei comuni, anno 1990: Annuario n° 3 ed. 1992.


Age Groups

between the ages of 15 and 29 still live in the family home. It is both for personal reasons and because of objective difficulties that young Italians delay their entry into the adult world represented by a steady job and starting their own family (Cavalli and de Lillo, 1993). This fact obviously has significant consequences for family structure, for relationships between generations, and for the prevailing concept of adulthood itself (Rosci, 1994). The fact that young people remain under their parents' roof for a long time is the result of and sustained by a family unit that protects and reassures its children and can offer them a prolonged context of protection, support, and well-being. This may be interpreted as the effect of a process of democratization and modernization that has affected the family institution over the last 20 years, as we argue in the introduction. As family relationships have changed, generational conflict has lessened and the parent-child relationship has become less authoritarian. Children live longer with their parents because there is greater autonomy and equality and less conflict within the home and they do not feel the need to leave as strongly. One of the main implications of this fact is that the boundaries between the various life-cycle stages - particularly between youth and adulthood - are becoming less clearly defined, to the point that it is now difficult to determine exactly when a young person becomes an adult. This is because the traditional "rites of passage" into adulthood (completion of education, steady job, leaving the parental home, marriage, parenthood) tend to be deferred to an increasingly later age. Structural conditions related to education and the labour market also help to explain this phenomenon. Mass education began to become available in the 1960s; by the 1980s, it was at levels just below the average in other European countries. More young people attend school, and they tend to study for longer than in the past. Percentages of young people in school by age group in relation to various levels of education are particularly revealing of the extent to which the Italian education system "covers" its demand (see table 2). The level of schooling in the Table 2 Education rate per age groups, 1981-90 (%) Age group

3-15 6-13* 14-18 19-24






81.9 103.1 51.7 14.3

88.4 102.9 56.6 13.6

87.3 103.2 60.3 14.0

85.6 102.5 62.5 14.6

90.5 103.1 65.3 15.2

* The value is above 100 because of students repeating. Source: Censis, XXIV Rapporto 1990 sulla situazione sociale del paese. Milan: Franco Angeli, 1990.


1.1 Young People

compulsory-education age group (from 6 to 13 years of age) often exceeds 100% because of children above that age returning to school or repeating years. The figures in table 2 highlight the process of increasing levels of education: at the beginning of the 1980s, only 51.7% of young people aged 14 to 18 were still in school, while the proportion rose to 65.3% for 1989-90. The proportion of university students also began to rise again after a period of stagnation in the 1980s. Between the end of schooling and entry into the job market, there is a gap that varies in duration, depending on objective difficulties related to the supply of work, and on subjective considerations (the individual weighs up the available opportunities to get a job that most closely corresponds to the level of education achieved and personal expectations). Financial support provided by the family enables young people to delay a definitive work choice until they have explored their own personal capabilities and market demand by means of various part-time or temporary jobs (Martinelli and Chiesi, 1993). Unemployment among young people is of considerable proportions, particularly in southern Italy. Official statistics show that the unemployment rate for young people in central and northern Italy is under 20%, while the figure is close to 50% in the south. Youth unemployment rates also differ according to sex. In 1992, unemploymen for young men aged 20-24 was 25.6%, while it was 34.7% for women in that age group. Similarly, unemployment among young men aged 25-29 rose from 5.6% i 1978 to 12.7% in 1992; the figure for young women in that age group rose fro 12.8% to 23.2% (see table 3).

Table 3 Unemployment rate per sex and age group, 1978-92 (%)

1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992


Males aged: 20-24

24.9 25.0 32.3 35.9 37.1 35.2 32.4 35.3

18.1 18.0 21.0 22.9 24.5 25.7 23.1 25.6



5.8 6.1 7.4 8.9 10.0 12.0 11.0 12.

38.1 39.2 45.1 52.7 50.8 49.9 46.6 47.8

Source: ISTAT, Annuario Statistiche del Lavoro, 1978-1992.

Females aged: 20-24 23.9 24.8 28.5 34.4 37.0 37.5 34.3 34.7

25-29 12.8 13.4 15.7 18.8 21.3 24.5 23.4 23.3


Age Groups

Gender inequalities related to type of occupation are diminishing. Not only did young people make progress in professional occupations in the 1980s, but women are gradually moving into professional categories that were previously the exclusive preserve of men (see table 4). Educational qualification continues to be the key credential for entering the world of work. Most young working people have a senior-secondary-school diploma, while those who left school at 14 have a far higher unemployment rate than those with a high-school education or more (see table 5). Unemployment rates are lower among college and university graduates. As mentioned above, the phenomenon of young people remaining in the parental home is becoming increasingly significant in Italy. In recent years, the proportion of young people opting to remain "at home" rose (from 49% in 1983 to 52% in 1993). The greatest increase has been recorded among young men in the 20-24 and 25-29 age groups (see table 6). The greatest number of these young people are students (see table 7). An analysis of young people's value systems reveals several methodological problems, partly due to the various meanings of "value" and partly due to the stage of the life cycle examined (among young people value systems are not yet firmly rooted, but subject to constant transformation). Table 8 sheds some light on various viewpoints taken by young people in connection with certain important aspects of their lives. These responses may be considered indicative of an underlying value system. The first significant datum is the stability of values over the last decade. From 1983 to 1992, young people's values moved closer to the private sphere - family and friends. The family continued to occupy top spot (82% in 1983, 83% in 1987, 86% in 1992), bearing out the strength and persistence of family ties in Italy. This result is clearly linked to the phenomenon of the "extended" family described above: it is a result of persistent familism and of the transformation of the family role, which can provide young people with the security and support that they seem unable to find in the external environment (see table 9). Table 4 Employed people aged 14-29 years per type of employment, 1981, 1988, 1989 (000)

Manager, entrepreneur Self-employed Employee Total


Males 1988



Females 1988


60 408 2,670 3,365

74 425 2,516 3,257

83 425 2,518 3,235

14 137 1,887 2,183

28 175 1,860 2,200

28 170 1,878 2,196

Source: Censis, XXIV Rapporto 1990 sulla situazione sociale delpaese. Milan: Franco Angeli, 1990.


1.1 Young People

Table 5 Individuals aged 14—29 years working and on the job market per level of education, 1986-89 (%)

In the labour force: No schooling or primary school High school College University Total Employees: No schooling or primary school High school College University Total On the job market No schooling primary school High school College University Total




11.0 55.6 30.7




55.5 32.3

55.6 33.8

55.6 33.8














57.5 28.8

57.6 30.6

58.1 31.1

58.1 31.8









11.2 50.2 36.0

10.7 50.1 36.5

10.2 49.0 38.3

48.7 39.3










Source: Censis, xxiv Rapporto 1990 sulla situazione sociale del paese. Milan: Franco Angeli, 1990.

Table 6 Children who live with parents per sex and age, 1983, 1990 (%)



Age group: 25-29

1983: Males Females Total

98.5 93.8 96.1

88.9 63.6 75.9

47. 1 22.4 34.5

1990: Males Females Total

98.8 94.8 96.8

88.4 70.8 79.6

50.0 28.1 39.0

Source: ISTAT, Rapporto Annuale 1993.




57.7 40.4 49.0

7.5 11.8 17.8

9.6 13.7

59.1 44.5 51.8


Age Groups

Table 7 Children who live with parents per age and type of employment, 1983, 1990 (%)


1983: Manager, enterpreneur White collar Self-employed Workers Looking for job Homemaker Student Other Total 1990: Manager, enterpreneur White collar Self-employed Worker Looking for job Homemaker Student Other Total

Age group: 20-24 25-29



0.1 5.0 2.6 14.2 27.2 5.2 38.5 7.2 100.0

0.8 19.2 6.2 16.0 26.4 3.4 21.9 6.1 100.0

4.2 32.6 9.8 13.4 20.9 2.8 12.3 4.0 100.0

8.7 36.5 11.7 13.0 16.2 4.9 2.9 6.1 100.0

1.8 19.3 6.3 14.8 24.8 3.9 23.0 6.1 100.0

0.1 6.3 3.4 14.1 17.2 2.9 50.5 5.5 100.0

1.1 25.2 6.1 14.1 22.2 2.6 24.5 4.2 100.0

4.7 38.7 10.0 12.4 18.6 1.9 11.2 2.5 100.0

9.9 43.2 12.0 11.0 14.2 3.3 1.6 4.8 100.0

2.3 25.2 6.8 13.5 19.7 2.6 25.8 4.1 100.0

Source: ISTAT, Rapporto Annuale 1993.

Table 8 Opinion on the most important thing in life by people aged 15-29 years, 1983-92 (%)*

1983 Family Job Friends Political commitment Religious commitment Social commitment Cultural interests Leisure and free time Sport

81.9 67.7 58.4 43.6 34.1 32.1 21.9 12.2 4.0

Very important 1987 1992

82.9 66.6 60.9 2.8 12.4 17.9 32.2 44.2 31.9

85.6 60.2 70.6 3.7 13.2 23.5 36.4 54.4 36.1

1983 0.2 0.8 0.7 0.7 5.6 6.6 6.7 18.4 26.3

Not at all important 1987 1992 0.2 0.4 0.7 28.7 15.7 7.2 6.9 1.5 8.8

0.2 0.8 0.5 32.9 18.6 7.6 7.2 1.0 8.3

* Respondents were aged 15-24 years in 1983 and 1987, and 15-29 years in 1992. Sample size, 1983: 2,000; sample size, 1987, 2,000; sample size, 1992: 1,245. Multiple responses. Source: Cavalli, de Lillo, 1983, 1987, 1992.


1.1 Young People

Table 9 Level of confidence in selected groups, 1983-92 (%)*

Civil servants Teachers Banks Police Union leaders Priests Government Armed forces Politicians Judges Carabineers


Very high 1987



None 1987


2.7 10.3 10.3 18.4 3.7 8.5 3.2 6.9 1.6 9.2 14.2

2.2 9.6 9.1 18.4 2.3 11.1 4.8 6.5 1.6 8.2 13.4

1.6 8.5 9.1 18.2 3.4 12.7 2.4 7.2 1.3 7.4 16.3

21.9 4.1 6.7 6.9 21.6 19.6 24.3 19.0 30.5 12.3 10.9

18.1 6.0 5.8 6.2 20.6 17.4 15.8 21.9 25.6 11.2 8.8

28.1 7.0 6.5 6.0 22.4 17.0 31.1 22.0 39.7 15.8 10.7

* Multiple responses. Sample size, 1983: 2,000; sample size, 1987, 2,000; sample size, 1992: 1,245. Source: Cavalli, de Lillo, 1983, 1987, 1992.

Young people tend to enjoy their leisure time more and more, while work and school are becoming less important. This does not necessarily mean that they are inclined toward self-gratification. In a context where their value systems are increasingly centred around the private sphere of intimate and close interpersonal relationships, it might mean a greater commitment to religion (see table 10), an increased social awareness, or an emphasis on private leisure. A variety of value hierarchies coexist among young people; as with their parents, level of education plays a decisive role in the respective value system. Of particular interest is the secularization of politics. Over the last ten years, this trend has become increasingly marked, though it does not necessarily signify that young people have abandoned politics altogether. The great ideologies are no longer the basic element underpinning the identities of the younger generations. Politics is viewed, above all, as synonymous with social commitment. The growing number of associations and voluntary organizations point to this. Political involvement is not on the wane, but it is taking new forms (the Greens, the Leagues, etc.). Social and political involvement have a new profile: the traditional "right-left" political rainbow now includes new shades of colour, such as "religious-secular" and "new-old" dimensions within political institutions and the "intransigence-apathy" dimension at the level of public ethics (see tables 9 to 13).


Age Groups

Table 10 Opinion regarding the importance of religion by people aged 15-29 years, 1983-92 (%)*

Very much Much Somewhat Not very Not at all Don't know



7.3 19.6 37.1 24.0 11.5 0.5

8.4 22.4 38.1 22.7 8.1 0.4

1992 10.4 22.5 36.6 19.5 10.1 1.0

* Respondents were aged 15-24 years in 1983 and 1987, and 15-29 years in 1992. Sample size, 1983: 2,000; sample size, 1987, 2,000; sample size, 1992: 1,245. Source: Cavalli, de Lillo, 1983, 1987, 1992.

Table 11 Political orientations of people aged 15-29 years 1983-92 (%)*

MSI (right wing) DC (Catholic) PCI, PDS, DP, RC (left wing, Marxist) PSI, PRI, PSDI, PLI, RP (traditional nonreligious centre) VERDI, LEGHE, RETE (new political parties)




7.8 29.2 30.0 33.0 0.0

6.8 37.8 25.4 25.2 4.7

5.4 28.9 16.1 17.1 32.5

* Respondents were aged 15-24 years in 1983 and 1987, and 15-29 years in 1992. Sample size, 1983: 2,000; sample size, 1987, 2,000; sample size, 1992: 1,245. Source: Cavalli, de Lillo, 1987-92.

Table 12 Attitudes toward politics by people aged 15-29 years, 1983-92 (%)*

Involved Interested, not committed It's for other people It's disgusting Don't know




3.2 44.2 40.0 12.0 0.6

2.3 39.3 42.1 15.8 0.6

3.3 39.4 36.4 20.4 0.4

* Respondents were aged 15-24 years in 1983 and 1987, and 15-29 years in 1992. Sample size, 1983: 2,000; sample size, 1987, 2,000; sample size, 1992: 1,245. Source: Cavalli, de Lillo, 1983, 1987, 1992.


1.1 Young People

Table 13 Participation at least once in associations or groups in previous 3 months by people aged 15-29 years, 1987, 1992 (%)*

Political organization Labour organization Religious organization Sports (participating) Sports (viewing) Cultural organization Recreational organization Relief organization Student organization Ecological organization



3.1 1.5 16.9 27.3 11.9 8.8 5.3 4.5 10.5 3.5

3.0 1.7 6.1 5.2 4.5 7.6 7.3 4.1 6.4 4.1

* Respondents were aged 15-24 years in 1987, and 15-29 years in 1992. Sample size, 1983: 2,000; sample size, 1987, 2,000; sample size, 1992: 1,245. Source: Cavalli, de Lillo, 1987-92.

REFERENCES Cavalli, A. (ed.) 1985 // tempo del giovani. Bologna: II Mulino. Cavalli, A., et al. 1984 Giovani oggi. Indagine lard sulla condizione giovanile in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Cavalli, A. and de Lillo, A. (eds.) 1988 / Giovani anni 80. Secondo rapporto lard sulla condizione giovanile in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. 1993 / Giovani anni 90. Terzo rapporto lard sulla condizione giovanile in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Donati, P. 1991 "Giustizia distributiva e generazioni." In Politiche Sociali per I'infanzia e I'adolescenza. Milano: Unicopli. Inglehart, R. 1977 The Silent Revolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Martinelli, A., and Chiesi, A.M. 1993 "Che cosa e il lavoro per le nuove generazioni." // Mulino 1: 43-53. Massa, R. (ed.) 1988 L'adolescenza: immagine e trattamento. Milan: F. Angeli.


Age Groups

Massa, R., and Demetrio, D. (eds.) 1991 Le vite normali. Una ricerca sulle storie diformazione dei giovani. Milan: Unicopli. Mingione, E. and Pugliese, E. 1993 "La disoccupazione." In M. Paci (ed.), Le dimensioni delta disuguaglianza. Bologna: II Mulino. Ricolfi, L., Scamuzzi, S., and Sciolla, L. 1988 Essere Giovani a Torino. Turin: Rosenberg e Sellier. Rosci, E. 1994 "Le lunghe adolescenze dell'Italia d'oggi." In Ginsborg, P. (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: II Saggiatore. Scabini, E., and Donati, P. (eds.) 1988 La famiglia lunga del giovane adulto. Studi interdisciplinari sulla famiglia. Milan: Vita e Pensiero. Sciolla, L. and Ricolfi, L. 1988 Vent'anni dopo. Saggio su una generazione senza ricordi. Bologna: II Mulino.

1.2 The Elderly The ageing of the population is a socio-demographic trend that has been growing for many years. In 1861, those over 60 years of age accounted for less than 7% of the population; those over 80, around 0.4%. In 1961, these proportions had risen to 11.3% and 1.8%, respectively. By 1991, the figures had risen further (up to 14.8% and 3.2%, respectively). In the 1990s, the ageing index stands at 91.2%, compared to 34% in 1961. Many elderly people enjoy better health and a higher income and are better educated and more independent than in the past. Italy is becoming an "aged society," with several consequences for families, social services, and life styles. There is a difference in life spans between the two sexes. Life expectancy is considerably greater for women; the number of women over 80 years of age has risen, from 58.5% in 1961 to 67% in 1991 (see table 1). This is attributed to various factors, psychological rather than biological. The large number of studies carried out on the elderly and the problems of ageing indicate that women are better able to adapt to role changes (they fulfil a number of roles during their lives); they are less directly involved in working and therefore less susceptible to the feelings of uselessness that often arise upon retirement. Because they live longer, the main


1.2 The Elderly

Table 1 Selected data on the elderly, 1961-91

Population 65 and over (% of total population) Population 80 and over (% of total population) Population 80 and over (% of total 65 and over) Women 65 and over (% of total 65 and over) Women 80 and over (% of total 80 and over) Old age index" Number of elderly per child6


























58.5 38.9

62.5 46.2

67.1 61.7

67.4 72.7

67.0 91.2






a. Population 65 and over per 100 children 15 years old. b. Population 65 and over per 100 children under 5 years old. Source: ISTAT, Immagini della societa italiana, 1988 (1961, 1987); author's calculations from ISTAT data (1971, 1981, 1990).

age-related problems affect women more. Women over 65 account for 60% of the population in this age group, according to the 1991 census, and forecasts indicate that this proportion will increase: it is projected that in 2001, there will be 135 elderly women for every 100 elderly men (see table 2). Projections suggest that the ageing process will continue to evolve and that there will be a further rise in average life expectancy in the more elderly age Table 2 Population by selected age groups, 1989, 1991, and projections 1993-2038 (%)

Under 5 5-14 60-74 75 and over




5.3 13.0 12.6 4.5

5.2 12.0 13.0 4.8

5.2 11.3 13.8 4.5

Projections 2003 5.0 10.6 15.3 5.7




4.1 9.8 16.7 7.1

3.9 8.4 19.6 8.1

3.7 8.3 25.0 10.9

* Population as of January 1. Source: ISTAT, Introducing Italy, 1993 (Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, Dipartimento per rinformazione e Peditoria).


Age Groups

groups (see table 2). The social cost of this trend is currently a topic of debate. Questions are raised concerning the falling number of working people, revisions to the pensionable age (the new pension law approved by the Italian parliament in 1995 raised the pensionable age), various ways of bringing elderly people back into the community, and so on. Beyond the enormous and wide-reaching social programmes, the most important aspect to be considered is that in addition to increasing in number, the elderly of the future will be different from today's elderly people. The overall improvement in living standards, the growth and spread of economic wealth, and the higher level of education will bring about a qualitative change in this population segment. The majority of the elderly will be people with high aspirations, numerous resources, and plans for the future. The steep rise in the number of elderly people, linked to the newfound "power" of elderly individuals, as opposed to their previous "weakness," is bringing about a change in the social relations between generations and in the roles of public and private institutions. Research and statistics suggest that today elderly individuals have a higher income, both because they are of pensionable age, and because they remain active for longer (in 1991, some 33% of those over 60 were still in the labour force: 23% between 60 and 64,7.7% between 65 and 70, and 2.4% 71 and over). Elderly people are employed predominantly in the services sector and agriculture (see tables 3 and 4). Table 3 Population active in the labour market, age, and sex, 1991

Males: 15-70 60-64 65-70 7 1 and over Females: 15-70 60-64 65-70 7 1 and over Males and females: 15-70 60-64 65-70 7 1 and over Source: 1ST AT, Rapporto Annuale, 1992.

Active (%)

Not active (%)

Total (000)

65.3 37.2 12.6 4.3

34.7 62.8 87.4 95.7

23,315 1,562 1,520 1,827

35.9 10.0 3.9 1.1

64.1 90.0 96.1 98.9

25,120 1,746 1,963 2,937

50.1 22.8 7.7 50.1

49.9 77.2 92.3 49.9

48,435 3,308 3,483 48,435


1.2 The Elderly

Table 4 Working population by economic sector, age, and sex, 1991 Agriculture (%)

Industry (%)

Services (%)

Total (000)

8.3 22.2 34.7 39.6

37.3 21.0 14.2 14.3

54.4 56.8 51.1 46.1

14,102 572 190 76

8.8 21.1 30.8 29.0

22.1 7.4 7.9 15.4

69.1 71.5 61.3 55.6

7,491 172 75 31

8.4 22.0 33.4 36.4

32.0 17.8 12.4 15.0

59.5 60.2 54.1 48.6

21,592 744 266 108

Males: 15-70 60-64 65-70 7 1 and over Females: 15-70 60-64 65-70 71 and over Males and females: 15-70 60-64 65-70 7 1 and over Source: ISTAT, Rapporto Annuale, 1992.

They enjoy better health, since the standards of food provision and health care have improved considerably. In 1991, some 44% of men aged 65-79 said that they were in good health, compared to 39% of women in the same age group; 29.2% of those over 80 said that they were "quite" or "very" well. In this age group, too, men rated their health better than did women (see table 5). Elderly people are better educated, and this factor will be even more pronounced in the future, since the present adult cohort has far greater access to educational opportunities. They are more independent: in 1991, 75% of those over 60 were independent, 15.2% required occasional help, and 8.7% required daily help as well, 69% of elderly people living alone are fully independent, 20.2% require occasoinal help, and 10% require daily assistance. Although the level of independence clearly declines with ageing, a high proportion of those over 80, 50%, are independent, including those who live alone (see tables 6, 7). Therefore, today's elderly people are more able to express a capacity and awareness of specific needs and desires, along with a perception of the future. The growing number of elderly people will eventually involve an increased economic burden on the state's health-care provisions (paid by the working population); an increased burden on family organization in terms of economic, physical,


Age Groups

Table 5 Elderly people's perception of their health by sex and age, 1990-91 Age:

Males: Very bad Bad Fairly good Good Very good No answer Total Females: Very bad Bad Fairly good Good Very good No answer Total


80 and over

5.3 13.6 36.6 28.7 15.0 0.8 100.0

12.5 22.7 34.6 20.3 8.9 1.0 100.0

5.7 16.4 38.2 27.6 11.1 1.0 100.0

11.8 25.3 37.5 18.3 6.3 0.8 100.0

Source: ISTAT, Rapporto Annuale, 1992.

and psychological resources devoted to old people (currently, 17% of Italian families are responsible for the welfare of a disabled elderly person); and an emotional burden in terms of role fulfilment, identity, and responsibilities for those aged 50-60, who may simultaneously be a parent, a grandparent, and the child of a living parent. The increased "power" of the elderly highlights the disparity between the new expectations they expressed and the lack of provision by the public services, whose response (in terms of both approach and available resources) still appears to be more appropriate to the elderly of the past, who were weak, in precarious health, of limited mental and physical capacity, with little income and a low standard of education. Furthermore, in Italy today, the supply of consumer products and services (for instance, insurance and banking) does not meet the needs of elderly people. Ageing does not necessarily mean future plans, wealth, and a will to live for each elderly individual. Loneliness, the classic problem of the elderly, has increased; the number of one-person households is growing (see table 8).


1.2 The Elderly

Table 6 Total population by level of independence, age, and sex, 1989-90

Males: 0-59 60 and over 60-69 70-79 80 and over Total Females: 0-59 60 and over 60-69 70-79 80 and over Total Males and females: 0-59 60 and over 60-69 70-79 80 and over Total

Missing data (%)

Independent (%)

Request help seldom (%)

Request help daily (%)

Total (000)

2.5 1.3 1.2 1.4 1.4 2.3

94.8 78.0 82.8 74.3 60.7 92.0

1.9 13.2 11.0 15.3 20.0 3.8

0.8 7.5 5.0 9.0 17.9 1.9

23,139 4,654 2,824 1,331 499 27,793

2.5 1.2 1.4 1.3 0.6 2.2

94.4 72.5 81.5 71.3 46.6 89.7

2.4 16.6 12.0 18.9 27.0 5.5

0.7 9.7 5.1 8.4 25.8 2.7

22,985 6,358 3,320 1,965 1,074 29,344

2.5 1.3 1.3 1.4 0.8 2.3

94.6 74.8 82.1 72.5 51.1 90.8

2.1 15.2 11.5 17.4 24.8 4.6

0.8 8.7 5.1 8.7 23.3 2.3

46,124 11,012 6,144 3,296 1,572 57,136

The number of suicides among the elderly declined between 1981 and 1992, while the number of suicide attempts rose, particularly among women (see table 9). Moreover, the growth of nuclear families and of urbanization weakened traditional structures and led to an increased number of applications for places in homes or long-term care facilities. In 1981, 121,964 elderly people were cared for in institutions; this number had risen to 161,917 in 1990. The proportion of women in such institutions is far higher (in 1990, there were 118,135 women over 60 in homes and hospitals, compared with 43,782 men in the same age group) (see table 10). In demographic terms, Italy is moving toward being an "aged" society (see table 11), and this has several consequences. Specific measures should be taken to change the enduring image of the elderly as individuals marginalized by society, to prolong working life, to develop support structures for the very old, to provide new opportunities, and to allow for new consumption patterns.


Age Groups

Table 7 Single population per level of independence, age, and sex, 1989-90

Males: 0-59 60 and over 60-69 70-79 80 and over Total Females: 0-59 60 and over 60-69 70-79 80 and over Total Males and females: 0-59 60 and over 60-69 70-79 80 and over Total

Missing data (%)

Independent (%)

Request help seldom (%)

Request help daily (%)

Total (000)

3.3 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.2 2.2

72.4 72.4 79.5 72.3 62.1 85.2

17.2 17.2 12.6 18.8 21.8 8.2

9.8 9.8 7.2 8.0 15.9 4.4

515 515 197 184 134 1,291

2.0 0.8 1.3 0.7 0.6 1.1

90.9 68.2 80.5 70.3 46.6 73.0

6.3 20.9 13.0 21.6 31.5 17.8

0.8 10.0 5.2 7.4 21.4 8.1

609 2,249 812 885 551 2,857

2.7 0.8 1.2 0.7 0.4 1.4

92.4 69.0 80.3 70.7 49.6 76.8

4.0 20.2 13.0 21.1 29.6 14.8

0.9 10.0 5.6 7.5 20.3 6.9

1,285 2,763 1,009 1,069 685 4,148

Source: ISTAT, Rapporto Annuale, 1992.


1.2 The Elderly

Table 8 Elderly single people by age, sex, and marital status, 1986 (%) Age 65-74

75 and over


43.8 43.8

39.5 46.5

42.6 44.9

64.2 71.4

40.0 30.0

57.8 58.0

11.1 50.0

100.0 100.0

20.0 57.1

42.8 81.8

50.0 100.0

44.4 84.6

46.9 45.9

33.5 30.4

38.4 43.8

43.3 46.0

34.7 41.8

39.9 43.1

Unmarried: Male Female Married: Male Female Separated: Male Female Divorced: Male Female Widowed: Male Female Total: Male Female

Source: ISTAT, indagine sulla strutture e i comportamenti familiari, ISTAT-Roma, 1986.

Table 9 Suicides and attempted suicides by the elderly (65 and over) by sex, 1981-93





672 262 934

928 408 1,336

796 327 1,123

1,008 412 1,420

106 82 188

137 166 303

158 131 189

198 182 380

Suicide: Male Female Total Attemped suicide: Male Female Total Source: ISTAT, Rapporto Annuale, 1992.


Age Groups

Table 10 Number of elderly people (over 60) in institutions, 1981, 1990

Males Females Total



23,807 98,157 121,964

43,782 118,135 161,917

Source: ISTAT, Rapporto Annuale, 1992.

Table 11 Elderly per age and sex, 1981, 1989, 1990 (%)

Males: 65 and over 65-74 75 and over Females: 65 and over 65-74 75 and over Total: 65 and over 65-74 75 and over




22.0 33.4 36.3

17.8 12.4 15.0

60.2 54.1 48.6

22.2 34.7 39.6

21.0 14.2 14.3

56.8 51.1 46.1

21.1 30.8 29.0

7.4 7.9 15.4

71.5 61.3 55.6

Source: ISTAT, Rapporto Annuale, 1992.

REFERENCES Eurisko 1992 / nuovi anziani e la cultura della salute in Italia. Eurisko inc. no. 4311. Unpublished report. Ghetti, V. (ed.) 1992 Nuovi anziani e bisogni di salute. Milan: Franco Angeli. Cesa Bianchi, M. 1965 Psicologia della senescenza. Milan: Franco Angeli. Florea,A. 1983 // tempo libero e I'anziano. Rome: Ed. Riuniti.


1.2 The Elderly

Hanau, C. (ed.) 1987 I nuovi vecchi. Un confronto internazionale. Rimini: Maggioli Editore. Inglehart, R. 1977 The silent revolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Maderna, A.M. 1976 Aspettipsicologici dell'invecchiamento e della vecchiaia. Milan: Wassermann. Oliviero, A. 1982 Saper invecchiare. Rome: Ed. Riuniti. Senate della Repubblica 1989 Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta sulla dignita e condizione sociale dell'anziano, Relazione Conclusiva. Atti Parlamentari, Doc 22 bis. no. 1, Rome.

2 Microsocial

Over the last 35 years, as described in the introduction, Italy has experienced processes leading to unity on a cultural plane, as well as major changes in forms of social relationships and in the mechanisms by which values are passed on. In the 1950s the most common values were traditional, tied to the ethos of the family and defence of the local community; from the 1970s onward the prevailing values were self-fulfilment (based on self-development) and universalism (based on a broader political community). This type of image of society is confirmed by analyzing the Italian situation from 1950 to 1970 in terms of territorial ("white" and "red") subcultures, which bore geographically specific and typical sets of values and associative forms that determined strong and pervasive collective identities. The cultural homogeneity achieved in later years reduced the distance between social groups and territorial areas. Individuals lived in diversified and everwidening social circles, which weakened the pressures to conform and identify with a group. Strong collective identities were undermined, and the family lost its importance as a fundamental reference group in favour of other identities. On the one hand, the homogeneity achieved in contemporary Italian society has eliminated segmentation based on cultural models; on the other hand, like all unifying processes, it has created new cleavages and given new shape to old divisions and differences. In times of social unrest and conflict, traditional values and strong collective identities can be revitalized. In Italy, a number of social traumas - such as the errors, malfunctioning, and waste rife in the implementation of many welfare policies, and the intermingling of business and politics - caused Italians to become alienated from the political class and encouraged them to attribute greater importance to "localism." In this case, however, localism must not be seen as an expression of backwardness or a reversal of the modernization process. It implies people's awareness and positive exploitation of their differences rather than isolation and confinement to their own territory.


2.1 Self-Identification

In a locally oriented community, formal and informal mechanisms of trust are re-created: trust in nuclear families, extended families, neighbours, local clubs, and organizations. As the main collective identities have declined, people have again become conscious of the advantages offered by solidarity restricted to their local environment. What has gradually emerged in Italy in the last few years is "local citizenship," a sentiment furthered by the trend toward decentralization of political and administrative authority. This new concept of citizenship is not necessarily based on self-interest. It stems from a perception of belonging to the community and incorporates a stronger sense of solidarity. Volunteer work and participation in associations - which redefine solidaristic action in more complex terms - exemplify a new phenomenon, resulting from a different approach to the community and the problem of its well-being.

2.1 Self-Identification The "specific" nature of Italian society in the 1960s (living within and identifying with restricted social groupings such as the family and the local community) was replaced by a new cultural climate in the 1990s. Individuals moved from identification predominantly with the family and the community to identification with more extended circles such as social class and the nation.

Before considering cultural change from a subjective standpoint, in terms of the feeling of belonging (self-identification), brief reference must be made to the concept of "social belonging" within the context of so-called social relations. Among the primary areas of social belonging are several that, given the particular structure of the community, can be classified as socio-territorial (and can refer to an urban neighbourhood, rural village, city, region, and so on). Non-territorial primary areas of social belonging include membership in a church organization or a social class. Others, although not specifically territorial, are nonetheless characterized to a significant, and even decisive, degree by the territorial dimension. Here, reference is made particularly to belonging to an ethnic group or a nation, where national collectivity is structured on the basis of a combination of territorial, cultural, and ethnic dimensions. Alongside these primary areas of belonging - some territorial, some not - are secondary areas that can refer to a wide assortment of associative collectivities related to leisure, education in general, and so on. From this standpoint it is evident



that in modern, contemporary society, social personality is determined by belonging simultaneously to numerous social and socio-territorial collectivities that help to broaden and enrich individual identities. Considering the question of individual identity within a general framework of progressive cultural change in Italy, attention can be drawn to several important phases. The first is the 1950s, when phenomena such as almost nonexistent social mobility, a high level of illiteracy, and a lopsided process of industrialization raised barriers between northern and southern Italy and between urban and rural life, creating different and contrasting subcultures. A further, more subjective indicator of Italians' cultural disparity was the feeling of belonging to a national community. This issue was addressed in a study on political culture, in which a sample of Italians and citizens of other nations were asked to express their feeling of national pride with regard to several aspects of their country (Almond and Verba, 1965). Only 3% of Italians said that they were proud of their political and governmental institutions (versus 85% and 46% of American and English respondents, respectively). Feelings of pride rose to 27% when respondents were referred to Italy's geographical characteristics. The research also investigated other areas, such as respondents' ability to establish relationships with people and share their values, and their trust in people. These characteristics were found to be lacking in most Italians: only 7% said they were interested in taking part in activities (connected with politics, charities, associations) implying some form of social relations. When compared with the findings for other countries, Italians' level of trust in others (7%) was also very low. In the years that followed, this image of Italy underwent swift and profound transformations, attributable mainly to factors capable of producing cultural unity and significantly changing forms of social relations. The first and most important factor contributing to cultural unity was compulsory schooling, followed by the widespread introduction of television; this, in turn, led to a process of linguistic unification, which created homogeneity in Italians' models and life styles. Against this background of modern life, the social circles within which individuals moved broadened and an increasing number of people belonged to several, sometimes different and contrasting, "worlds" and "commuted" between different associations (Gallino, 1979). While individuals previously tended to identify mainly with a small group (political party, church, community), from the 1970s onwards, personal "identifying" aspects differentiating each individual from everyone else became a keynote of individual identity. The findings of a series of opinion polls repeated periodically in all countries of the European Union (Eurobarometer) show how Italians' sense of self-identification


2.1 Self-Identification

has changed over the years. The first indicator is the feeling of national pride, which, as mentioned above, was practically nonexistent at the end of the 1950s. By the 1980s, the proportion of Italians who said they were very or fairly proud had increased and represented the great majority of the population (from 85% in 1980, to 90% in 1985, to 92% in 1991). The second indicator refers to Italians' feeling of belonging to a larger community that goes beyond national borders. In 1982, 55% of Italians considered themselves citizens of Europe - as well as citizens of their own country - and this proportion rose to 64% in 1985 and to 65% in 1991. The third indicator concerns Italians' trust in their fellow Italians, to be interpreted in this case as a mental predisposition toward co-operation. In 1976, Italians' feeling of trust had risen to 44%, far above the very low figure (7%) recorded in the 1950s, but was still below the level of other European countries. By 1980, however, Italians' feeling of trust had become a predominant element (60%). A last dimension of interest when considering how individuals are involved in diversified and ever-broadening social circles is their availability for public action, resulting in participation - in various forms - in Italy's social and political life. As emerges from data presented in other chapters, institutionalized political participation and the degree to which people identify with political parties have diminished in the last decade. This process primarily concerns the younger generations. There has been an upswing in people's willingness to take on commitments in public life (with respect to social issues, caring for others, the environment, and so on). The outcome of this process, evident particularly among younger and better educated segments of the population, could even be defined as a new social identity. These new trends in Italian society over the last 20 years have inevitably created new forms of cultural differentiation; unlike those typical of the 1950s, however, they stem from a basic cultural homogeneity. This means that the majority of the population speaks the same language and shares certain areas of awareness (Sciolla, 1990). Unifying processes create new differences, as can be seen - for instance - in mobility and urban development, which have generated new cultural and ethical urban strata overlaid on stratification by class. However, they can also cause old cleavages to resurface, even if in a new form. This is the case for the localisms and regionalisms that have recently become widespread in Italian society. These phenomena are different from the past since they do not imply isolation - with people confined within their territorial boundaries - but awareness of and emphasis on their own diversity, which becomes the pivotal element of a collective identity (Sciolla, 1990).



REFERENCES Almond, G.A., and Verba, S. 1965 The Civic Culture: Political Attitude and Democracy in Five Nations. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Altan, C.T. 1986 La nostra Italia. Milan: Feltrinelli. Censis 1989 / valori guida degli italiani. Rome: Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato. De Masi, D. (ed.) 1976 Le basi morali di una societa arretrata. Bologna: II Mulino. Ferrera, M. 1993 Modelli di solidarieta. Bologna: II Mulino. Gallino, L. 1979 "Effetti dissociativi dei processi associativi." Quaderni di Sociologia 1. 1987 "La modernizzazione mancata. Tradizione, azione pubblica e cultura dell'io." Quaderni di Sociologia, 7: 1-21. Gilbert, R. (ed.) 1992 Persistence e mutamenti dei valori degli italiani nel contesto eumpeo. Trento: Reverdito. Sciolla, L. 1990 "Identita e mutamento culturale nell'Italia di oggi." In V. Cesareo (ed.), La cultura dell'Italia contemporanea. Turin: Edizioni della Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli.

2.2 Kinship Networks Despite progressive "nuclearization," Italian family structure maintains certain traditional characteristics. Solidarity continues to be a key feature of relationships within families and between relatives. This is particularly true in the forms of assistance and support that link households of origin and those created by their offspring. Changes in Italian family structures and relations have been similar to those in most Western European nations, where there has been a progressive "nuclearization" process. Since the 1960s in particular, due to the falling birth rate, and a growing number of marital breakdowns, family structure has become increasingly


2.2 Kinship Networks

diversified. The number of single people is rising, as is the number of unmarried couples, single-parent families, and "second families" (remarriages following divorce). Over the same period, average household size has decreased. It should be noted, however, that these trends occurred later and more slowly in Italy than in other European countries. Especially in central Italy, large households persisted until the 1970s. Even nuclear households in urban settings have maintained strong and frequent kinship networks at the inter-generational level. The persistence of the traditional structure of Italian families has had a significant impact on numerous aspects of the country's social life. For example, extremely solid family ties and support systems have been the major focus for political and social pressure whenever attempts were made to introduce new family and social legislation. In social intervention policy, the conviction that the family's intrinsic autonomy should be protected at all costs explains the comparative tardiness with which development programmes for a social-services network were introduced in Italy. In effect, the modernization process experienced in other Western countries has also left its mark on Italy, both on society as a whole and within the family. Some unexpected results of modernization, such as growing social threats (drugs, crime, violence, social indifference), allied to a decline in civil and political institutions and a deterioration of social services, may have contributed to an increased reliance on the role and functions of the family. Kinship networks comprise extremely close ties and relationships involving exchange, support, and assistance of various kinds. A recent study carried out in Italy and other European and non-European nations (ISSP, Family Networks and Support Systems, 1986) highlighted the importance of the family culture using two yardsticks: the number of relationships individuals maintain with their original family and the features of their support network (the survey distinguished between domestic-support networks, financial-support networks, and psychological-support networks). In Italy, such networks were significantly related to family and relatives, although the friendship network was also extensive (see tables 1, 2, and 3). The results of the survey provide a picture of a continuum of family culture representing, at the opposite poles, the Latin model and the Anglo-Saxon model. Clearly, then, family culture is important in Italy, whereas it loses significance in countries such as Austria, Hungary, and Germany, declining even further in Great Britain and reaching its nadir in the United States and Australia. Despite evidence of undeniable cultural and structural change, the important role of the family is a highly significant feature in Italian society. The central role



Table 1 How often respondents visited selected relatives, 1986 (%) Mother Live in same household Daily Several times a week Once a week Once a month Several times a year Less often


42.7 15 .5 15 .2 11 .3

45.9 14.0 13 .2 11. 7

7 . 3.7 4.1

6.5 3.3 5.4





16. 2 16 .7 11. 3 14. 2 15 .7 1 3. 12 .6

67.7 1 3.1


15. 2 15 .0 15. 7 14. 7 18. 8 1 0.9


8.6 6.3 1.8 0.9 2.3

9.0 7.1 6.6 3.3 2.4 0.9

Sample size: 1,500. Source: ISSP, Family Networks and Support System, 1986.

Table 2 How often respondents visited relatives, 1986 (%) Live in same household Daily Several times a week Once a week Once a month Several times a year Less often

7.0 26.0 20.5 22.0 15.3 6.4 2.7

Sample size: 1,500. Source: ISSP, Family Networks and Support System, 1986.

Table 3 Kind of support provided by selected relatives, 1986 (%) (first choice)

Help in household Help in illness Financial help Help in family Help with depression Help with advice

No one




2.0 1.2 3.6

4.5 3.4

87.9 92. 4

5.7 3.0

27 .1


4.7 4.1 3.6

30.4 56.3

63.5 50.7 33. 7 80.5

14. 2

5.9 7.4

Sample size: 1,500. Source: ISSP, Family Networks and Support System, 1986.



2.3 Community and Neighbourhood Types

of the family and parental influence emphasizes that within Italian society the support networks are almost exclusively family and parent related. The inference here is that not only does the family structure resist social change and pressure but the primary support networks have only minor differentiation. Another empirical indicator of the traditional nature of kinship structures that emerges from his study and another conducted in 1983 by the Istituto Centrale di Statistica (ISTAT survey on Family Structures and Behaviour Patterns) is the indistinctly gender-related aspect of the informal support system (tables 2 and 3). REFERENCES Diatricch, L. 1991 "Ciclo di vita e reti familiari." In P. Di Nicola (ed.), Analisi ed intervento di rete: il caso della famiglia. Milan: Franco Angeli. Di Nicola, P. (ed.) 1986 L'uomo non e un isola. Le reti sociali primarie nella vita quotidiana. Milan: Franco Angeli. 1991 Analisi ed intervento di rete: il caso della famiglia. Milan: Franco Angeli. Donati, P. 1986 "Famiglia, servizi e reti informali in Italia." In P. Donati, La famiglia nella societa relazionale. Milan: Franco Angeli. ISTAT - AIS 1988 Immagini della societa italiana. Rome

2.3 Community and Neighbourhood Types Over the last 30 years, metropolitan areas have formed that encompass the existing urban network and now cover much of the country. The more general growth trends of metropolitan areas in industrialized countries can now be seen in Italy too. In quantitative terms, this means a standstill - and in some cases even a decline - in the growth of the population in these areas. In spite of this de urbanization process, Italy's big cities continue to be the focal point of a series of major business, social, administrative, and political functions.

The major transformations that Italy underwent in the postwar years - the crisis in agriculture, the migration from countryside to city, the strong economic recovery,



the processes of industrialization and urbanization - have been profoundly reflected in the changes occurring in urban and rural areas. A system based on large metropolitan areas has become widely and firmly established. The last 40 years have witnessed a marked growth in Italy's metropolitan areas. For the purposes of this study, a "city" is an area with a high density of settlement, characterized by a tight-knit built-up environment that developed during the early phases of industrial urbanization around the older centre of an existing town or city. It is the centre of business and trade and the focal point of movement of people, goods, and information in any way affected by and related to the governance, administration, and representation functions typical of its portion of territory. An "urban area" is the result of the spread of a city's production activities and housing to its bordering territories. Its density of settlement is fairly high. "Metropolitan areas" are economic/functional systems rather than densely populated and built-up human settlements. They comprise an urban arrangement typical of industrialized societies and are characterized by a complex system of interactive functions and actors (where "functions" are taken to mean production, services, and housing, and "actors" are the various individual and collective subjects). Their size, in both territorial and demographic/functional terms, is much larger than that of an urban area, and their physical borders are less well defined than either an urban area or a city (Cecchini, 1988). In 1951, Italy's metropolitan population, at more than 14.5 million, equalled 31% of the total population; in 1981, this proportion had risen to about 56% (a population of 31.5 million, compared with 25 million living in non-metropolitan communities). The number of municipalities contained in metropolitan areas doubled, from 743 to 1,453, with a concomitant rise in population, from 9.5% to 18% of total population (see table 1). The greatest growth occurred from 1961 to 1971, during which the metropolitan population outgrew the non-metropolitan population. In 1961, there were nearly 20 million inhabitants in the metropolitan areas and nearly 30 million in the nonmetropolitan areas; by 1971, the situation had reversed, with populations of more than 28 million and nearly 20 million, respectively. In the following 10 years, the growth of metropolitan areas was weaker, in keeping with the revival of urbanization in the urban and smaller centres and rural areas. Table 2 shows the size of Italian metropolitan and urban areas in 1989. The true metropolitan areas are the massive urban concentrations where the population exceeds three million (Milan, Rome, Naples). Overall, in 1989 urban and metropolitan areas contained 55.3% of the total population, or 32 million people, with the remaining 44.7%, 26 million, residing in 6,645 non-metropolitan municipalities.


2.3 Community and Neighbourhood Types

Table 1 Urban areas, 1951-81

Urban area: Number of municipalities Total square miles Population (000) Nonurban area: Number of municipalities Total square miles Population (000) Total Italy: Number of municipalities Total square miles Population (000)





743 13,289 14,764

929 17,356 19,839

1,213 28,962 28,195

1,453 34,633 31,551

7,067 287,913 32,752

7,106 283,869 30,785

6,843 272,283 25,942

6,633 266,635 25,006

7,810 301,202 47,516

8,035 301,225 50,624

8,056 301,245 54,137

8,086 301,268 56,557

Source: Cafiero, S. and Busca, A., Lo sviluppo metropolitan!) in Italia, Rome, 1982.

Table 2 Municipalities by size, 1989

Metropolitan area Large urban area Medium or small urban area Subtotal Other Total

Number of Municipalities

Total square miles

Population (000)

855 450 148 1,453 6,645 8,098

11,557 16,677 6,400 34,634 266,635 301,268

14,822 12,648 4,376 31,847 25,730 57,576

Source: Ercole, E. and Martinotti, G., Bisogni informativi, banche dati e territorio, CNR-Progetto finalizzato, 1990.

If we exclude communities of fewer than 5,000 people, growth rates decline progressively as the size of the community increases. The unexpected manifestation of a slowdown in urban expansion has led many academics and researchers to refer to a process of deurbanization and a trend toward a "new rural culture" (Hall and Hay, 1980; Ercole and Martinotti, 1987). In reality, urban living is far from moribund, although undeniably the town in its historic form, deriving from the process of industrial urbanization, is gradually changing, reflecting changes in urbanliving trends: a decline in the number of people in the central urban areas and



population growth in suburban areas or sub-metropolitan centres outside of the town itself (Martinotti, 1993). Industrial development encouraged an increasing flow of immigrants from rural and suburban areas and led to expansion of the outlying parts of cities and towns. A distinctive feature of this phase of urban development was the growing territorial differentiation between "nighttime" and "daytime" populations - between people who lived in the city and those who only worked there. Although these two population segments shared the same space for much of their working day, they were differentiated by an important element: territorial settlement. During this phase, when cities were developing in parallel with their outskirts (where growing segments of the population were making their homes), a new phenomenon - commuting - came into being. Commuting is one of a series of factors typical of first-generation cities, including expansion of private-vehicle ownership, gradual reduction of working hours, higher levels of household income, and increased and more generalized leisure. But there is another aspect to commuting: individuals and families move to and from cities not only for work, but also for recreation. People who live in large cities leave them at the end of the work week, but the cities attract a number of people in search of evening and weekend recreation. These "inhabitants" and "commuters" are joined by a third group - "city users" - who come to cities to "consume" the public and private services they offer. This category is a new and distinctive element of second-generation cities (Martinotti, 1993), and it helps somewhat to explain the seeming paradox of cities in Italy (but elsewhere too): according to statistics, cities have shrinking populations, but they seem more and more congested to the people who live in them. It is not true that cities are "dying": it is merely - as Martinotti maintains - that observation instruments are inappropriate. The instruments at the disposal of sociologists "observe" inhabitants and workers but remain totally unaware of new consumer populations: "city users" are growing in number, and their movements and activities now extensively condition the structure of Italy's cities. REFERENCES Becchi Collida, A. 1984 La terziarizzazione urbana e la crisi della citta. Le caratteristiche dei mercati del lavoro urbano. Milan: Franco Angeli. Cafiero, S., and Busca, A. 1970 Lo sviluppo metropolitano italiano. Milan: Giuffre.


2.4 Local Autonomy

Cecchini, D. 1988 "Le aree urbane in Italia: scopi, metodi e primi risultati di una ricerca." Rivista economica del Mezzogiorno, 1: 39-71. De Matteis, G. (ed.) 1987 "Le aree metropolitane." Amministrare, 1. 1992 II fenomeno urbano in Italia: interpretazioni, prospettive, politiche. Milan: Franco Angeli. Ercole, E., and Martinotti, G. 1990 Bisoghi infozmatini, hanche dati e territorio. CNR-Projelto finali erato. Hall, P., and Hay, D. 1980 Growth Centres in European urban system. London. Martinotti, G. 1993 Metropoli. La nuova morfologia sociale della citta. Bologna: II Mulino. Sernini, M. 1988 La citta disfatta. Milan: Franco Angeli. Somogy, S. 1959 "La classificazione dei comuni d'ltalia in urbani e rurali." Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica, 13.

2.4 Local Autonomy The 1948 constitution gave full recognition to the principle of political decentralization and local autonomy. Many years passed, however, before fundamental changes in the relationship between state and society modified the system of devolution of power to local authorities: in 1970, with the process that introduced regions, and in 1990, with implementation of a law that reformed loca government (act no. 142). This law is important because it triggered devolutio by handing down responsibilities to various institutional and non-institutional entities. The delay in reforming local autonomy was one of the fundamental problems with which the Italian political class had to cope - that is, a society divided by profound social, economic, ideological, and territorial cleavages. The history of local government in Italy looks back to the period of unification, when government ministers formulated a scheme for setting up a local government structure that envisaged the institution of regions. Subsequently, the solution to the institutional problem of local autonomies was found in municipalities and



provinces, bodies endowed with juridical personality and capable of looking after the interests of individual segments of the population through administrative acts, instruments equivalent in application and enforcement to those issued by the state. In this framework, some aspects of which still survive today, the state exercises different types of control over the acts of the municipalities and provinces through intervention and regulation, especially at the financial level. With the 1948 constitution, which transformed the state from the unitary body of the previous constitutional regime to a state of regional and local autonomies, the importance of the pluralism of autonomous bodies was underlined. An important indicator of local authorities is the number of people engaged in their administration, which represents an important proportion of the overall labour force. In the 1980s, the number of employees in municipality and province administrations dropped until 1983 and then rose, while the number of employees in regional administrations increased constantly over the period (see table 1). The structure of regions and local government bodies is a package: every municipality is part of a province, and every province is part of a region. The provinces are the territorial authorities designated by the state to achieve a more efficient operation of state administrative functions away from the centre, frequently without reference to the underlying communities. The first five regions were established between 1948 and 1963. Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sardegna, Sicilia, Trentino-Alto Adige, and Valle D'Aosta were recognized with special statutes in areas with a strong ethnic identity, and have varying special powers. In Trentino-Alto Adige and Valle D'Aosta, specific provision is made for German- and French-speaking communities, and many authorities use bilingual titles. The other 15 regions were set up in the early 1970s, in an amendment to the constitution. The functions of the regions, specified in the constitution, are related mainly to the exercise of autonomous power in the fields of public health, urban planning, transport, agriculture, crafts, education and training, and economic planning. Table 1 Number of employees in local public bodies, 1980-87

Regions Provinces and municipalities Total

















618,276 572,138 569,017 567,199 571,399 578,899 591,117 603,690 680,728 639,240 639,526 640,961 646,456 655,004 667,680 680,950

Source: P.P. Cerase, / dipendentl pubblici, Bologna: II Mulino, 1994.


2.4 Local Autonomy

Unlike provinces and municipalities, regions have the additional capacity to promulgate legislative norms, albeit within the bounds of the basic principles laid down by state laws (which provide for overall control and fiscal limits). Two provinces out of the total of 95 have also special power and autonomy. Trento and Bolzano, which together make up the region of Trentino Alto Adige, also have legislative capacity in some fields. Other provinces are more purely administrative bodies. The principal functions of the provinces lie within the field of roads and protection of the environment. There are more than 8,000 municipalities, with populations of between 50 and 2,000,000. More than 20% of the national population live in 75% of the municipalities. In 1961, there were 6,594 municipalities with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants; by 1991, this figure had dropped to 5,963. During the period under consideration the number of municipalities with a population of 5,000-20,000 increased from 1,660 to 1,698; those with a population of 20,000-100,000, from 290 to 376; those with a population of 100,000-500,000, from 32 to 49; the number of municipalities with a population of over 500,000 remained constant (see table 2).

Table 2 Number of municipalities by population, 1961-91 Population Under 500 501-1,000 1,001-2,000 2,001-3,000 3,001^,000 4,001-5,000 5,001-10,000 10,001-15,000 15,001-20,000 20,001-30,000 30,001-40,000 40,001-50,000 50,001-65,000 65,001-80,000 80,001-100,000 100,001-250,000 250,001-500,000 More than 500,000 Total





491 1,071 1,844 1,246 824 627 1,172 353 135 137 61 30 26 18 18 19 7 6 8,085

646 955 1,863 1,081 785 560 1,086 350 151 143 76 49 32 16 16 33 8 6 8,056

761 1,135 1,775 1,034 759 499 1,129 410 159 156 95 44 47 15 19 35 8 6 8,086

761 1,135 1,775 1,034 759 499 1,129 410 159 156 95 44 47 15 19 35 8 6 8,086

Source: ISTAT, Censimenti della Popolazione, 1961-91.



The size of the municipality is relevant with regard to local government elections, which occur every five years. Municipalities with a population of up to 5,000 have an electoral regime based on majority vote, while the larger municipalities, along with the provinces and regions, have a proportional-representation system. The year 1993 marked a turning point for local governments; a new law (act no. 81) on the direct election of mayors was passed. A total of 1,688 municipalities voted for new town councils under this law, thus initiating a needed change in local leadership and a reduction in the number of political employees, which was also required under the new regulations. The authority of the municipalities lies in four major areas: administrative organization and regulation (including the functioning of the local and administrative police); social services (including various types of social security and education below university level); economic development (including the regulation of commercial activities and hotels with the issue of licences and the promotion of utilization of land for tourism), including urban planning; and control of air pollution. In municipalities, the local authority with which Italians have the longest traditional affinity with a fairly clear institutional identity has been successfully maintained. This may be because a significant number of municipalities have assumed the role of "laboratories of institutional innovation," initiating important pioneering social services for the benefit of their inhabitants. In northern and central Italy in particular, several municipalities that were run by political forces that were in opposition in Parliament have undertaken important social action since the 1960s concerning new social services for the benefit of the entire population, and with particular attention to the working classes (public transport, day nurseries, assistance for the poor and aged). Before the tax reform of 1970, the municipalities and provinces enjoyed financial autonomy. The reform was intended as a rationalizing response to the increasing functions played by local authorities, which faced an increasing demand for social services at the community level brought about by the urbanization process. The reasons for this may be traced to various factors, such as the ideology of centralized planning, the search for greater efficiency in assessing and collecting taxes, the need to confront traditional economic differences at the territorial level and inequalities between northern and southern municipalities in the supply of social services, and the elimination of political risk for local administrators. The tax reform brought a drastic reduction in the municipalities' autonomous levying powers from 63% in 1972 to 15% in 1978, after which it rose to 20% in 1982 and 24% in 1984. Despite the good intentions of the reform, constant growth of financial needs at the local level helped to increase the state's net budget outlays. In 1987, out of total


2.4 Local Autonomy

expenditures of 363 trillion lire at the central level, about a quarter, 93 trillion lire, represented transfers to local authorities. The debate between the political forces continued throughout the 1980s. A reform of the local autonomies was approved in 1990. Act 142/90 will lead to greater financial autonomy of local governments, reducing their dependence on state transfers. Boundaries are not yet clear-cut, but the trend is obvious: transfer payments will cover indispensable services, while taxes will fund the public services necessary for community development. This law provides greater transparency, with citizens exercising control through local referenda, petitions, and so on. One aspect of the reform is election of mayors and provincial presidents by direct ballot (Law of 1993). These elections, together with the rise of a "pluralist" system of local powers, represent an important indicator of the transformation of the local authority toward greater autonomy. The transformation of local authorities is broadly based insofar as it involves the state's aim and relations with society. In the current public debate, the important themes are federalism and neo-regionalism. The target is the state and its centralized form, in which the parties have monopoly of political representation. While the creation of a federal state elsewhere has often been the result of centralization, or perhaps the establishment of a state with stronger links than those previously existing between the peripheral entities that comprise it (as in Switzerland, the United States, Canada, and Australia), the process in Italy has followed the opposite route. In fact, the aim is to pass from a centralized state structure to a much more decentralized one. The motives that seem to underlie the emphatic demand for political decentralization relate essentially to the economic financial sphere. In Italy, federalism and neo-regionalism are interpreted mainly as a way of providing more financial autonomy to the regions and, at the same time, to attribute to them functions that are currently exercised by the state. According to some observers (Pitruzzella, 1994), autonomy would solve the "historical" problem of the high tax burden on the northern regions to finance public expenditure in the south, so that the self-financing regions will be able not only to support their own activities, but to reserve for themselves resources that can be exploited locally rather than see them redistributed for the benefit of other areas of the country. But the question remains whether a tripartite system based on party control, centralization, and welfare can be transformed to a new one based on a pluralistic concept of public powers, in which the characteristics of decentralization, autonomy, and responsibility are compatible with the guarantee of social rights and the enjoyment by all Italians of equal rights of citizenship (Pitruzzella, 1994).



REFERENCES Brosio, G. 1994 Equilibri instabili. Turin: Boringhieri. Cassese, S., and Franchini, C. (eds.) 1994 L'amministrazione pubblica italiana. Un profile. Bologna: II Mulino. Ercole, E. 1991 "Local government in Italy," Lecture Programme on Local Government in Europe. University of Bergen, May 14. Mine, D. 1993 Governing Italy. The Politics of Bargained Pluralism. Oxford: Claredon Press. Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri 1993 Rapporto sulle condizioni delle pubbliche amministrazioni. Rome: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato. Pitruzzella, G. 1994 I poteri locali in Ginsborg P.(eds), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: Mondadori. Rotelli, E. 1991 // martello e I'incudine. Bologna: II Mulino. Svimez 1993 Rapporto sulla distribuzione Nord-Sud della spesa pubblica. Bologna: II Mulino.

2.5 Voluntary Associations The growth in voluntary services (which started in the 1950s) over the last decade is largely due not only to an expansion in and increasing diversity of needs but also to the emergence of new forms of social need. As the crisis in the welfare system has deepened, new opportunities for voluntary work have opened up, and as the extent and level of professionalism have increased, the rapport with the public system has changed, becoming one of mutual confidence and support. Over the last few years there has been a notable increase in the number of voluntary organizations operating in areas ranging from social work and health care to civil protection. The voluntary associations that developed in Italy from the 1960s onward differ in various respects to past forms of welfare. What has changed is not only the type of voluntary work done: the relationship between old, established forms of solidarity and new forms of presence on the social scenario has also been


2.5 Voluntary Associations

altered. Voluntary work has deep roots, but while, for a long time, it was perceived as a mixture of work without payment, altruism, solidarity, and reciprocity, it has now assumed new forms. What has changed above all is the meaning of solidarity. In Italy, people's feelings of solidarity were once extensively based on family ties. From the postwar period on, these feelings were channelled instead to the Catholic church or unions, and left-wing political parties became the focal points of solidarity. Voluntary support offered through these large religious or ideologybased organizations undoubtedly had a certain prosletizing element. In other words, although solidarity was not aimed solely at organizational growth, it existed in associations with a solid internal bureaucracy and, frequently, political ties at various levels with institutions of the welfare state (Mela, 1994). The kind of solidarity evident in the voluntary movements of the 1990s has a more "secular" and "civic" orientation, although it exists in areas until now occupied by religious charitable organizations. The orientation to provide care and the ethical concept of voluntary work as a personal moral duty have been replaced by a more worldly concept of voluntary service, seen as a means of defending society's weakest members and making citizens adopt a more responsible approach toward public assets. Voluntary service today does not appear to require a close ideological bond with the group or strong feelings of belonging. Above all, it demands a willingness to serve on a practical level (Meo, 1994). The most significant growth of voluntary associations in Italy has come in the last decade, encouraged by a number of factors, including the crisis in institutions such as family and school and the demise of the major ideologies and movements of the 1970s. A survey carried out in 1991 (Censis) revealed that two out of three organizations operating in that year were set up during the 1980s, and half of these were set up after 1986 (see table 1). One Italian in ten actively participates in an Table 1 Year of establishment of voluntary associations in operation in 1990 (%) Before 1950 1951-1960 1961-1970 1971-1980 1981-1985 1986-1991 Total

5.9 2.0 5.7 21.6 32.7 32.0 100.0

Source: Indagine Censis, 1991, XXV Rapporto sulla situazione sociale del paese, Milan: Franco Angeli, 1991.



association at least once a week, and a growing number are members of more than one association (Meo, 1994). A 1991 law (266) on voluntary organizations constituted an important step toward official recognition of the social role played by voluntary work, thereby encouraging its development and independence. The most important feature of this law is that it introduced a series of conditions to regulate interaction with public institutions, create local registers, provide the potential to establish formal contracts with local authorities and grant tax benefits to encourage the officially authorized creation of voluntary associations. Figures available regarding membership in voluntary organizations provide a rather contradictory picture: estimates vary from some 2.5 million (IREF, 1990) to some 7 million (Eurisko, 1988). Groups (again involved in social work) are estimated to number between 13,000 and 15,000. The growth in voluntary work in recent years is to be considered not solely a result of the expansion in and increasing diversity of needs, but is also linked to the growth of new forms of social need. During the 1990s in particular, voluntary associations have provided assistance both in areas of traditional poverty (45% of activity is devoted to help children and young people in difficulty, 37.7% to assist people with disabilities, 32.3% to help families in difficulty) and in areas of socalled new poverty (drug addicts, immigrants, prisoners and former prisoners) (see table 2).

Table 2 Voluntary associations per type of user (%) Alcoholics 111 Convicts, ex-convicts Needy families Needy young people Immigrants People with disabilities Drug addicts Old people The homeless and gipsies Other users Total

11.9 23.3 12.9 32.2 45.0 16.3 37.7 27.2 21.7 12.1 8.3 100.0

Source: Indagine Censis, 1991, XXV Rapporto sulla situazione sociale del paese, Milan: Franco Angeli, 1991.


2.5 Voluntary Associations

The activities undertaken by voluntary organizations are focused mainly on social problems, primarily the area called "initial contact." This in effect takes the form of being available to listen to problems and/or give advice (61% of cases) and providing an immediate response to people in difficulty or who contact the association for advice or information. "Initial contact" also takes the form of activity for which voluntary organizations are widely known - provision of "shelter" in centres that give short-term 24-hour accommodation to people in difficulty or in an emergency. Other associations provide home help in hospices (27.1%) and economic assistance and other support to ill people in hospital (26.8%) (see table 3). These latter two services represent one of the most efficient and widespread forms of voluntary assistance, especially the health care envisioned by the special law governing the national health system (Law No. 833 of 1979). Voluntary services in the areas of education, instruction, and prevention are less numerous. Cultural associations represent a particular case. Although it is difficult to quantify voluntary associations of this type, they are a vital aspect of the Italian cultural scenario. There are many kinds of cultural associations, most of them organized and run by volunteers who spend time researching, promoting, conserving, and enjoying culture. The spread of these associations is undoubtedly linked to the growth and diversification of supply and demand for culture in postwar Italy. These associations occupy an intermediate space between the principal public and private cultural institutions (schools and universities, mass media, museums, theatres, etc.) and groups of people who wish to cultivate some personal cultural interest in an informal and possibly sporadic way (Ercole, 1994). A main factor underlying the success of voluntary associations is their ability to provide an immediate and flexible response to the explosion of new needs with Table 3 Prevalent activity of voluntary associations, 1991 (%) Advice Assistance for the ill Household assistance Outpatients Inpatients Residential community Labour/professional training Psychological support and social reintegration Educational training

61.0 26.8 27.1 28.4 20.6 23.1 16.2 6.8 5.0

Source: Indagine Censis, 1991, XXV Rapporto sulla situaiione sociale delpaese, Milan: Franco Angeli, 1991.



increased social complexity and the consequent growth of different forms of social need and marginalization. Furthermore, in the context of the crisis in public spending, which has also affected the social protection system, one of the voluntary sector's greatest achievements has been its ability to count on freely provided personnel and considerable independence in financial management (the most widespread form of funding for voluntary associations is self-finance). One of the most important factors in the development of voluntary organizations in Italy during the 1980s has been their relationship with public administration. Although some areas of conflict continue to exist (competition in the provision of services, the residual role of supplementing public institutions), the emerging trend is a relationship with the public system that has become one of mutual confidence and support. A large number of associations have an extremely positive relationship with public institutions, which has been firmly established through the creation of formal contracts in providing services (see table 4). Although the general trend is toward an integrated model of links and services between the public and private spheres, voluntary associations continue to fulfil two fundamental functions within the society. One is to protect the interests of weaker sections of society and to safeguard its less fortunate members, the other is the "pioneering" role that the voluntary services have traditionally played in identifying new areas where they may provide services. Table 4 Voluntary associations per type of jurisdiction, 1991 (%)* Region Province USSL (local social sanitary unit) Municipality Ministry

18.0 11.8 55.0 40.4 8.5

* Multiple answers accepted. Source: Indagine Censis, 1991 -XXvRapporto sulla situazione sociale del paese, Milan: Franco Angeli, 1991.

REFERENCES Ascoli, U. 1992 "Nuovi scenari per le politiche social! degli anni '90: uno spazio stabile per 1'azione volontaria?" Palis, 3: 507-33.


2.6 Sociability Networks

Ercole, E. 1994 "Tradizione e sperimentazione: le associazioni culturali." In P. Ginsberg (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: Mondadori. Eurisko 1988 Rapporto sull'associazionismo. Milan. IREF

1993 IV° rapporto sull'associazionismo sociale. Milan: Cens. Meo, A. 1994 "Le associazioni volontarie e il volontariato." In P. Ginsborg (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: Mondadori. Mela, A. 1994 "Individualismo corporativismo, solidarieta." In P. Ginsborg (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: Mondadori. Mortara, A. (ed.) 1985 Le associazioni italiane. Milan: Franco Angeli. Ranci, C. 1992 "La mobilitazione deH'altruismo. Condizioni e process! di diffusione dell'azione volontaria in Italia." Polis, 3: 467-505.

2.6 Sociability Networks Although the family network continues to play an important role in Italy as far as informal provision of care is concerned, in recent years people temporarily in need of help (in the home, because of illness, etc.) have more frequently resorted to friends and neighbours, and the resulting ties have become progressively stronger.

In the field of social-welfare services (for children, the elderly, the physically or mentally disabled, and individuals not capable of looking after themselves), a differentiation can be made between formal and informal levels in the provision of services. The first level comprises the public sector and the nonpublic (voluntary) sector, which operates on the basis of informal organizational principles. The second consists of networks of relations, friends, and neighbours based on different organizational and relational principles. It does not follow formal rules: rather, it is based on a specific relationship and implies emotional involvement between the caregiver and the person who receives care. In this case, care has the



attributes of an exchange geared to the special needs of the individual cared for (Mutti, 1992). Several surveys on Italian family structure conducted in the last two decades (Balbo, 1987; Mutti, 1992; Piselli, 1987; Vicarelli, 1987) have shown how the family network, compared with other informal networks, continues to play the most important role in caring for children, the elderly, and non-autonomous individuals. The findings of these surveys have pointed to a growing imbalance between supply of and demand for family care: demand is growing as a result of increased average life expectancy and the survival rate of the disabled, while supply is falling because of the reduced availability of women to take on full-time responsibility for care within the context of the family. Empirical evidence shows that, in Italy, after the family network, friends and good neighbours are the most prominent providers of informal care. In 1986, 57% of Italians had between three and eight close friends (see table 1). Links with friends tend to be very strong; 55% of the sample were in almost daily contact with their friends (see table 2). Table 1 Number of friends reported by respondents, 1986 (%) None 1 2 3-7 8 or more Total

13.5 9.8 18.2 40.8 16.2 100.0

Sample size: 1,500. Source: ISSP, Family Networks and Support Systems, 1986. Table 2 How often respondents visit best friends, 1986 (%) Same household Daily Several times a week Once a week Once a month Several times a year Less often Total

0.4 27.2 27.9 21.5 13.7 5.8 3.5 100.0

Sample size: 1,500. Source: ISSP, Family Networks and Support Systems, 1986.


2.6 Sociability Networks

Another survey conducted by ISTAT in 1993 on the behaviour of families shows that, in general, the trend for types of help given is very similar to the distribution of help received. Assistance is most often supplied in the forms of providing care and companionship and of providing transportation and hosting services (8.9% and 6.1% of respondents, respectively); next, but with much lower percentages, come help with a work activity (3.3%), financial help (3.1%), help with domestic chores (2.9%), with handling bureaucratic procedures (2.7%) and with therapeutic care (1.2%) (see table 3). Table 3 Types of help given by respondents, 1983 (%) Economic or therapeutic help Minding or companionship Escorting or hospitality Help with domestic chores Handling bureaucratic procedures Help with working activity Total (000)

3.1 1.2 8.9 6.1 2.9 2.7 45,582

Source: ISTAT-AIS. Immagini della Societa Italiana. 1983.

REFERENCES Bagnasco, A. 1994 "Associazionismo, quali prospettive." In P. Ginsborg (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: Mondadori. Balbo, L. 1986 / processi della riproduzione: cultura dei bisogni e nuovi diritti quotidiani. Milan: F. Angeli. Manconi, L. 1990 Solidarieta, egoismo. Bologna: II Mulino. Mutti, A. 1992 // Buon Vicino. Rapporti di vicinato nelle metropoli. Bologna: II Mulino. Piselli, F. 1980 Emigrazione e parentela. Analisi situazionale del processo di trasformazione di una comunita del mezzogiorno. Turin: Einaudi. Turnaturi, G. 1991 Associatiperamore. Milan: Feltrinelli. Vicarelli, G. 1987 "Strategic familiari nel sistema delle garanzie." Inchiesta, vol. 3 (Apr.-June).

3 Women

Women have acquired considerable social power in Italian society. One of the most significant aspects of this change is the proportion of women who work, in particular in the central age group. In the 1960s, the chances of work for women appeared to be strictly tied to their life cycle, with high numbers of working women in the younger age groups and the proportion diminishing as they married and had their first and second children. Only a small number returned to work once their children were grown. In the 1980s, with improved levels of education among women, this pattern reversed. Women stayed in school longer and their presence in the labour market was less subject to family pressures; they began to be considered a positive resource. As mentioned above, one factor that most positively influenced women's job potential was improved educational standards. Since the end of the 1960s, there has been a positive trend in women's education (the gap between sexes in terms of access to schooling was closed and the number of women holding diplomas and degrees rose, even in traditionally male-dominated fields). These changes were reflected in the employment market, where the number of educated women is, in some areas, higher than that of men. Another factor that favoured female emancipation was changes in the family life cycle, mainly due to lower birth rates. The birth rate in Italy is now one of the lowest among the developed nations. One of the most fundamental aspects of contemporary Italian society has been the constantly changing role of women; in contrast, there remains an obvious contradiction between the greater social role acquired by women and the still inadequate social recognition of this role. Gender inequalities persist. For instance, women's jobs tend to be restricted to certain fields, such as teaching, social assistance, and lower-prestige occupations, and they are underrepresented among the more prestigious professions, such as management. Furthermore, on average, women earn less than men and have fewer career opportunities and less mobility.


3.1 Female Roles

Another area of inequality for women is housework, which is considered of less value than paid employment and an exclusively female domain. Women spend far more time than do men in informal economic fields such as caring for and nurturing the members of the family, home cleaning and maintenance, and preparation of meals. When they have a job, women are still subject to the dual obligation of work and domestic chores to a much greater extent than are their male partners, with negative implications for their career advancement, and sometimes even for their health. In Italy, the process of female emancipation, although well advanced, still has some distance to cover. The traditional system of subordination and an image of weakness have not yet been replaced by an established pattern of complete autonomy and an image of authority.

3.1 Female Roles In comparison with the 1970s, today women study more, have fewer children, and represent a major force in the labour market. The profound changes in women's lives over the last 30 years have nevertheless failed to eliminate inequality. For example, despite faint signals in recent years that household chores were more evenly shared between men and women in the younger and better educated social groupings, women still bear most of the burden of housework.

Being a woman in Western culture has traditionally meant - and to some extent still means - looking after children, finding one's personal fulfilment as a wife and mother. Because of their role as mothers and care providers within the family, women were always considered the "second sex" (to borrow Simone de Beauvoir's term) and were excluded from the more "public" roles that tend almost exclusively to be played by men. Since the 1970s, a series of profound changes have occurred in Italy's social and economic structure; some of these changes have had an effect on women's lives. As discussed in chapter 15, one important new factor has been the improvement of education for women. The proportion of women attending college (over 16 years of age) rose from 2.8% in 1951 to 10.8% in 1981 (see table 1). Statistics for 1992 show that among the population on the job market 41.2% of women have a



higher level of education (professional diplomas and degrees) (see table 2). The same trend can be observed at the university level: the number of female graduates as a proportion of the total student population rose from 31.7% in 1960, to 43.2% in 1970, to 50.2% in 1991 (see table 3). Within the context of a general rise in education standards, the level of women's schooling has improved more than men's. It should be emphasized that this improvement is also qualitative, in terms of the type of studies undertaken. It is interesting to note that a growing proportion of women are attending courses more traditionally associated with men (such as medicine, engineering, economics, and law). The increase of women students in these fields would seem to indicate that, at least to some extent, the invisible barriers confining women to certain areas of education and, as a result, second-rate career paths, seem to have been overcome (see table 4). Although there has been a reversal in the trend (still strong in Italy until only 30 years ago) by whereby women were expected to receive a minimum level of schooling whose main purpose was to train them for and orient them toward the central goal of marriage and childbearing, women must still contend with continuing discrimination. The majority of women still work in low-prestige, less-wellpaid jobs (more executive, less strategic). Professional segregation is diminishing, however, in terms of numbers of women employed. Women gradually started to move into occupations traditionally considered "male only" preserves when these became areas of low prestige and low pay (such as white-collar workers). Recently, they have begun to make inroads into areas that had been "men's" professions (journalists, magistrates, and so on), but on the lowest rungs of the professional ladder. If we look at judgeships, women are most densely gathered at the foot of the ladder, while there are very few at the top (see table 5). Women's average salaries are lower than men's, although the gap has narrowed in recent years. There are a disproportionate number of women working in low-paid professions, and within those professions they are paid less on average than men doing the same jobs. Despite continuing inequality and disparities, trends in Italian society suggest a change in women's role, as shown in educational levels, the proportion of women in the job market, and declines in fertility and family size. Is this "modernization" of the female role reflected in what we might call a decline in the centrality of women within the family itself and therefore a less marked division between male and female roles? Official statistics reported here and recent surveys do not point to significant changes in the role structure. It is mostly women who are still responsible for the family, keeping the house, looking after children, and so on.


3.1 Female Roles

Table 1 Resident population aged 6 years and over per sex and level of education (%), 1951-81






Males University Senior secondary school Junior secondary school Primary school No schooling Total

1.6 3.8 7.0 77.1 10.5 20588

2.1 4.8 11.2 75.4 6.5 22216

2.6 7.7 16.6 69.1 4.0 23724

3.6 12.2 26.5 55.6 2.2 25377

4.6 19.0 34.1 40.8 1.6 25862

Females University Senior secondary school Junior secondary school Primary school No schooling Total

0.4 2.8 4.9 76.7 15.2 21713

0.6 3.7 8.1 77.6 10.0 23400

1.1 6.2 12.8 73.6 6.3 25047

2.1 10.8 21.3 61.9 3.9 27034

3.1 18.2 27.5 48.5 2.6 27618

Source: ISTAT Census, 1951,

1961, 1971, 1981.

Table 2 Education level of the population on the labour market per sex and age range (%), 1992

Males aged: 14-19 20-24 25-29 30-59 60 and over Females aged: 14-19 20-24 25-29 30-59 60 and over

Primary school or no schooling

Junior secondary school

Senior secondary school

University degree





9.9 6.5 6.7 30.0 57.9 19.9

81.5 61.4 55.1 37.8 17.1 38.9

8.7 31.7 33.4 23.4 13.1 33.0

0.0 0.4 4.9 8.8 11.9 8.2

5.7 3.8 3.8 27.8 59.0

74.4 48.7 44.8 32.9 15.4

19.9 46.8 43.5 28.5 16.7

0.0 0.7 7.8 10.9 8.9

Source: ISTAT, Indagine sullaforza di lavoro, 1992.



Table 3 University graduates per sex, 1960-1992

Academic year 1960-61 1961-62 1962-63 1963-64 1964-65 1965-66 1966-67 1967-68 1968-69 1969-70 1970-71 1971-72 1972-73 1973-74 1974-75 1975-76 1976-77 1977-78 1978-79 1979-80 1980-81 1881-82 1982-83 1983-84 1984-85 1985-86 1986-87 1987-88 1988-89 1989-90 1990-91 1991-92


University graduates Women

Women (%)

21,866 23,019 23,976 26,114 27,927 29,054 31,243 40,194 48,793 47,520 56,414 60,651 64,570 62,944 66,185 71,157 72,076 76,015 77,151 76,061 73,948 74,007 74,745 74,096 73,208 72,148 75,810 77,869 80,974 87,714 89,481 90,669

6,944 7,279 7,732 8,801 9,771 10,580 11,924 15,979 20,705 19,727 23,985 26,184 29,548 27,493 29,751 31,877 31,200 33,225 33,489 33,104 32,507 32,930 33,455 32,365 33,180 33,295 35,010 37,366 38,626 42,778 44,525 45,530

31.7 31.6 32.2 33.7 35.0 36.4 38.2 39.8 42.4 41.5 42.5 43.2 45.8 42.7 44.9 44.8 43.3 43.7 43.4 43.5 44.0 44.5 44.9 43.7 45.3 46.1 46.2 48.0 47.7 49.0 49.8 50.2

Sources: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, various years; Irer, Donne, lavoro e condizione familiare, 1990.

Family and household duties continue to be a considerable load for women, and one that is not easily ignored. Time devoted to these tasks varies depending on the woman's work outside the home, the number of children, and the level of disposable income.


3.1 Female Roles

Table 4 Rate of women university graduates by degree type, 1960-92 (%)

Sciences Medicine Engineering Agriculture Economics Social and political science Law Literature Other










47.9 9.6 3.2 -

43.6 11.7 3.1 -

41.2 13.8 5.8 -




74.1 -

76.0 -

73.6 -

51.2 18.7 8.2 6.7 26.1 28.3 38.4 46.6

62.3 28.1 12.6 15.8 24.2 35.4 34.9 78.3 57.0

59.5 34.3 16.9 25.6 30.8 40.4 44.5 79.6 56.5

56.8 38.4 16.8 25.8 33.3 45.8 45.8 81.5 53.9

56.9 40.1 20.3 28.0 36.5 51.0 48.6 81.9 58.1

55.9 43.5 20.9 29.4 38.4 51.2 52.0 83.9 -

* These data include economics, social and political science, and law. Sources: ISTAT, Annuario statistlco italiano, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976; ISTAT, Statistiche dell'istruzione, no. 24 (1988), no. 12(1991), no. 13(1992).

Table 5 Employed women per professional status, 1971-91 (000)

Independent (total) Entrepreneur Self-employed Assisting in family business Employed manager or employee worker










1,714 18 753 943 3,370 1,164 2,206

1,509 16 717 776 3,771 1,480 2,291

1,783 56 975 708 4,558 1,973 2,585

1,756 65 978 714 4,788 2,177 2,611

1,791 85 1,005 701 4,831 2,367 2,464

1,805 96 988 720 4,951 2,554 2,397

1,845 117 1,040 687 5,146 2,790 2,356

1,789 144 1,068 578 5,364 2,970 2,393

1,799 163 1,085 552 5,690 3,238 2,452

Source: ISTAT, Rilevazione delleforze di lavoro, 1972-92.

ISTAT figures for 1985 and 1989 estimated that time spent on household chores falls where the woman has a paying job: in 1985, around 31.7 hours per week on average, compared to 51.5 hours spent by homemakers; in 1989, 33.3% of working women spent an average of less than 2 hours per day on household chores, while 94.5% of housewives spent over 3 hours per day (see tables 6 and 7). All working women spend part of the day on housework, but women with partners and children have a heavier load (7 hours and 18 minutes per day). Men spend more time at work but also allow themselves more leisure time. Only childless women manage to have a proportion of leisure time similar to men's. Free time for women is that left over after doing housework, taking care of



Table 6 Time spent on household chores per sex, 1985 (average number of hours per week) Family in which woman does work does not work Males Females Males Females no children 1 2 3 4 5 or more Total

27.1 31.7 33.3 34.5 32.1 31.7 31.7

6.4 6.6 6.2 6.0 4.8 5.9 6.3

43.1 52.1 56.0 57.1 57.6 55.5 51.5

7.6 6.1 5.2 5.0 5.3 4.2 6.1


23.2 25.2 27.0 28.0 28.9 28.6 25.7

Source: ISTAT, Famig'lie, popolazione, abitazioni, Inda§;ine multiscopo sulle famiglie, 1987-1991.

Table 7 Time spent on housework and children and on leisure by women aged 18-64, employed and homemakers, 1988-89 (%) Employed



Housework and children: none less than 2 hours 2-3 hours over 3 hours Total

32.7 32.8 8.7 25.8 100.0

0.4 2.2 2.9 94.5 100.0

25.3 24.5 7.4 42.8 100.0

Leisure time: none less than 2 hours 2-^ hours over 4 hours Total

2.1 17.0 40.1 40.8 100.0

1.9 14.0 34.1 49.8 100.0

1.8 14.1 35.0 49.1 100.0

Source: ISTAT, Rapporto Annuale 1992.

children, and so on. Married women without children have the most (4 hours and 12 minutes) and single mothers have the least (3 hours and 18 minutes). In contrast, leisure accounts for a considerable proportion of men's time, while the residual amount is spent with the family. Housework is done by fewer men and accounts for a more limited amount of time (1 hour and 24 minutes for men without children, and 1 hour and 48 minutes for men with children) (see tables 8 and 9).


3.1 Female Roles

Table 8 Use of time and type of family per sex, 1989 (average number of hours per day) Couple with children Females Males Family activity daily housework shopping caring for children under 14 Work Personal needs Leisure

7hl8' 5h30' IhOO' Ih36' 6h54' 10h54' 3h30'

Couple without children Females Males

Single mothers

Ih24' Oh42' Oh42' 7h36' 10h48' 4h42'

5hOO' 3h24' Ih06' Ih42' 6hOO' 1 Ih06' 3hl8'

5h06' 4h24' Oh54' 6h30' Ilh06' 4hl2'

Ih48' Oh48' Oh48 Ihl2' 7h36' 10h48' 4h42'

Source: M. Paci (ed.), La dimensione della disuguaglianza. Rapporto della fondazione Cespe sulla disuguaglianza sociale in Italia, Bologna: il Mulino 1993.

Table 9 Use of time of employed parents with children under 2 years per number of children, 1989 Number of children 1

Family Work Personal needs Leisure









6hl2' 6hl2' 10hl2' 2h54

Ih54' 7h42' 10h54' 4hl8'

7hOO' 6h48' lOhOO' 2h42'

2h06' 7h24' 10h42' 4hl2'

9h06' 3h42' 10h06' 2h30'

2h30' 7h54' 10hl8' 4hl8'

Source: M. Paci (ed.), La dimensione della disuguaglianza. Rapporto della fondazione Cespe sulla disuguaglianza sociale in Italia, Bologna: il Mulino 1993.

REFERENCES Del Boca, D., and Turvani, M. 1979 Famiglia e mercato del lavoro. Bologna: II Mulino. Ingrosso, M. 1979 Produzione sociale e lavoro domestico. Milan: Franco Angeli. Paci, M. (ed.) 1980 Famiglia e mercato del lavoro in una economia periferica. Milan: Franco Angeli. 1993 Le dimensioni della disuguaglianza, Rapporto della Fondazione Cespe sulla disuguaglianza sociale in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Saraceno, C. 1987 Pluralita e mutamento. Milan: Franco Angeli.



3.2 Childbearing Starting in 1986, the natural balance of the Italian population was close to zero. From 1979 onward, particularly in the central and northern areas of the country, the balance was negative (fewer births than deaths). Average life span reached 80 years, infant mortality reached historic minimum levels, and birth rates fell to their lowest levels ever: the average is now 1.2 children per woman.

In recent years the traditional family life cycle has changed. Fertility levels began to decline in the 1970s, and by the mid-1980s Italy had the lowest birth rate in the world. The continuous economic, social, political, and cultural changes that have affected Italian society since the beginning of the twentieth century have all helped to mould the demographic profile of the Italian people. Significantly, Italy's birth rate, which has almost halved over the last 20 years, is now virtually the same as its mortality rate. Aside from the influx of immigrants, the population is now nearing "zero growth" and an actual decline in population numbers. In the 1960s, a little more than 1 million babies were born per year; during the 1970s, the rate remained fairly steady with a larger number of families and around 900,000 births per year. The trend then moved downward, falling below 800,000 in 1977, to 700,000 in 1979, to 600,000 in 1984. In 1992, in a country numbering some 20 million family units, there were 562,000 babies born (Blangiardo, 1994). The fertility level (average number of children per woman) was 2.41 in 1961, rose to 2.70 in 1964, and fell to 2.33 in 1974. After that date, however, there was a sharp decline, to 1.76 in 1979 and 1.30 in 1989 - the lowest birth rate in the world (see table 1). It is above all younger women (aged 20 to 24) who have changed their childbearing habits (in this age group the fertility rate declined from 0.50 in 1952 to 0.31 in 1987) (see tables 2 and 3). The average age of women bearing their first child rose slightly, from around 26 in 1961 to 27 in 1990. If these trends continue in the near future, the Italian population will have the lowest birth rate ever recorded in any Western society. The significant drop in fertility rates, coupled with the greater ease of "managing" and "planning" childbearing, has reduced differences between men's and women's working patterns. It remains to be seen, however, how much the changes in women's childbearing behaviour can be attributed to truly "free" choices on the part of the individuals concerned and can therefore be interpreted as a sign of "modernization" and social progress, and how much they are the result of new con-


3.2 Childbearing

Table 1 Fertility rate* per region, 1961-89 Year

1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989


1.99 2.08 2.22 2.37 2.35 2.30 2.20 2.19 2.20 2.14 2.12 2.09 2.07 2.06 1.93 .78 .67 .55 .43 .35 .28 1.28 1.23 1.18 1.16 1.09 1.07 1.11 1.09


2.09 2.14 2.23 2.38 2.35 2.31 2.22 2.17 2.20 2.16 2.16 2.14 2.13 2.11 2.00 1.86 1.76 1.67 1.57 1.49 1.41 1.40 1.35 1.28 1.25 1.17 1.15 1.19 1.15


3.11 3.13 3.18 3.31 3.25 3.22 3.15 3.08 3.10 2.97 2.95 2.87 2.84 2.83 2.69 2.67 2.49 2.38 2.28 2.20 2.08 2.08 1.95 1.87 1.79 1.68 1.66 1.66 1.60


2.41 2.46 2.56 2.70 2.67 2.63 2.53 2.49 2.51 2.43 2.41 2.36 2.34 2.33 2.21 2.11 1.97 1.87 1.76 1.68 1.60 1.60 1.52 1.46 1.42 1.33 1.31 1.34 1.30

* Fertility rate = births/woman (15^5 years). Source: ISTAT, Notiziario, Serie 4, Foglio 41, Anno xrv no. 1, Feb. 1993.

ditioning factors. Comparative studies seem to bear out the second hypothesis. The dramatic fall in the birth rate has created a compensation/substitution effect in relation to the small number of job opportunities for women. Changes in childbearing patterns seem to have occurred, at least in part, in order to allow women to continue working in a labour market that has remained relatively inflexible and unresponsive to social changes.



Table 2 136 Women Age (years)

1952 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1987 1989





35 and over

0.09 0.10 0.13 0.13 0.16 0.11 0.06 0.05 0.05

0.50 0.55 0.67 0.66 0.65 0.50 0.37 0.28 0.31

0.70 0.77 0.84 0.77 0.70 0.57 0.51 0.47 0.47

0.55 0.55 0.60 0.50 0.42 0.33 0.33 0.34 0.32

0.50 0.43 0.42 0.36 0.27 0.17 0.15 0.16 0.15

Source: ISTAT, Notiziario, Serie 4, Foglio 41, Anno xrv no. 1, Feb. 1993.

The old legal strictures that reinforced women's roles as childbearers and nurturers of the family came into conflict with the social changes that had occurred in women's lives. The conflict took the form of a spread of a functional reproductive ideal to an urban-industrial economy and culture, along with a decline in the social structures and services to which the population tended to transfer functions such as child-rearing (characterized by a growing separation between sexuality and reproduction and an increase in pre-marital sexual activity). This conflict between the law and social customs and structures meant that there was little information available on the use of contraception and other birth-control practices, and there was a consequent rise in abortion (illegal until 1978) as a means of birth control, with the intrinsic trauma that this method entails. Today, this situation has changed; however, the birth rate continues to fall, as does the number of marriages, reaching historic lows since the beginning of the 1990s. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, but the main one is a sense of anxiety: people continue to seek a better quality of life that embodies an ideal family life style and certain cultural models or to allow greater potential for selfexpression. In Italy, a law legalizing abortion within the first 90 days of pregnancy was introduced in 1978. During the heated debate prior to passage of the law, many ques tions were raised. Some opinion makers maintained that it was essential in order to put an end to clandestine abortions affecting mostly women who were financially and culturally disadvantaged; others hoped that it would put an end to abortion,


3.2 Childbearing

Table 3 Average age of women having their first child, 1961-89 Year

1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989

Average age

25.7 25.7 25.6 25.5 25.4 25.4 25.3 25.2 25.2 25.1 25.1 24.9 24.9 24.9 24.7 24.7 24.8 24.9 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.5 25.7 25.9 26.1 26.3 26.5 26.7

Source: ISTAT, Notiziario, Serie 4, Foglio 41, no. 1 (Feb. 1993).

which they considered to be a "social evil." The feminist movement considered the law to be a real step toward women's liberation. Under the law, an abortion can legally be carried out only if there are serious physical and psychological risks for the woman; a medical certificate must be obtained; minors need to obtain their parents' consent; doctors and nursing staff are allowed to object on grounds of personal conscience; and abortions have to be carried out in public hospitals.



After an increase at the end of the 1970s and in the early 1980s, the rate of legal abortions began a steady decline (from 16.9% in 1983 to 10.2% in 1992) (se table 4). Most women (80%) seeking abortions are married who usually have already had children (on average two), while single women comprise 20% of the total. Statistically negligible but nevertheless worthy of mention are women who refuse another pregnancy after seven or more births. The number of women having legal abortions has dropped the most in the middle age ranges (25-34) and, since the mid-1980s, among the youngest group (up to 14 years of age) (see table 5). It is interesting to note that in the 1980s, immediately after the law was introduced, it was mainly socially disadvantaged (with little formal education) women who applied for legal abortions, by 1990 the majority of women having abortions were educated, a fact that seems to imply a desire to exert control over their own fertility (see table 6).

Table 4 Legal abortions, 1979-92

1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

Number of abortions

Rate per 1,000 live births

Rate per 1,000 women of childbearing age (15—49)

187,752 220,263 216,755 231,308 231,061 228,377 206,177 189,834 181,379 175,541 166,290 161,386 154,662 146,639

280.2 342.0 360.8 379.9 385.9 388.8 365.2 341.7 328.8 308.1 299.2 286.5 276.8 261.3

13.7 16.0 16.3 17.1 16.9 16.1 14.8 14.0 13.0 12.0 11.4 11.1 10.6 10.2

Source: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, 1980-1993.


3.2 Childbearing

Table 5 Legal abortions per age range, 1981-90 Age (years)

1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990











276 251 193 267 175 118 78 99 103 117

17,708 19,312 19,047 18,318 15,821 13,897 13,223 12,671 12,252 11,792

46,200 48,473 49,301 47,867 43,630 39,306 37,168 35,946 33,453 31,456

48,597 52,228 51,924 51,420 46,397 42,911 40,705 39,415 38,073 37456

49,276 51,210 49,774 48,247 43,706 40,633 39,302 37,843 36,103 35,464

34,817 38,714 39,993 41,884 37,858 35,580 33,197 31,598 29,566 28,686

17,178 18,103 17,748 17,507 15,720 14,926 15,331 15,682 14,696 14,192

17,178 18,103 17,748 17,507 15,720 1,733 1,661 1,513 1,448 1,312

1,698 1,743 1,880 1,857 1,819 136 96 103 88 113

216,755 231,308 231,061 228,377 206,177 189,834 181,379 175,541 166,290 161,386

Source: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, 1982-91.

Table 6 Legal abortions by education level, 1981-90

1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990

Primary school or no schooling

Junior secondary school

Senior secondary school


83,921 83,833 80,921 77,284 63,639 55,198 50,030 44,947 39,527 35,429

79,708 88,113 88,462 90,818 85,473 82,130 79,024 77,571 74,810 74,337

43,139 47,425 48,982 50,385 47,690 44,889 44,702 44,976 44,267 44,121

6,309 6,965 6,836 6,966 6,381 5,914 5,998 5,913 5,783 5,816

Source: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, 1982-1991.

REFERENCES Balbo, L. and Zahar, R. (eds.) 1979 Interferenze. Milan: Feltrinelli. Bimbi, F. 1976 "Mutamenti nei process! di socializzazione: la famiglia." In S. Acquaviva (ed.), Mutamento sociale e contraddizioni culturali. Brescia: La Scuola.



Federici, L. 1984 Procreazione, famiglia, lavoro della donna. Turin: Loescher. Giacomini, M. 1977 "La maternita e il mio mestiere." Inchiesta, 27. Saraceno, C. 1976 Anatomia della famiglia. Bari: De Donate. Zahar, R. 1978 "Donna, doppio lavoro, discriminazione." Inchiesta, 34.

3.3 Matrimonial Models After the mid-1960s, family patterns began to invert: the stability of the postwar period and the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s was replaced by new trends, such as falling birth rates, increasing marital breakdown, and new family compositions (singles, unmarried partners, single-parent families, second marriages).

From the 1970s onward, family models based on a stable marriage and the baby boom began to decline in number. This trend was accompanied by falling birth rates, unstable marriages, and new types of family units, including single people, single-parent families, unmarried couples, and "second families" (formed as a result of second marriages following divorce). One of the most significant changes is family size. The proportion of singleperson households rose from 9.5% in 1951 to 22.4% in 1991, and that of two person households rose from 17.4% to 24.5% over the same period (see table 1). Table 1 Family size, 1951-91 (%)


1951 1961 1971 1981 1990 1991



9.5 10.6 12.9 17.9 21.1 22.4

17.4 19.6 22.0 23.6 24.3 24.5

Number of family members: 3 4 5



13.3 12.6 11.8 9.5 7.1 6.9

8.4 7.0 5.3 3.4 1.9 1.7

11.7 7.4 4.4 2.0 0.8 0.6

20.7 22.4 22.4 22.1 22.2 22.1

19.0 20.4 21.2 21.5 22.0 21.8

Sources: Census,ISTAT 1951,1961, 1971, \9%\\iST\T:,IndaginecampionariasmconsumidellefamigUe,nQ. 8, 1990-91.


3.3 Matrimonial Models

The proportion of childless couples also rose (from 25.6% in 1987 to 27.6% in 1990), as did that of couples with one child (from 39.2% in 1983 to 41.5% in 1990) and two children (from 41% in 1983 to 42.8% in 1990) (see tables 2 and 3). The number of children born out of wedlock also increased; in 1991 it accounted for 7% of all births (see table 4). This was partly the result of new legislation, similar to that in other Western nations, where unmarried partners have been accorded the same legal status as families headed by married partners. As mentioned in the introduction, however, consensual unions of unmarried couples and births outside of wedlock, as well as single-parent families and singleperson households, are less widespread phenomena in Italy than in most other developed countries.

Table 2 Numbers of families and couples, 1983, 1988, 1990

1983 1988 1990

Total Families (000)

Total Couples (000)

15,682 16,008 16,086

14,310 14,463 14,495

Couples with children (000) (%) 10,650 10,549 10,501

74.4 72.9 72.4

Couples without children (000) (%) 23,660 23,913 21,994

5.6 7.1 7.6

Source: ISTAT, Famiglie, popolazione, abitazioni, Indagine multiscopo sulle famiglie 1987-91.

Table 3 Couples with children per number of children, 1983, 1988, 1990 (%) Number of children




1 2 3 4 5 or over Total number of couples with children

39.2 40.7 14.2 4.1 1.8

41.2 42.6 12.4 2.8 1.0

41.5 42.8 12.5 2.4 0.8




Source: ISTAT, Famiglie, popolazione, abitazioni, Indagine multiscopo sulle famiglie 1987-91.



Table 4 Live births and births out of wedlock, 1960-91


1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991

Live births (per 1,000)

Births out of wedlock (per 100 births)

17.9 18.4 18.4 18.6 19.5 18.8 18.4 17.5 17.3 17.2 16.5 16.8 16.3 15.9 15.7 14.8 13.9 13.1 12.5 11.8 11.2 11.0 10.9 10.6 10.3 10.1 9.7 9.6 9.9 9.7 9.8 9.9

2.4 2.4 2.2 2.2 2.1 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.1 2.0 2.2 2.3 2.5 2.5 2.6 2.6 3.1 3.5 3.9 3.9 4.1 4.3 4.6 4.8 5.0 5.3 5.7 5.9 5.9 6.2 6.9 -

Sources: ISTAT, Sommario di Statistiche Storiche del'ltalia 1961-1975, 1976; ISTAT, Statistiche demografiche, vol. 32, 1988; ISTAT, Nascite e decessi, anno 1990, no. 3, 1994; ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, 1991, 1992.


3.3 Matrimonial Models

Consensual unions tend to be more widespread among the better educated sectors of society, particularly university graduates living in large towns and cities. According to a recent study, almost 80% of young Italians do not object to living together unmarried (Cavalli and de Lillo, 1993). The growing trend to consider "natural" (i.e., unmarried) and "legitimate" families equal - with particular regard to parent/child relations - culminated in the 1975 family law that stated that children born out of wedlock and recognized have the same rights for maintenance and education and almost the rights in matters of inheritance from their parents as do children born into wedlock. Another indicator of the profound change in family models is the increase in the number of separations and divorces. Divorce was introduced in Italy in 1970, after which time there was a sharp rise in the number of divorces, from 17,134 in 1971 to 27,350 in 1991 (see table 5), accompanied by a decrease in social disapproval of divorce. The increased instability of the marriage institution may be deduced from the amount of legal separations, which rose 11,796 in 1971 to 44,916 in 1991. Although there are fewer divorces in Italy than in most developed countries, the divorce rate varies from one geographic area to another: it is much more widespread in the central and northern regions of the country than in the south. On average, couples divorce within the first nine years of marriage and this figure has remained constant over the years (see table 6). In the 1970s, the majority of divorces involved women over 50 - as a consequence of the recently approved divorce law, which legalized many de facto separations; later on, the average age of both divorced women and divorced men dropped (see table 7). The proportion of divorces filed by women rose from 37% in 1971 to 49% in 1988 (table 7). Whether there are children and what age they are does not seem to affect couples' decision to separate: the percentage of separating couples with children aged under 18 is the same as that for separating couples with adult children or none at all. In the majority of divorces involving children, the mother is awarded custody (78% in 1971 and 90% in 1988). The factor that seems to influence most the decision to separate or not is the woman's financial dependence. For some women, marriage appears to be above all an economic arrangement that survives despite marital disagreement. The number of second marriages rose, particularly in urban areas of the central and northern regions (Rome, Bologna, Milan). For both men and women, there is a higher probability of getting married for both sexes if the person concerned was previously married. Within the same age group, a person who was already married and divorced is more likely to remarry than is a person who has never been married (Barbagli, 1990). Divorced men of all age groups are more likely to remarry (50%) than are divorced women (26%) (Barbagli, 1990).



Table 5 Separations and divorces, 1951-91


19515 1961 5 1971 5 19725 19735 1974 5 19755 19765 1977 5 19785 1979 5 1980 5 19815 19825 1983 5 1984 5 19855 1986 5 19875 1988 5 1989 5 1990 5 1991 5

5,1965 6,032 11,796 13,493 14,083 16,451 19,132 21,225 23,826 25,867 28,672 29,462 30,899 33,807 33,476 34,960 35,162 35,547 35,205 37,224 42,640 ' 44,018 44,916

Separations Per 1,000


Per 1,000

21.85 24.85 25.65 29.7 5 34.35 37.85 42.25 45.65 50.45 51.65 54.6 5 59.75 -

_ 17,134 32,627 18,172 17,890 10,618 12,106 11,902 11,985 11,969 11,844 12,606 14,640 13,626 15,065 15,650 16,857 27,072 30,778 30,314 27,682 27,350

— 31.7 60.0 5 33.15 32.35 19.05 21.65 21.15 21.15 21.05 20.8 5 22.35 25.85 -


Sources'. ISTAT, Annuario statistico itallano, 1984; ISTAT, Matrimoni, separazioni e divoni, vol. 2, no. 33/34, 1990; vol. 2, no. 35/36, 1991; no. 1, 1991, nos. 2 and 3, 1993.


3.3 Matrimonial Models

Table 6 Duration of marriage,* 1970-88 (%) Years






Separations From 0 to 4
























20 and over






Total Total number









100 37,224

Divorces: From 0 to 4











19 9

19 10





18 10


9 100











5-9 10-14

15-19 20 and over Total Total number

100 17,134

* Duration from marriage ceremony to court-ordered separation. Source: M. Barbagli, Provando e riprovando, Bologna: il Mulino 1990.



Table 7 Divorces by spouse's characteristics, 1971-1988 Couple with children under 18 (%)

Wife unemployed (%)

Children awarded to mother (%)




Woman filing (%)

Average age of husband

Average age of wife

Couple without children (%)

37 34






1973 1974


















1976 1977

35 37




31 34









83 82








1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988

47 38 38 37

46 45 44 44

42 42 41 40

39 38 39 46 49

44 44

41 41 39 39

38 38 40 40 38

40 42 43 42 43 44 43 42 39 42

45 44 43 47 44 43 37 36

85 87 87 88 88 89 88 89 90

1971 1972

43 42


44 42

Source: M. Barbagli, Provando e riprovando, Bologna: il Mulino 1990.

80 81 82 82 82


3.3 Matrimonial Models

The average age at which people marry is around 28 for single men (first marriage) and 26 for single women. The average age for widowed people who marry again is 56 for men and 49 for women. The average age for divorced men who marry again is 44; for divorced women it is 39; for both sexes it has fallen considerably for both sexes since 1971 (see tables 8 and 9).

Table 8 Type of marriage and civil status preceding marriage per sex, 1951-90


Number Per 1,000

Rite (%)

1951 1961 1971 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990

328,225 397,461 404,464 354,202 347,928 331,416 323,930 322,968 316,953 312,486 303,663 300,889 298,523 297,540 306,264 318,296 321,272 319,711

6.9 7.9

7.5 6.3 6.2 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.6 5.5 5.3 5.3 5.2 5.2 5.3 5.5 5.4 5.4

Males (%)

Females (%)









97.6 98.4 96.1 90.6 89.7 89.1 88.0 87.6 87.3 86.7 86.1 86.3 86.1 85.8 85.5 83.7 83.3 83.3

2.4 1.6








2.1 1.7 2.2 2.0 2.0 1.8 5.7 5 .5 5.5 5 .4 5 .3 5 .3 51.3 1.2 1.1

1.7 1.5 1.7 1.8 2.0 1.9 1.9 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.4 2.7 3.9 4.0 3.9

98.0 98.2 97.9 98.0 97.8 98.0 97.9 97.8 97.9 97.9 97.8 97.6 97.9 96.6 96.7

1.0 0.9 1.0 0.9 1.0 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.5

1.0 0.9 1.1 1.1 1.2 1.1 1.2 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.8 2.5 2.8 2.8

3.9 9.4 10.3 10.9 12.0 12.4 12.7 13.3 13.9 13.7 13.9 14.2 14.5 16.3 16.7 16.8

96.2 96.8 96.1 96.2 96.0 96.3 96.4 96.3 96.4 96.5 96.3 96.0 94.9 94.8 95.0

Source: ISTAT, Matrimoni, separazioni e divorzi, 33/34,1990; 35/36,1991; no. 1 1991, nos. 2, 3,1992; ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, 1992,1993.



Table 9 Average age of spouse per civil status, 1961-90

Year 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990


Males Widower


Average, males*


Females Widow

28.52 28.43 28.30 28.14 28.15 28.04 27.92 27.81 27.67 27.51 27.47 27.63 27.34 27.26 27.17 27.33 27.06 27.33 26.82 27.23 27.19 27.22 27.32 27.42 27.54 27.71 27.86 28.01 28.21 28.41

51.92 52.80 53.05 53.02 52.94 52.04 53.39 53.39 52.91 53.86 54.09 53.90 53.97 54.24 54.25 53.86 53.78 54.44 53.73 55.50 56.14 56.37 56.63 56.58 56.61 56.52 56.24 56.09 56.16 56.42

' 53.21 52.96 51.36 49.99 49.09 49.46 47.87 47.65 46.93 47.39 46.65 46.13 45.74 45.36 45.13 45.10 44.54 43.30 43.46 43.81

29.19 29.06 28.92 28.79 28.75 28.67 28.57 28.46 28.28 28.14 28.27 28.93 28.60 28.40 28.12 28.26 27.81 28.26 27.71 28.20 28.08 28.07 28.17 28.25 28.32 28.50 28.66 28.96 29.15 29.32

24.81 24.75 24.64 24.51 24.45 24.35 24.25 24.19 24.12 24.06 24.14 24.52 24.22 24.10 24.02 24.17 23.90 24.18 23.70 24.05 23.97 24.01 24.13 24.29 24.45 24.66 24.87 25.13 25.35 25.59

46.71 47.56 47.16 47.33 46.85 46.71 47.48 47.88 47.35 47.21 47.48. 47.19 47.34 47.89 47.66 48.71 47.53 49.22 48.35 48.75 50.02 50.29 50.90 51.18 50.94 49.54 49.67 49.01 48.86 49.23

Average, Divorced females* 46.38 46.66 45.51 44.19 42.99 43.66 42.93 41.86 41.83 42.89 42.17 41.61 41.19 41.06 40.65 40.64 40.24 38.87 38.76 38.92

25.06 24.98 24.86 24.74 24.67 24.58 24.49 24.43 24.35 24.29 24.45 24.06 24.75 24.59 24.43 24.60 24.27 24.63 24.10 24.53 24.41 24.45 24.57 24.73 24.86 25.07 25.29 25.62 25.87 26.09

* From 1961 to 1970, this average also includes the divorced. Source: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, 1966, 1972, 1978; ISTAT, Matrimoni, separazioni e divorzi, several years.


3.4 Employment

REFERENCES Barbagli, M. 1984 Sotto lo stesso tetto. Mutamenti della famiglia in Italia dal XV al XX Secolo. Bologna: II Mulino. 1990 Provando e riprovando. Famiglia, matrimonio e divorzio in Italia e in altri paesi occidentali. Bologna: II Mulino. Donati, P. 1989 Primo rapporto sulla famiglia in Italia. Milan: Ed. Paoline. Maggioni, G. 1991 // divorzio in Italia. Milan: Franco Angeli. Saraceno, C. 1988 Sociologid della famiglia. Bologna: II Mulino.

3.4 Employment In the immediate postwar period, women worked mainly in farming and industry as farm or factory workers. Since the mid-1970s, women's presence in the labour market has changed not only in terms of numbers, but also of the types of people concerned. The trend in the labour market for women is similar to that for men: women enter it later because they stay in school longer, and they tend to remain in a full-time job for the duration of their working lives. Forms of job segregation continue within the labour market, which is why women tend to be concentrated in low-prestige jobs. The key feature of the Italian job market, as shown in official statistics over the last 20 years, is the substantial rise in the number of working women, a factor that has contributed to the overall rise in unemployment in Italy, since the percentage of working men, after declining from 62.1% in 1961 to 54.5% in 1977, remained steady at this level until the early 1990s. From the early 1960s to the early 1970s, the proportion of women active on the job market fell, as a result of the reduction in the proportion of those working in agriculture, from 26.4% in 1960 to 21.3% in 1972; thereafter, it rose steadily, reaching 31% in 1992 (see tables 1 and 2). As mentioned in the introduction, the increase in women's employment rates has been more pronounced in Italy than in most other developed countries.



Table 1 Labour force, rate of activity, rate of unemployment per sex, 1959-92 Males



Labour force rate (000)

Activity on labour market (%)

Unemployment (%)

Labour rate (000)

Activity on force (%)

Unemployment labour market (%)

1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

14,899 14,904 14,825 14,749 14,616 14,786 14,655 14,591 14,719 14,673 14,485 14,547 14,507 14,443 14,410 14,514 14,579 14,614 14,563 14,616 14,678 14,746 14,845 14,878 14,952 14,986 15,040 15,068 15,074 15,230 15,071 15,053 15,244 15,171

62.9 62.5 62.1 61.2 60.2 60.2 59.3 58.5 58.5 57.8 56.8 56.6 56.0 55.4 54.9 54.8 54.6 54.5 54.1 54.1 54.2 54.4 54.7 54.6 54.6 54.6 54.7 54.7 54.6 55.9 54.5 54.4 54.9 54.5

6.1 4.8 4.2 3.5 3.1 3.3 4.3 4.6 4.1 4.2 4.0 3.7 3.8 4.6 4.2 3.6 3.8 4.2 4.6 4.7 4.9 4.8 5.4 6.1 6.6 6.8 7.0 7.4 8.1 8.1 8.1 7.3 7.5 8.1

6,980 6,641 6,710 6,557 6,236 6,084 5,957 5,776 5,788 5,882 5,884 5,889 5,897 5,829 6,038 6,135 6,282 6,563 6,913 6,961 7,222 7,425 7,594 7,667 7,869 8,052 8,173 8,399 8,595 8,758 8,799 8,872 9,000 9,086

28.0 26.4 26.5 25.7 24.3 23.5 22.8 22.0 21.9 22.1 21.9 21.8 21.7 21.3 21.8 22.0 22.4 23.2 24.4 24.5 25.3 26.0 26.5 26.7 27.3 27.8 28.2 28.9 29.6 30.1 30.1 30.3 30.7 31.0

8.8 7.4 7.3 6.8 5.7 6.8 8.1 8.9 8.7 9.5 9.9 9.6 9.5

Source: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, 1960—93. Authors' compilations.

10.9 11.6

9.6 10.7 12.2 12.6 12.6 13.3 13.1 14.4 14.9 16.2 17.1 17.3 17.8 18.7 18.8 18.7 17.1 18.6 17.3


3.4 Employment

Table 2 Employment rate per sex, 1959-92 Year

Males (%)

Females (%)

1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

59.1 59.5 59.5 59.0 58.4 58.2 56.7 55.8 56.1 55.4 54.5 54.5 53.9 53.9 52.6 52.8 52.8 52.1 51.6 51.6 51.5 51.8 51.8 51.2 51.0 50.9 50.9 50.7 50.2 50.6 50.1 50.6 50.8 50.1

25.5 24.5 24.6 24.0 22.9 21.9 21.0 20.0 20.0 20.0 19.7 19.7 19.6 18.9 19.5 19.9 20.0 20.4 21.3 21.4 21.9 22.6 22.7 22.7 22.9 23.1 23.3 23.8 24.0 24.4 24.5 25.1 25.5 25.6

Source: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, various years. Authors' compilations.



There was an observable increase in the numbers of working women in the central age group. In 1988, the 25-29 age group had the highest proportion of working women (63.5%), followed by those aged between 20 and 24 (62.6%), and of those from 30 to 39 (59.3%) (see table 3). Between 1971 and 1988, the profiles o women in the labour force also changed. Women's presence in the labour market has been largely a reflection of their life stages: the largest proportion of working women were very young (45.2% aged between 14 and 19 and 48% aged between 20 and 24); a smaller proportion of women in the central age group were working; and a higher proportion women over 39 were working. In the 1970s, the profile of working women, graphically represented as an "M" trend, gradually began to change. From 1972 to the present, women's presence in the job market has moved from being subordinate to keeping the home and looking after children to a more typically "male" working profile, with constant presence on the job market irrespective of age and family circumstances. This metamorphosis can be explained by the changing structure of the employment market; whereas the "M" curve in 1972 reflected the predominance of industrial jobs (less compatible with family responsibilities), by the end of the 1980s the job market was dominated by the service sector (see table 4). Over the last 10 years, the service sector has offset the decline in other areas of the economy (agriculture and industry) by offering more job opportunities for women. In comparative terms, the number of women working in the service sector rose from 30% to 40.7% between 1970 and 1992, similar to what occurred in othe European countries, such as France and Great Britain. This trend seems to suggest

Table 3 Working women per age range, 1971-8 5 Age range





under 14 14-19 20-24 25-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 over 60

25.2 31.9 44.7 36.2 30.4 30.2 21.3 5.2

31.0 29.6 54.4 49.7 41.2 36.4 27.4 6.1

33.9 25.9 59.6 58.6 54.2 43.1 26.8 4.5

35.1 24.2 62.6 63.5 59.3 47.0 27.3 4.2

Sample size: 2,000. Source: IRER, Donne, lavoro e condizione familiare, 1990.


3.4 Employment

Table 4 Rate of labour activity by women per economic sector, 1959-92 (%) Year

195 9 196 0 1961 196 2 1963 196 4 196 5 196 6 19 67 196 8 196 9 1970 1971 1972 1973 197 4 1975 197 6 197 7 197 8 197 9 198 0 198 1 19825 19835 19845 19855 19865 1987 5 19885 19895 19905 19915 1992 5


34.65 33.35 34.35 34.95 34.0 5 33.35 32.15 31.05 31.05 32.05 32.35 31.85 32.75 32.35 33.15 33.65 33.95 34.55 35.65 35.65 36.75 36.25 35.45 35.15 35.45 34.85 35.45 35.75 34.95 34.65 35.25 35.75 36.15 36.85


27 .5 26. 5 26. 6 25. 1 24. 5 23.1 22.7 22.44 22. 52 22. 5 22.45 22.65 22.15 21.45 21.7 5 22.2 22.05 22.15 23.05 22.85 23.05 23.55 23.75 23.75 23.65 23.65 23.65 23.99 23.99 24.11 24.4 4 24. .6 23 .9 23. 9

Source: ISTAT, Rilevazione delle forze di lavoro, several years. Authors' compilations.


31. 5 31. 0 31. 6 31. 9 30. 8 30. 3 30 .6 30. 0 29.7 9 29. 8 30. 1 30.29 30.55 30. 8 31. 3 31. 8 32. 4 33.2 34. 6 34.88 35. 5 36.3 5 36. 6 36. 9 37. 5 37. 5 37.45 38.0 38.75 38.95 39.25 39.855 40.35 40.75



that the sharp rise in female employment - the presence of women in the labour force irrespective of age and number of children - is actually underpinned and supported by the positive supply of employment in the service sector, where formal and informal organizational conditions are less restrictive than those in industry and better suited to women's need to and availability to work. Let us now try to assess whether the increase in the number of working women actually reflects a rise in employment levels or whether, on the contrary, it has caused an increase in unemployment. Figures indicate that in Italy, the numbers of women active on the job market rose due to the combined effect of an increase in the number of women with a job and in the number of women actively looking for work. Unemployment figures show that at the end of the 1980s, unemployed women accounted for only 43% of total unemployed but 51% of those seeking their first job. However, it should be noted that while unemployment has affected all sectors of the labour force over the last 10 years, women have been the hardest hit (in 1992, 8.1% of men and 17.3% of women). The problem of unemployment has affected women in the central age group (30-39) and those over 50 and close to retirement age the most (see table 5). At the end of the 1980s, the number of women with degrees or high-school diplomas was almost equal to that of men. Over the last decade, the proportion of working women with a poor standard of schooling (elementary-school certificate or no qualification at all) dropped sharply (from 54.5% to 21.8%), while the proportion of women with a college diploma or a university degree rose (from 15.1% to 33.3% and from 4.5% to 9.1%, respectively; see table 6). Working women therefore are educated to a reasonable level and tend to be in the central age group. The highest proportion are over 30 and married, demonstrating that women do not abandon the labour market when they marry and have their first child (see table 7). If we examine the working patterns of women in the job market alongside social and cultural factors, we have to consider the influence and potential restrictions imposed by family responsibilities. Women's presence in the job market has been enhanced not only by better educational standards and greater supply of jobs for women but also, as mentioned above, by changes in women's life cycle pattern - such as the sharp drop in the birth rate - and fewer family-imposed restrictions. In general, women's jobs are long term and stable. Since the end of the 1970s, the number of "real" permanent jobs rose steadily (from 6,221 in 1985 to 6,959 in 1991) (see table 8).

3.4 Employment


Table 5 Women's unemployment rate per age range, 1984-92 (%) Age range








14-19 20-24 25-29 Total 14-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-64 64 and over Total all a£;es

52.7 34.4 18.8 32.9

50.8 37.0 21.3 33.8 11.1

49.9 37.5 24.4 34.5 13.0

48.9 36.9 24.5 33.9 14.0

46.6 34.3 23.3 31.5 12.8

44.7 33.0 22.9 30.2 12.9

47.8 34.7 23.2 31.3 13.3

6.9 4.4 2.2 3.6

7.3 4.6 1.6 2.1

7.6 4.6 2.2 1.9

6.8 4.1 1.6 4.5

6.7 3.9 1.2 3.6

7.1 4.4 2.4 4.0






9.9 6.6 3.7 1.6 1.2 17.1



Source: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1992,1993. Authors ' compilations.

Table 6 Women employed per education level, 1977-92 (%)


Primary school or no schooling

Junior secondary school

Senior secondary school



1977 1980 1985 1988 1990 1991 1992

54.5 46.9 35.6 28.5 25.1 22.8 21.8

25.9 29.1 32.2 34.7 35.3 36.2 35.9

15.1 18.7 24.4 28.9 30.8 32.1 33.3

4.5 5.3 6.9 7.9 8.7 8.9 9.1

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Sample size:: 2,000. Sources'. IRER, Donne, lavoro, condizionefamiliare, 1990; ISTAT, Rilevazione delleforze di lavoro.

Table 7 Rate of women's activity on the labour market per civil status, 1971-88 Year



Widowed and divorced

1971 1981 1985 1988

41.2 46.6 44.3 46.1

21.3 32.0 33.9 35.5

12.8 14.3 14.2

Sources: Census, ISTAT 1971, 1981; ISTAT, Rilevazione Trimestrale, 1985, 1988.




Table 8 Women with permanent and temporary employment, 1979-91 Year


1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991


764 872 689 534 571 607 531

5,539 5,772 5,932 6,221 6,420 6,546 6,959

Women with full-time and part-time employment, 1985-91 Year

Full time number


Part time number


1985 1987 1989 1991

6,038 6,216 6,376 6,740

89.4 88.9 89.1 90.0

717 775 777 750

10.6 11.1 10.9 10.0

Source: 1ST AT, Rilevazione dellefone di lavoro, 1980-92.

The statistics presented so far tend to contrast sharply with the attitude predominant in the 1960s, when female employment was considered more than anything to be "auxiliary": women could be employed if there was a need, but the labour market, by and large, could survive without them (Paci, 1973). Only a small percentage of women work part time in Italy, as compared with other European countries, because of the more limited demand of these type of jobs. In the 1980s, the number of women looking for their first job remained high but steady (around 50%). Unemployment rates for women diminished, from 46.3% to 43.1%, but other "job hunters" - the hidden unemployed, of whom 70% are housewives, female students, and pensioners - rose by about 3%. Over the same period, the proportion of those who would work "under certain conditions" was also largely composed of women (76%) but remained steady. The diminishing "marginal" character of women's unemployment can be perceived through the drop in the number of women looking for work who previously had jobs (from 53% to 44%) and of women working at home (from 12.8% in 1977 to 9.9% i 1983) (see table 9).


3.4 Employment

Table 9 Current employment status per sex, 1980 and 1988 1980

% female Looking for first job Unemployed Looking for job other than first Total People who would work under certain circumstances People looking for job who have previously had job


% female

50.2 46.3 69.8 56.5

51.3 43.1 73.5 57.0





Sample size: 2,000. Source: IRER, Donne, lavoro, condizionefamiliare, 1990.

REFERENCES Barile, P. and Zanuso, L. 1980 Lavorofemminile e condizionefamiliare. Milan: I Franco Angeli. De Meo, G. 1969 "Volontari e involontari: la posizione della donna". Rassegna di Statistica del Lavoro nos. 1-2. Del Boca, A. 1988 "II mercato del lavoro italiano negli anni '80: problem! e prospettive." In A. Martinelli (ed.), Lavoro femminile e part opportunita. Milan: Franco Angeli. Del Boca, D., and Turvani, M. 1979 Famiglia e mercato del lavoro. Bologna: II Mulino. Frey, L. 1976 "Le prospettive dell'offerta di lavoro in Italia e il lavoro nero." Tendenze dell'occupazione no. 8 (October). Gherardi, S. 1982 "Mercato del lavoro femminile: le rilevazioni statistiche in Italia." Inchiesta no. 56 (April-June). Marcuzzo, M.C. and Rossi Doria, A. 1987 La ricerca delle donne: studi femministi in Italia. Turin: Rosemberg e Sellier. Zanatta, A.L.F. 1988 "Donne e lavoro." In Immagini della societa italiana. Rome: Istituto Centrale di Statistica Associazione Italiana di Sociologia.

4 Labour Market

The structure of the labour market is affected by demographic trends. While the population increased by 14.6% from 1960 to 1990, the working-age population increased by 19.1% over the period, in spite of the tendency for young people to postpone their entrance into the labour market by staying in school longer and for older people to take advantage of early-retirement schemes. The increase was due mainly to women's increased activity in the labour market since the 1970s. Thus, the average number of salaries per household rose even though the official unemployment rate was also constantly on the rise over the period. According to Pugliese (1993), the Italian labour market has been affected by three main features: the persistent relatively low proportion of the employed in the total population; the dramatic and persistent contrast in employment rates between the northern and southern regions, in spite of a long tradition of direct intervention by the state to promote employment at the regional level; and the concentration of high levels of unemployment among young people seeking a first job. These features have fed a theoretical debate on the Italian labour market since the 1970s. The decline in employment rates in the 1960s was due to the loss of jobs in agriculture, where the female component of households was in any case considered to be working in the family plot. An official interpretation of the dropping rate was given by the Central Statistical Office that rising income induced people to withdraw from the labour market (De Meo, 1970). This was based on the "additional worker" hypothesis, in which the dynamic of supply in the labour market is affected by changes in family income. This hypothesis was invalidated when it became clear that the employment rate was higher in regions of higher economic development and lower in the underdeveloped southern areas (La Malfa and Vinci, 1970). Thus, during the 1970s the "discouraged worker" hypothesis, in which the long time spent in seeking a job might lead workers to withdraw from the labour market, was considered a better explanation. This interpretation may explain the paradoxical situation of the 1980s, when a consistent increase in female employment was accompanied by a dramatic increase of female unemployment.


Labour Market

The Italian labour market is characterized by two cleavages. The first is based on the above-mentioned contrast in employment rates between north and south, which was fed by divergent rates of economic development and was largely responsible for the internal migrations of the 1950s and 1960s, when a nationwide labour market was established for the first time. The second was rooted in the partition of the industrial structure between large and small firms. As large firms emerged, especially during the first two decades after the war, more workers were able to benefit from the new welfare system, which provided secure employment, unemployment-compensation plans, and a set of on-the-job guarantees, thanks to the widespread presence of strong trade unions in the large factories. Big business dealt with the rigidities of this segment of the labour market by decentralizing production to a second labour market consisting of small firms most of which were created after the industrial restructuring of the 1970s. Labour has traditionally been more flexible in this segment, because of its exclusion from the welfare system. In the 1970s, the higher efficiency of small firms partly counterbalanced job losses in large factories, and at the same time the political system managed to bring most small firms under the welfare umbrella. Nevertheless, this cleavage in the labour market still exists, although the 1980s saw a number of efforts to reduce welfaresystem guarantees even in large factories, in order to promote more flexible reactions to market signals and because of the growing fiscal crisis (see chapter 0). The traditional cleavage between the segments of the labour market that do and do not have access to the welfare system is spreading into the service sector, where it is represented by differences between the civil service and labour contracts in the public sector in general, and the employees in the private sector, who are significantly less well protected from unemployment. Unemployment has been one of the most hotly debated social and political problems in postwar Italy, but at the beginning of the 1960s, when full employment was reached in northern industrialized areas and emigration helped to lower the traditionally high unemployment rate of southern regions. Full employment was reached in 1963 as a consequence of the high rate of industrial development, which induced sudden increases in labour costs, and a consequent loss of international competitiveness in industry led to increasing unemployment rate, especially as the internal migration flow slowed, which in turn kept labour costs down, so that international competitiveness could not be ensured without a certain amount of unemployment (Graziani, 1979). During the 1960s and especially the 1970s, a significant part of the increase in employment was achieved in the growing informal economy, as a result of widespread decentralization of production. In this context, unofficial jobs fostered tax evasion and avoidance of social security payments.


Labour Market

Since the end of the 1970s, there has also been a lack of supply of specific skills in the industrialized northern and central areas, in spite of persistent unemployment not only of unskilled labour, but also of educated young people. The 1970s and the 1980s saw a consistent and progressive increase of official unemployment, especially among women and young people seeking their first job, and in southern regions. In 1963, male unemployment rate fell below 1% in northwestern regions; in 1985 the rate was 66.4% for young women in southern regions (Borzaga, 1990). Therefore, unemployment has become a structural problem of increasing gravity that has required direct and indirect interventions by government. The traditional measures of economic policy, aimed at increasing jobs especially in southern regions, have recently been replaced by legislative interventions on labour agreements that introduce more flexible ways in appointing, using, and dismissing workers. This has led to new segmentation in the labour market and to new types of occupations, although Italy is well below other European countries in terms of diffusion of special labour agreements involving part-time work, job sharing, temporary employment, and apprenticeship. According to the literature, during the 1980s, high unemployment rates that affected the industrialized regions are in part due to a growing mismatch between supply and demand of different qualifications, because of the inadequacy of the educational system and the inefficiency of vocational training structures. Governments tried to reduce unemployment, which was highest among young people, through laws and fiscal incentives aiming at getting more flexible labour contracts for those entering the labour market (part time, which is traditionally neglected in the Italian labour market, temporary work, on-the-job-training contracts, apprenticeships, seasonal contracts). The effects of these measures on unemployment are still being debated and were not able to stem widening gap in unemployment rates between northern and southern Italy. At the beginning of the 1990s the economic crisis also accelerated the loss of jobs in industry, which was not been compensated for by the increase of jobs in the service sector. The costly unemployment-compensation system has been partly replaced with solidarity contracts (agreements by which unemployment is avoided by reducing both working time and wages). REFERENCES Accornero, A. 1990 "II lavoro che cambia." Politica ed Economia, no. 1-2.


4.1 Unemployment

Bagnasco, A. 1986 "Mercato e mercati del lavoro." Sociologia del lavoro, 9, no. 29. Borzaga, C. 1990 "L'evoluzione della struttura della disoccupazione in Italia: una possibile ipotesi interpretativa." Politiche del lavoro, no. 10. Cortese, A. 1987 // mercato del lavoro tra economia e societd. Milan: F. Angeli. De Meo, G. 1970 Evoluzione e prospettive delleforze di lavoro in Italia. Milan: ISTAT. Graziani, A. 1979 L'economia italiana dal '45 ad oggi. Rev. ed. Bologna: II Mulino. La Malfa, G., and Vinci, S. 1970 "II saggio di partecipazione della forza lavoro in Italia." L'Industria, no. 6. Leon, P., and Marocchi, M. (eds.) 1973 Sviluppo economico italiano eforza-lavoro. Padua: Marsilio. Ministero del lavoro e della previdenza sociale 1989 Report '89. Labour and Employment Polices in Italy. Rome: Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato. 1991 Report '90-'91. Labour and Employment Polices in Italy. Rome: Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato. Paci, M. 1973 Mercato del lavoro e classi sociali in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Pugliese, Enrico. 1993 Sociologia della disoccupazione. Bologna: II Mulino. Reyneri, E. 1987 "II mercato." In Trattato di Sociologia del lavoro e dell'organizzazione. Le tipologie, Milan: F. Angeli. 1990 "La politica del lavoro in Italia: attori e processi decisionali." Stato e Mercato, no. 29.

4.1 Unemployment The Italian labour market has suffered a constantly high unemployment rate, structurally higher than the European average. Unemployment is concentrated on the female component and on young people seeking a first job. Regional differences are also great and constant in spite of the traditional employment policy of job creation in southern regions through direct investment in


Labour Market state-owned firms. Especially since the 1970s, the creation of a widespread social-security system for the employed has affected many labour market mechanisms, which have fallen under public control. These interventions often had unanticipated effects and became increasingly difficult to implement during the fiscal crisis of the 1980s. Since then, following an international trend in labourmarket policies, unemployment has been dealt with through the introduction of flexible labour contracts and incentives for firms that hire young people.

Throughout the period under study, the unemployment rate in Italy has been higher than the European average. The official Italian employment rate was 9.8% in 1990, compared to the European Community's rate of 8.4%, and only in Ireland and Spain was Italy's rate exceeded. However, the demographic structure of Italy's unemployment is unique, being unusually high among women and young people. In 1989 the employment rate for both males and females was 49%, well below the European Union average of 54.2%. Only Belgium and Spain had a lower rate, while Denmark, with 66.8%, had the highest. In every country the level of the overall employment rate depends very much on the female component, but in Italy, the male rate is also below the average. Of course, the situation is substantially different depending on the area of the country. In northern and central regions the employment rate increased slightly, from 60.4% in 1980 to 61% in 1990, while in southern regions the rate was significantly lower and increased a bit more, from 54.4% to 55.9%, over the same period. The difference was accounted for by the female component, because the male employment rate was even higher in southern regions in 1990, while the female rate was 37.2% in southern regions, compared to 47.2% in northern regions. Table 1 shows the employment rate over the entire period under study. Two trends can be discerned. First, the rate declined constantly and quickly in the 1960s, reaching its nadir in 1972 at 37.9%. This trend was due to massive internal migrations of families from rural areas to industrialized towns, where the difference between employed and unemployed populations is more clear-cut and therefore easier to discern statistically. Second, the trend was reversed thereafter and showed a moderate but steady increase up to the 1990s. The overall rate is the result of different trends for males and females: up to 1972, the rapid decline was due to both components; thereafter, the male rate remained constant at 54% for two decades, and the increase was totally due to women entering the labour market. Women were more active on the labour market at the end of the period than at the beginning. The reasons for this phenomenon are both economic and cultural and are extensively discussed in chapter 3.


4.1 Unemployment

Table 1 Unemployment and employment rates, 1959-92 (% population of working age) Employment rate

Unemployment rate

1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992







7.0 5.6 5.1 4.5 3.9 4.3 5.4 5.9 5.4 5.7 5.7 5.4 5.4 6.4 6.4 5.4 5.9 6.7 7.2 7.2 7.7 7.6 8.4 9.1 9.9

6.1 4.8 4.2 3.5 3.1 3.3 4.3 4.7 4.1 4.2 4.0 3.7 3.8 4.6 4.2 3.6 3.8 4.2 4.6 4.7 4.9 4.8 5.4 6.1 6.6 6.8 7.0 7.4 8.2 8.1 8.1 7.7 7.5 8.1

8.8 7.4 7.2 6.8 5.7 6.8 8.1 8.9 8.7 9.5 9.9 9.6 9.5

45.0 44.0 43.8 43.0 41.8 41.4 40.5 39.8 39.7 39.5 38.9 38.7 38.4 37.9 38.0 38.0 38.1 38.5 38.9 38.9 39.4 39.9 40.3 40.3 40.6 40.9 41.1 41.5 41.8 42.3 42.0 42.4 42.5 42.4

62.9 62.5 62.1 61.2 60.2 60.2 59.3 58.5 58.5 57.8 56.8 56.6 56.0 55.4 54.9 54.8 54.6 54.5 54.1 54.1 54.2 54.4 54.7 54.6 54.6 54.6 54.7 54.7 54.7 54.6 54.5 54.8 54.8 54.5

28.0 26.4 26.5 25.7 24.3 23.5 22.8 22.0 21.8 22.1 21.9 21.8 21.7 21.3 21.8 22.0 22.4 23.2 24.4 24.5 25.3 26.0 26.5 26.7 27.3 27.8 28.2 28.9 29.6 29.6 30.2 30.6 30.7 30.9

10.4 10.6 11.1 12.0 12.0 12.0 11.4 10.9 11.5

10.9 11.6

9.6 10.7 12.2 12.6 12.6 13.3 13.1 14.4 14.9 16.2 17.1 17.3 17.8 18.7 18.7 18.7' 17.6 16.7 17.3

Sources: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche. 1926-1985, Rome 1988; ISTAT, Bollettino mensile di statistica, several years. Authors' compilation.


Labour Market

A comparison of the employment-rate trends in 1961 and 1984 provides a good illustration of the above-mentioned changes (see table 2). For men, there is a trend toward a more "square"-shaped curve because of the standardization of the role played by the labour market in the life cycle. Men were tending to postpone entry into the market because of an increase in the extent of compulsory schooling, and because of higher numbers of students in general. The diffusion of pension schemes, together with the decline of employment in agriculture, also contributed to a sharper decline of the employment rate after 60 years of age. Women's employment rates grew, especially in the cohorts between 20 and 30 years of age, but they still declined progressively in correspondence to age at first childbirth. In contrast to other countries, such as Germany, the Netherlands, and, especially, Great Britain (Reyneri, 1996), in Italy women find it more difficult to re-enter the labour force when their children have grown up. Market rigidities and a lack of part-time job opportunities are possible explanations. In the 1960s, unemployment rates were the lowest in the period under study (table 1). Before the monetary intervention that raised interest rates in order to cool the economy in 1963, full employment was reached in northern industrialized regions, where the official unemployment rate was less than 1% for men and less than 5% for women. The increase in industrial employment in northern areas gave rise to dramatic migration flows, as discussed in chapter 0. Migration from southTable 2 Employment rates by age and sex, 1961-84 (%) Males







Under 15 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 Over 65

6.8 64.6

0.0 29. 3 72. 9 91. 7 97. 7 98 .1 97 .5 96. 0 89.4 71. 7 38. 2 8. 9

5.7 41.7

0.0 26. 6 60. 2 59. 1 56. 2 50. 6 4 5.1 39 .9 32 .3 20. 9 10 .5 2.1

86.2 97.7 95.8 89.9 57.2 23.8

40. 1 31 .2 29.0 23 .2 14 .3 5. 4

Sources: ISTAT, Annuario di statistiche del lavoro e dell'emigrazione, 1961; ISTAT, Statistiche del lavoro, 1986. Author's compilation.


4.1 Unemployment

ern regions also helped to lower the unemployment rate in those areas, where official unemployment rates for males and females were below 5% and 15%, respectively. The year 1963 also represented the end of the economic boom started by the rapid industrial take-off of the postwar period. In the 1970s, full employment of men not only was maintained in northern regions (average unemployment 2%), but also reached central areas, where widespread industrialization based on small firms was established. In these areas, however, women's unemployment was increasing moderately, which affected the reversal in the employment-rate trend. At the same time, internal migration flows slowed appreciably and the traditionally high rate of unemployment increased in southern regions. In the mid-1980s, total unemployment grew constantly and the differences in unemployment rates between regions, sexes, ages, and skills reached their historical apex. At the end of the decade, the increase in the number of people seeking a job stopped, partly because of favourable economic trends, but mainly as an effect of the demographic decline of the 1960s and 1970s (see chapter 0). The female rate of activity on the labour market increased more slowly because of worsening expectations on the labour market. In short, from 1963 on, the official unemployment rate increased, reaching its highest level in the second half of the 1980s, when it was triple the 1963 rate. The short-lived decline in unemployment at the beginning of the 1990s cannot be interpreted as a reversal of a long-term trend. This poor record was attained in spite of the increasing use of labour-market policies to fight unemployment over the last twenty years. Women have always borne a higher rate of unemployment, and the gender difference in unemployment has been increasing (table 1). Women's unemployment is also more affected by cyclical fluctuations, confirming their marginal role in the market. The proportion of young people among the total unemployed dropped during the 1980s, but remained relatively higher than the European average. OCSE data for 1990 showed that the unemployed under 25 years old accounted for 48.5% of total unemployment in Italy, compared to 15.7% in West Germany, 26.9% in Japan, 29.1% in France, and 30.2% in Great Britain (OCSE, 1992). Thus, in Italy young people from 14 to 29 years of age represent 31.3% of the population active on e labour market and 71.4% of the unemployed (see table 3). Although time series do not cover the entire period, education levels do affect unemployment rates of the population active on the job market (see table 4). The relation is not linear because both those with a university degree and those with


Labour Market

Table 3 Composition of the labour force and of the unemployed by age, 1980-88 (%)



1980 1985 1988

7.5 6.2 5.6


Labour force 20-24 25-29






12.0 12.5 13.1

69.3 69.2 68.7

31.3 26.3 19.5

31.2 33.5 32.9

14.0 15.7 19.0

23.7 24.5 28.6

11.2 12.1 12.7

Source: Borzaga, 1990 on 1ST AT, Survey on the labour force.

Table 4 Annual rate of change in unemployment by education level, 1980-85, 1985-88 (%) Northwestern regions Educational level Elementary Junior high school Senior high school University

Southern regions





5.8 16.1 14.2 8.9

-8.9 -2.8 -4.7 -7.7

1.6 11.2 8.3 6.7

16.4 14.4 18.7 4.2

Source: Borzaga, 1990 on ISTAT, Survey on the labour force.

only an elementary-school certificate respond better to unemployment changes. In contrast, those with junior-secondary-school and secondary-school certificates show a poorer response to unemployment changes. Regional differences are the most important variable in differences between unemployment rates (see tables 4 and 5). While the effects of the economic crisis of the first half of the 1980s were easily absorbed in northern and central regions, unemployment increases were constant throughout the period in southern regions (see table 5), so that by the 1990s it seemed that two separate labour markets were at work. The statistics point to very high unemployment rates, for instance, for young women with senior-secondary-school certificates living in southern regions, for whom the rate was above 61% throughout the 1980s (Borzaga, 1990). In the 1980s, a noticeable longer time was spent seeking a job (see table 6). From 1981 to 1990, average time spent doubled for men and almost doubled for women. While there were not large differences during the decade for those who had lost their job, because the average time grew moderately for both males and females, those seeking a first job experienced a considerably longer wait, especially


4.1 Unemployment

Table 5 Unemployment rate by region, 1981-92 (%)



1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

3.5 4.1 4.9 4.9 5.0 4.9 4.8 4.1 3.4 2.9 3.1 3.5

North Female Total


6.1 6.7 7.7 8.1 8.0 8.0 7.8 6.9 6.0 5.2 5.1 5.9

5.3 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.9 6.1 6.2 6.1 6.5 6.2 6.0 6.5

10.6 11.3 12.4 13.4 13.1 13.1 12.7 11.3 10.2 8.6 8.4 9.5

Centre Female Total

14.2 14.1 15.1 14.9 15.0 15.9 15.7 16.2 17.4 15.6 15.5 15.2

South Female Total


8.1 9.0 9.4 9.3 9.8

8.3 8.6 9.1 9.0 9.1 9.7 9.7 9.8 10.6 9.8 9.7 9.9

21.7 22.0 23.4 23.1 24.3 27.3 30.7 32.8 33.2 31.8 31.6 31.6

11.4 13.6 14.6 15.0 13.6 14.1 14.8

12.3 13.0 13.8 13.6 14.4 16.5 19.2 20.7 21.1 19.7 19.9 20.4

Sources: Ministero del lavoro e della previdenza sociale, Report '90-'9; Labour and Employment Policies in Italy, Rome, Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato.

Table 6 Average number of months spent seeking a job by selected categories of unemployed, 1981-90 Unemployed

1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990

Seeking first job











10 10 11 11 12 12 12 12 13 12

11 11 12 12 13 13 12 12 12 13

15 14 15 19 21 22 25 28 29 29

16 15 18 21 23 24 26 27 28 29

9 8

12 12 13 20 17 18 20 25 26 26

12 12 13 17 16 17 18 23 24 24

14 14 15 19 19 20 21 24 25 25

9 9 6 6 6 20 20 22

Source: Ministero del lavoro e della previdenza sociale, Report '90-'9I; Labour and Employment Policies in Italy, Rome, Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato.


Labour Market

students, housewives, and retired people seeking a job; overall, the waiting time for the latter category more than doubled for both men and women. These characteristics are evidence of the high level of segmentation of the Italian labour market, which in turn may explain why large areas of endemic unemployment coexist with industrial districts where at times firms find it difficult to hire enough highly skilled workers as well as manual workers. The entry of foreign immigrants into the labour force and the adoption of employment policies whose aim is to create more flexible labour relations are a recent reply to these problems. It has been pointed out (Accornero and Carmignani, 1986) that modern unemployment has nothing in common with traditional unemployment. In the 1950s, when the breadwinner lost his job, the entire household was thrown into a state of indigence, partly because of the lack of a widespread welfare system that could supply unemployment benefits. Thus, mass unemployment usually affected social integration and could give rise to social conflict. The high unemployment rates of the 1980s were infrequently related to social distress, because households often had more than one income, second jobs were widespread, unemployment compensation covered both large and small firms, and many young people preferred to wait for a better opportunity rather than to accept poorly paid jobs, which were increasingly taken by immigrants. REFERENCES Accornero, A. 1990 "L'inoccupazione nel capitalismo moderno." Previdenza sociale, 46, no. 1. 1994 // mondo della produzione. Bologna: II Mulino. Accornero, A., and Carmignani, F. 1986 Iparadossi della disoccupazione. Bologna: II Mulino. 1988 "Le disoccupazioni: segmenti, disomogeneita, territorializzazione." Ministero del lavoro e della Previdenza sociale, Rapporto '88. Lavoro e politiche dell'occupazione in Italia. Rome: Istituto poligrafixo dello Stato. Accornero, A., Carmignani, E, and Pruna, M. 1987 "Dynamics of Female Employment and Youth Unemployment in Italy." Labour, no. 1. Barbagli, Marzio 1974 Disoccupazione intellettuale e sistema scolastico in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Bodo, G., and Sestito, P. 1989 "Disoccupazione e dualismo territoriale." in Banca d'Italia, Temi di discussione, no. 123.


4.1 Unemployment

Borzaga, C. 1990 "L'evoluzione della struttura della disoccupazione italiana: una possibile ipotesi interpretativa." Politiche del lavoro, no. 10. Bruni, M. 1993 "Esiste un modello italiano della disoccupazione?" Economia del lavoro, 27, no. 3. Bruno, S. 1978 Disoccupazione giovanile e azione pubblica. Bologna: II Mulino. Calza Bini, P. (ed.) 1992 La disoccupazione. Interpretazioni e punti di vista. Napoli: Liguori. Ciravegna, D 1990 / caratteri dell'inoccupazione. determinanti dell'offerta e rilevazione empirica della forza lavoro inoccupata. Milan: F. Angeli. De Cecco, M. 1972 "Una interpretazione ricardiana della forza lavoro in Italia nel decennio 1959-1968." Note economiche, no. 1. Dell'Aringa, C. 1994 "La flessibilita del mercato del lavoro." In A. Failla (ed.), Lavorare in un mondo che cambia. Milan: Etaslibri, Fondazione IBM Italia. De Meo, G. 1970 Evoluzione eprospettive delleforze di lavoro in Italia. Milan: ISTAT. Garonna, P. (ed.) 1981 Disoccupazione e pieno impiego. II dibattito sul concetto di occupazione e disoccupazione. Venice: Marsilio. LaMalfa, G., and Vinci, S. 1970 "II saggio di partecipazione della forza lavoro in Italia." L'Industria, no. 6. Micali, A. 1990 "La disoccupazione in Italia. Livello e composizione interna." Economia e Lavoro, no. 1. Modigliani, F, Padoa Schioppa, F, and Rossi, N. 1986 "Aggregate Unemployment in Italy, 1960-1983." Economica, supplement to no. 53. Mottura, G., and Pugliese, E. 1975 Agricoltura, Mezzogiorno e mercato del lavoro. Bologna: II Mulino. OCSE 1992 Historical Statistics, 1960-1990. Paris. Padoa Schioppa, F. (ed.) 1990 "Classical, Keynesian and Mismatch Unemployment in Italy." European Economic Review, no. 2-3. 1991 Mismatch and Labour Mobility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Labour Market

Pugliese, E. 1989 "Struttura e comportamenti dell'offerta di lavoro nel Mezzogiorno." Proceedings of the conference Disoccupazione e mercato del lavoro nel Mezzogiorno, Bari. 1993 Sociologia delta disoccupazione. Bologna: II Mulino. Regalia, I. 1984 "Le politiche del lavoro." In Ugo Ascoli (ed.), Welfare state all'italiana, Bari: Laterza. Reyneri, E. 1996 Sociologia del mercato del lavoro. Bologna: II Mulino. Schenkel, M. (ed.) 1984 L'offerta di lavoro in Italia. Problemi di rilevazione, valutazione, costruzione di modelli comportamentali. Venice: Marsilio. Sylos Labini, P. 1989 Nuove tecnologie e disoccupazione, Bari: Laterza. Venturini, A. 1989 "II mercato del lavoro e i lavoratori extra-europei: una lettura economica." Democrazia e diritto, no. 6. Vinci, S. (ed.) 1974 // mercato del lavoro in Italia, Milan: F. Angeli.

4.2 Skills and Occupational Levels The education level of the labour force increased constantly during the postwar period, as did that of the population at large. Nevertheless, formal education was only indirectly related to the actual skills of the labour force. In the 1960s, migration produced a shift in labour activity from agriculture to industry, but labour skills remained low, suitable for the assembly lines. From the 1970s on, blue-collar workers were progressively replaced by white-collar workers, not only because of the industrial decline, but also because of internal changes in the industrial structure. Post-industrial society emerged simultaneously with an increase in the public sector, where labour is relatively more educated. The private service sector seems to be characterized by a polarization of qualifications. On the one hand, service activities for industry usually require highly skilled personnel; on the other hand, service activities for households and people in general require unskilled labour, often comprising the supply of temporary jobs of young people and immigrants.


4.2 Skills and Occupational Levels

Research on changes in skills and occupational levels has stressed the importance of technology and labour disputes as explanatory factors. Technological change can require new skills, not necessary higher, but the formal acknowledgment of the corresponding occupational levels usually depends on the market position of that particular skill and on the balance of labour relations. Another important factor, which has been neglected by the literature, is upgrading of educational attainment. Although findings on workers' attitudes state that often formal education is not considered as an important condition in acquiring skills for the job (see section 15.2), it is difficult to assert that a more educated labour force does not affect productivity and the quality of working activities. There has been a dramatic change in the educational levels of the labour force over 32 years (see table 1). In 1960, 83 of the labour force had only an elementary school certificate or no schooling at all. This situation corresponded to involvement of labour in family-run farms, while industrial work needed mainly unskilled blue-collar workers for assembly lines. Only 2.3% of the labour force had graduated from university, and these workers were concentrated in the service sector and especially in the civil service. At the beginning of the 1990s the situation was almost completely reversed. The proportion of labour force with a university degree had almost quadrupled, while those with no education found it very difficult to enter the labour market and suffered social marginalization. Although the age at which compulsory schooling ends is only 14 years, those with an elementary-school certificate comprise 20% of the labour force, mainly elderly workers living in rural areas and southern regions. Apart from this clear-cut trend toward educational attainment, the evolution of occupational levels and skills has not followed a single direction over time and between social groups. This is because technology has played different roles at different times in relation to blue- and white-collar workers. The social inequality Table 1 Education level of the labour force, 1960-92 (%)

1960 1978 1988 1992

Elementary and no school

Junior secondary school

Senior secondary school

University Degree

83.0 54.9 31.8 20.0

9.6 26.8 37.2 41.3

5.1 13.4 24.0 30.9

2.3 4.4 7.0 7.8

Sources: Ministero del lavoro e della Previdenza sociale, Report '89. Labour and Employment Policies in Italy, Rome: Poligrafico dello Stato. ISTAT, Annuario di statistiche del lavoro e dell'emigrazione, 1960; ISTAT, Rilevazione delle forze di lavoro, Collana d'lnformazione, no. 5, 1993. Author's compilation.


Labour Market

between these groups, which has been diminishing (see chapter 6), is in part due to the increasing number of office workers, no longer a narrow group of assistants to entrepreneurs or a selected elite of civil servants. In industry, the reduction in the number of occupational levels among white- and blue-collar workers is also due to specific technological consequences in both cases. At the beginning of the 1970s, as a result of collective agreements, manual workers and office workers were placed in a single occupational rank order. This was interpreted as an outcome not only of the egalitarian movement of that period of labour unrest (see section 7.1), but of the application of Taylorism and automation in both factories and offices. As far as manual work is concerned, the 1960s were characterized by the introduction of what Touraine (1965) called phase B of mass production. Widespread utilization of specialized machinery multiplied the number of unskilled workers. It does not seem that experiments with job rotation and job enrichment, adopted to fight alienation and labour unrest in large firms, really changed this trend. The generalization of this model, typical of big firms in mechanical industry, led some scholars to the conclusion that manual workers were inevitably destined to lose skills and qualifications. On the contrary, the 1980s were characterized by an upgrading in qualifications among blue-collar workers (see table 2). Restructuring in industry has meant systematic substitution of unskilled elderly workers with skilled young ones, often with a senior-secondary-school diploma. In offices, the introduction of mainframe computers and batch work during the 1970s induced an increase in the division of labour and in occupational levels. This phenomenon was well represented by an increase in the number of data-entry Table 2 Occupational levels in machinery and metals industry, 1979, 1987 (%)

Unskilled workers Skilled workers Supervisors Unskilled white-collar workers Skilled white-collar workers Managers Total



42.9 30.2

30.0 34.6




13.5 14.0

9.5 2.6 100.0

6.2 100.0

Source: Ministero del lavoro e della previdenza sociale, Report '89. Labour and Employment Policies in Italy, Rome: Istituto poligrafico dello Stato.


4.2 Skills and Occupational Levels

clerks, whose tasks were repetitive and unskilled. In the following decade, the introduction of user-friendly software and personal computers somewhat encouraged a reduction in hierarchy and specialization. The diffusion of concepts such as total quality and quality circles are considered factors of skill upgrading that can increase the human capital of a firm. On average, white-collar workers underwent skill upgrading during the 1980s. In the service sector, research shows a sharp division between public- and private-sector activities. The constant increase in size of the public sector and the civil service was usually correlated with a relatively high level of education of employees. This would explain the fact that in southern regions higher levels of unemployment were accompanied by relatively high education levels among the labour force. This seemed to be the response strategy of the population active on the job market to the overrepresentation of the public sector in southern regions that was pursued as an employment policy. On the contrary, the development of the private service sector typical of the post-industrial model was often related to an increase in unskilled and temporary positions, which were filled by young people and students in metropolitan areas or by immigrants (Chiesi, 1989; Pugliese, 1989). To give an idea of the transformations in skills over thirty years, table 3 compares selected occupations in Milan in 1961 and 1991. The table should be read with caution because the classification of occupations was radically revised

Table 3 Selected occupational categories, Milan, 1961, 1991 1961 N

Unskilled white-collar workers Skilled white-collar workers Sellers and suppliers of personal services Technicians Unskilled workers Semi-skilled workers Skilled workers Occupations not classified Total

109,249 95,654 282,274 59,366 284,673 338,033 88,650 145,120 1,403,019

% 7.8 6.8 20.1 4.2 20.3 24.1 6.3 10.3 100.0

1991 N


273,535 256,742 352,486 157,813 186,005 307,640

17.8 16.7 23.0 10.3 12.1 20.1



Note: The census data on occupations for 1961 and 1991 are not comparable because radical changes in categories. In the table the nomenclature for 1991 has been used and that one of 1961 has been adapted in order to give an idea of the main changes of a metropolitan area. Source'. Author's compilation of provincial census data.


Labour Market

between the two censuses. We adapted the old nomenclature of 1961 to the new criteria of 1991. The difficulty of adaptation is evidenced by the fact that more than 10% of the occupations could not be reclassified and almost 100,000 skilled whitecollar workers in 1961 did not have a counterpart in 1991. Changes outlined in the table do not take into account transformations in job content and skills within each category. Moreover, the labour force in the province of Milan is in some ways more advanced than the national labour force: the city of Milan was Italy's most important industrial centre in the 1960s and a post-industrial city in the 1990s. Nevertheless, some clear-cut trends are visible. Manual work was replaced to a large extent by nonmanual work. The hierarchy of the factory was replaced by the hierarchy of the office. The increase in number of technicians was dramatic, as was that of skilled workers, while numbers of unskilled and semi-skilled workers dropped significantly. A theoretical analysis of the 1970s distinguished four different dimensions of the quality of work: ergonomics, level of complexity, degree of autonomy, and opportunity to control and take responsibility for one's job (Gallino, Baldissera, and Ceri, 1976). This study was not applied at length and over time, so that it is not possible to draw conclusions about changes over time in a particular sector. Nevertheless, at least in large firms, we can state that post-Fordism was accompanied by improvements in ergonomics (Bonazzi, 1993), the concept of total quality brought relative autonomy, unifying execution and control tasks gave a better opportunity to take control of one's job. In contrast, in the service sector, the emergence of unskilled jobs caused a deterioration in the quality of work. REFERENCES Alessi, T., and Bruni, M. 1990 Sistema formativo e profession!. Dalla disoccupazione intellettuale al deficit educativo. Milan: F. Angeli. Bagnasco, A. 1981 "La questione dell'economia informale." Stato e Mercato, no. 1. Baldissera, A. 1982 "Professionalita: un solo termine per molti significati." Studi organizzativi, 13, no. 34. 1992 Eguaglianze e gerarchie. Concetti e metodi di sociologia industriale e del lavoro. Turin: Tirrenia Stampatori. Bonazzi, G. 1993 // tubo di cristallo, Bologna: II Mulino.


4.2 Skills and Occupational Levels

Butera, F. 1987 Dalle occupazioni industriali alle nuove profession!. Milan: F. Angeli. Censis and Fondazione IBM Italia 1994 "Lo sviluppo delle risorse umane nel Paese." In Angelo Failla (ed.), Lavorare in un mondo che cambia, Milan: Etaslibri, Fondazione IBM Italia. Chiesi, A. M. 1989 "Lo sviluppo delle occupazioni dequalificate nel settore dei servizi." Politiche del lavoro, no. 8. Frigo, P., and Leon, P. (eds.) 1988 "Lavoro e professionalita." Quaderni diformazione Isfol. Gallino, L., Baldissera, A., and Ceri, P. 1976 "Per una valutazione analitica della qualita del lavoro." Quaderni di Sociologia, 25, no. 2-3. Isfol 1987 "Struttura e dinamica delle professioni." In Repertorio delle professioni, Rome: Poligrafico dello Stato. Jannaccone Pazzi, R. (ed.) 1987 / nuovi laureati - Domanda e offerta di laureati e diplomati. Milan: Sole 24 ore. Livraghi, R. 1989 La nuova classificazione delle professioni italiana. I risultati di un gruppo di lavoro dell' ISTAT." Politiche del lavoro, no. 8. Luciano, A. 1989 Arti maggiori. Comunitd professional} nel terziario avanzato. Rome: Nuova Italia Scientifica. 1989 "Lavoro dimenticato, lavoro rimosso. Incursioni nel mondo dei cattivi lavori." Politiche del lavoro, no. 8. Pichierri, A. 1973 "Fasi tecnologiche ed evoluzione professionale: 1'uso dello schema di Touraine nel caso italiano." Quaderni di Sociologia, 22, no. 3. Pugliese, E. 1989 "Immigrazione e cattivi lavori." Politiche del lavoro, no. 8. Touraine, A. 1965 L'evolution du travail ouvrier aux Usines Renault. Paris: CNRS.


Labour Market

4.3 Types of Employment The increase in numbers of salaried employees, typical of industrialized countries, was constant except for during the first half of the 1980s, when it declined moderately. Italy has traditionally been characterized by a significant proportion of self-employed persons, whose number diminished up to the end of the 1970s and then remained almost constant. Also constant was the relatively low distribution of part-time jobs compared with other European countries. There is some evidence that the number of precarious jobs, once very common in small business, dropped during the 1980s due to employment policies that allowed more flexible labour contracts. Many people hold more than one job, especially in northern industrialized areas and among civil servants. Job schedules are also changing: shift work is increasing in spite of the decline of heavy industry, and special schedules for weekend jobs have been instituted. In general, the increase of jobs in the service sector has to do with the adoption of nonstandard work schedules.

Industrialization is usually related to an increase in numbers of salaried employees due to the decline of traditional agriculture activities, which are mainly family run. This is why European countries that still have a high proportion of the work force in agriculture show also higher levels of self-employed workers. Although Italy is one of the most industrialized countries, it has a high proportion of self-employed workers in the total labour force: in 1981, 28.7%, compared to 12.7% for West Germany, 16.9% for France, and 8.9% for the United Kingdom. In this respect, Italy is more similar to Japan, which had a percentage of 27.5% (Rosti, 1986). Moreover, since the mid-1970s the numbers of self-employed workers in industry began to increase, a trend that might counterbalance the ongoing decline of agriculture (see table 1). There are two possible explanations for this phenomenon. One highlights the relationship between the development of the informal economy, industrialization based on homogeneous regions of small firms, diffusion of flexible technology, and opportunities to become grassroots entrepreneurs (Carboni, 1983). This interpretation is based on the assumption of free choice between two kinds of labour relations. A second explanation stresses the idea that people withdraw to self-employment when the number of full-time salaried positions drops because of economic crisis.


4.3 Types of Employment

Table 1 Those with jobs, employees and self-employed, 1959-92

1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

Total (000)

Employees (000)

Self-employed (000)

Self-employed to employees

20,349 20,330 20,427 20,337 20,045 19,966 19,502 19,175 19,401 19,383 19,209 19,325 19,295 18,976 19,145 19,539 19,635 19,757 19,938 20,017 20,212 20,487 20,544 20,493 20,557 20,648 20,742 20,856 20,836 21,103 21,004 21,304 21,592 21,459

11,345 11,755 12,093 12,463 12,702 12,581 12,214 12,077 12,331 12,467 12,665 12,918 13,078 13,081 13,330 13,700 13,879 14,036 14,272 14,261 14,493 14,673 14,678 14,668 14,567 14,478 14,652 14,704 14,710 14,947 14,937 15,222 15,479 15,381

9,004 8,575 8,334 7,874 7,343 7,385 7,288 7,098 7,070 6,916 6,544 6,407 6,217 5,895 5,815 5,839 5,756 5,721 5,666 5,756 5,719 5,814 5,866 5,825 5,990 6,170 6,090 6,152 6,126 6,156 6,067 6,082 6,113 6,078

0.79 0.73 0.69 0.63 0.58 0.59 0.60 0.59 0.57 0.55 0.52 0.50 0.48 0.45 0.44 0.43 0.41 0.41 0.40 0.40 0.39 0.40 0.40 0.40 0.41 0.43 0.42 0.42 0.42 0.41 0.41 0.40 0.39 0.40

Sources: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche. 1926-1985, Rome 1988; ISTAT, Bollettino mensile di statistica, various years; ISTAT, "Rilevazione delle forze di lavoro." Collana d'lnformazione, several issues. Authors' compilation.


Labour Market

Table 2 shows the index number of employees and self-employed workers in industry, illustrating that numbers of the latter are increasing in correlation with the loss of salaried jobs. Research in the 1980s showed that out of every 100 people seeking a job, only 5 want to be self-employed and 17 actually become selfemployed (Rosti, 1986). Although "irregular" jobs (those not protected by labour laws, drawn up in illegal contracts) in decentralized production and the informal economy have constantly been an important factor in Italy since the 1960s, in the 1970s social and

Table 2 Index number of employees and self-employed in industry, 1959-83

1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 Source: Rosti 1986, p. 26.


Self employed

100 97 99 94 91 94 92 89 88 89 84 85 80 77 76 75 78 75 78 80 80 85 85 88 88

100 105 110 114 119 117 113 111 114 116 119 121 124 122 123 125 125 124 124 123 124 123 122 120 117


4.3 Types of Employment

political factors increased the number of full-time jobs with access to the welfare system and unemployment allowances. This was the period of highest union membership and of generalized reduction in work time (see chapter 7). The result was increasing rigidity of labour-market mechanisms, which reduced mobility in large firms and prevented those seeking a job for the first time from entering what was now a "protected" labour market. Since the 1980s, increased unemployment has been fought by introducing more flexible labour relations and more diversified types of jobs, in terms of work time and cost of labour to the employer. Some kinds of temporary jobs have been allowed by law, and the proportion of people employed in them has increased (see table 3). At the same time, the proportion of those employed in some illegal types of informal jobs diminished, presumably because these jobs were transformed into legal ones. As a consequence, the overall proportion of legal jobs decreased moderately during the 1980s. In particular, while the proportion of irregular jobs diminished negligibly, from 10.8% of total employment in 1980 to 10.4% in 1990, the proportion of those who worked but declared themselves not employed decreased considerably, and this was compensated for by nonresident foreigners working illegally. The increase in numbers of people with second jobs, discussed below, is a consequence of increased flexibility of labour relations and work time.

Table 3 Types of illegal jobs, 1980-90 (%)

1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990

Legal employment

Illegal employment

Undeclared employment

Nonresident foreigners


78.9 78.9 78.7 77.9 77.3 77.5 77.2 77.1 77.0 77.0 77.0

10.8 10.6 10.5 10.4 10.3 10.3 10.4 10.3 10.4 10.3 10.4

2.7 2.4 2.2 2.4 2.6 2.3 2.2 2.1 2.0 1.9 1.8

1.2 1.5 1.8 1.9 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.4 2.5 2.5

6.4 6.6 6.9 7.4 7.7 7.7 7.8 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.3

Source: Ministero del lavoro e della previdenza sociale, Report '90- '91 processing of national accounting data.


Labour Market

The results of labour policies aiming to make labour relations and jobs more flexible are shown in table 4, where the development of significant new types of jobs is apparent. While solidarity contracts (involving reduced work time in firms where employment levels are endangered) show a cyclical trend according to unemployment levels, the most widespread form has been work-training programmes (temporary work contracts for young people providing on-the-job training). The success of these programmes is not always related to the need for vocational training, but to the fact that they provide temporary labour at a low cost to the employer (Carpo and Chiesi, 1991). At the beginning of the 1990s, public subsidies for this type of work dropped and so did the number of contracts. In spite of these changes, some types of flexible work, such as part-time jobs, have always been significantly less popular in Italy than in other European countries. In 1989, 5.7% of the labour force were part-time workers, compared with 33.2% in the Netherlands, 26.6% in Norway, 23.7% in Denmark, 21.8% in Unite Kingdom, 13.2% in West Germany, and 12.0% in France. In this respect, Italy more similar to the Mediterranean countries of Greece (5.5%) and Spain (4.8%) (OECD, 1991). Moreover, Italy was not part of the international movement toward increasing part-time work in the 1980s because specific laws on part-time employment were introduced only at the end of the decade. Therefore, while the proportion of part-time workers increased by almost 50% in France, 33% in United Kingdom, 15.8% in West Germany, and doubled in the Netherlands since 1979, the increase in Italy was only 7.5% (Di Martino, 1994).

Table 4 Development of new types of agreements introduced to combat unemployment, 1984-91

1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991

Solidarity agreement

On-the-job training

Part time contract

Part-time contract converted to full-time contract

2,731 11,640 6,215 6,677 1,690 1,197

10,694 108,434 229,126 402,856 493,693 529,297 469,050 169,828

41,153 111,198 108,687 142,692 161,307 182,234 184,786 106,765

6,883 24,805 27,433 31,514 37,117 45,609 41,168 28,461

731 739

Source: Ministreo del lavoro e della Previdenza sociale, Rapporto '90-'91, Rome, 1991.


4.3 Types of Employme

In the 1950s and 1960s, part-time work was concentrated in agriculture, followed seasonal fluctuations, and was evidence of under-employment of the labour force. In 1986, part-time workers in agriculture still comprised 22.2% of the labour force in that sector, the only one in which the proportion of part-time employment was higher than the European average. After the end of the 1970s part-time work was progressively introduced into retail distribution and private services, but, unlike in other European countries, it was adopted only marginally in industry and civil service. As in other countries, this type of employment was concentrated among women (in 1990, 10.9% of the female labour force; in 1985, 11.2% of married women with jobs [Eurostat, 1987]). There are more male part-time workers among young people (3.1%) and, to a lesser extent, the working elderly (Bracalente and Marbach, 1989). The fact that part-time work is less widespread in Italy than in other countries is considered to explain the lower female employment rate (CNEL, 1993). Night work is also less widespread in Italy than in other European countries: in Italy 2% of the labour force work regularly at night and 14% work some night shifts, compared to 9% and 11%, respectively, in other countries. On the other hand, shift work is more widespread in Italy than in Europe as a whole (83% of firms use shift workers, compared to 70% in the European Community), although Italy's industrial structure is relatively more specialized in consumption goods and firm size is smaller. In Europe, shift work is correlated more with basic industry and large firms (CNEL, 1993). A general trend toward separating work schedules and operating hours has emerged during the 1980s, not only in industry, where costly equipment depreciates more quickly, but also in the service sector, where employers have to face a reduction in contract-mandated work time and consumer demand for longer store hours. These factors were also at work in the introduction of short work schedules for week-end teams, adopted especially in textile and chemical industry. Further trends in the management of working time and the introduction of "flex-time" are discussed in the following section. Another Italian specificity is the proportion of the labour force holding more than one job, as the last column of table 3 shows. In the 1980s the proportion of this kind of employment grew from 6.4% of total job positions to 8.3%. This phenomenon was very common among industrial workers, because of the widespread presence of small family-run firms, and civil servants, because of the fewer hours of contract-mandated work time and less control over their productivity. Research on this subject has shown that holders of multiple jobs do not have higher rates of absenteeism and that demand for flexible services at low cost encourages a supply of informal jobs (Gallino, 1985).


Labour Market

Table 5 Proportion of part-time workers to total employed (%) Part-time workers out of total workers

1973 1975 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1986 1989

6.4 6.0 5.9 5.3 5.1 4.6 5.3 4.7 5.7









Source: Eurostat, Labour force survey.

REFERENCES Accornero, A. 1987 "La ricerca sul doppio lavoro in Italia: un bilancio." Quaderni di Sociologia, 33, no. 7. Bagnasco, A. 1981 "La questione dell'economia informale." Stato e Mercato, no. 1. Barbagli, M. 1974 Disoccupazione intellettuale e sistema scolastico. Bologna: II Mulino. Bracalente, B., and Marbach, G. 1989 II pan-time nel mercato italiano del lavoro. Milan. F. Angeli. Bruno, Sergio 1979 "The Industrial Reserve Army. Segmentation and the Italian Labour Market." Cambridge Journal of Economics, no. 2. Carboni, C. 1983 "La ripresa del lavoro autonomo, tra pre-moderno e post-industriale." Politica ed economia, no. 9. Carpo, N., and Chiesi, A.M. 1991 "I contratti de formazione e lavoro come indicator! del mercato." Skill. Teorie ed esperienze sulla formazione, no. 4. Chiesi, A. M. 1981 // sistema degli orari. Milan: F. Angeli.


4.3 Types of Employment

1989 "Lo svilupp delle occupazioni dequalificate nel settore dei servizi." Politiche del lavoro, no. 8. 1990 "I lavori atipici. Uno schema concettuale." Democrazia e diritto, 30, no. 1. 1992 "La gestione del tempo e dell'orario di lavoro." In G. Costa (ed.), Manuale di gestione del personate, Turin: UTET. CNEL 1993 "Tempo di lavoro e flessibilita dell'orario." Documenti CNEL, no. 29. Contini, B. 1979 Lo sviluppo di un'economiaparallela. Milan: Comunita. 1984 "Firm Size and the Division of Labour." Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, no. 4. 1988 Lavori e profession! emergenti. Rome: La Nuova Italia. Deaglio M. 1985 Economia sommersa e analisi economica. Turin: Giappichelli. Di Martino, V. 1994 The Management of Working Time. Geneva: International Labour Organization. Fondazione Agnelli 1982 L'istituto del part-time in Italia e all'estero. Turin. Frey, L. 1994 "L'articolazione delle professioni verso gli anni '90." In A. Failla (ed.), Lavorare in un mondo che cambia. Milan: Etaslibri, Fondazione IBM Italia. Gallino, L. (ed.) 1985 // lavoro e il suo doppio. Seconda occupazione e politiche del lavoro in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Gasparini, G. 1987 "Introduzione." In FILTA-CISL Lombardia (ed.), Lavorare di domenica. Rome: Edizioni Lavoro. Giannini, M. 1989 "Donne e contratti di formazione e lavoro." Politiche del lavoro, no. 8. Luciano, A. 1986 "II mosaico delle nuove professioni." Politiche del lavoro, no. 2. Marchese, C, and Ortona, G. 1984 "La domanda di lavoro a tempo ridotto." Micros, 3. OECD

1991 Employment Outlook (July). Pedrazzoli, M. (ed.) 1989 Lavoro subordinato e dintorni. Bologna: II Mulino.


Labour Market

Rebeggiani, E. 1989 "Sulla qualita del lavoro a Napoli." Politiche del lavoro, no. 8. Rosti, L. 1986 "La dinamica recente del rapporto tra lavoro autonomo e lavoro dipendente." IRES Papers, Collana ricerche, no. 6. 1989 "Lavori atipici: problem! e prospettive." Politiche del lavoro, no. 8. Signorelli, A. 1987 "II lavoro informale." In D. De Masi and A. Bonzanini (eds.), Trattato di Sociologia del lavoro e dell'organizzazione. Le tipologie. Milan: F. Angeli. Treu, T. 1994 "Lavoro subordinate, lavoro autonomo, lavori atipici." In A. Failla (ed.), Lavorare In un mondo che cambia. Milan: Etaslibri, Fondazione IBM Italia. Vigo, G. 1988 "Antichi e nuovi mestieri." Rivista IBM, no. 4. Villa, P. 1983 "II dibattito sulla segmentazione del mercato del lavoro: una ipotesi interpretativa." Rivista internazionale di scienze sociali, no. 1. Zuliani, A. 1994 "Le professioni che cambiano: riflessioni su alcune evidenze empiriche." In A. Failla (ed.), Lavorare in un mondo che cambia. Milan: Etaslibri, Fondazione IBM Italia.

4.4 Sectors of the Labour Force The tertiary sector, which had the least workers at the end of the 1950s, had the most at the beginning of the 1990s; peculiar to Italy is the lower proportion of those employed in services compared with other major European countries. The public component of services (government and civil service) is large and growing, especially in southern regions. The debate about the coming of postindustrial versus neo-industrial society is fed by the complexity of change: tertiarization of industry has been heavy, but so has been the increase in manual work in services, especially those catering to households; industrial organization criteria have been introduced in all sectors, but the nonmaterial component of industrial production has been increasing.

During the second half of the century, employment in the tertiary sector has constantly increased while employment in agriculture has dropped in all European


4.4 Sectors of the Labour Force

countries. Italy has not been an exception to this transformation, but the dynamics of change in employment per sector gives an idea of the speed of change: it has quickened. Employment in the industrial sector exceeded that in agriculture only in 1957, reached its highest level in 1971 and dropped moderately thereafter, depending on the phase of the economic cycle. The number of agricultural jobs dropped very rapidly up to the end of the 1960s and then moderately, although more quickly than in the industrial sectors. The service sector became the largest one in 1971, but it involved more than 50% of the total labour force only in 1982. By the beginning of the 1990s this sector had expanded to employ 59.9% of the total labour force, a lower proportion than that in France and United Kingdom but a bit higher than that in West Germany (Eurostat, 1993). The growth of unemployment in the service sector was relatively faster during the 1970s and the 1980s. These trends were very different depending on the region. In the 1970s employment in big industry began to drop and the occupational structure of the so-called post-industrial society began to be established primarily in northern regions, where traditional industrialization had taken place at the beginning of the century. In contrast, in central and northeastern Italy the 1970s was a period of widely diffused industrialization based on small firms. Moreover, where industry was competitive on international markets, business and personal services developed particularly because of women's increased occupational rate. In southern regions, the service sector is largely supported by public expenditures and consists of employment in civil service, which has grown due to political consent. In fact, there is an inverse relationship between employment in nonmarketable services and employment in industry (see table 1). The deep geographical differences in the employment structure have perhaps helped to feed the debate between supporters of the post-industrial society (De Masi, 1988) and those of neo-industrial society (Gallino, 1987). The first model Table 1 Employment in economic sectors by region, 1991

Industry Number Northern Central Southern


4,131,330 42.1 1,132,890 31.5 1,090,068 25.4

Commerce Number %

Marketable services Number %

Nonmarketable services Number %

2.1 3.1 5.3

2,017,155 20.6 858,249 23.8 922,170 21.5

1,489,315 15.2 775,296 21.6 1,193,072 24.8

22,173,507 2832,225 21,084,331

Source: provisional data from the Seventh General Census of Industry and Services, ISTAT, Rome, 1992.


Labour Market

was characterized by an inevitable decline in industrial employment and by a corresponding diffusion of activities related to information technologies, communications, and new life styles. The second interpretation stressed the fact that every economic activity tends to be organized industrially, according to productive criteria, due to the diffusion of automation from industry to society at large. In fact, since the 1970s industrial restructuring has required decentralization and the development of new services for production that are increasingly complex and specialized. Productivity in industry is more and more dependent on nonmaterial factors and investments, such as research and development and human capital. In turn, the service economy requires increasing production of material means such as office-automation, transportation, and communication networks. In addition to the traditional division into primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors, there are other ways of distinguishing labour-force sectors (Prandstaller, 1989). Further partitioning of the tertiary sector into commerce, marketable services, and nonmarketable services (mainly civil service), shows that northern areas, where industrial employment is relatively higher, has also the lowest proportion of employment in nonmarketable services (table 1). On the contrary, in southern regions, where industrial employment is low, nonmarketable services have traditionally offered a means of fighting unemployment through the development of civil service jobs. Industrial employment declined between 1971 and 1993 (see table 2). The most impressive increase, by a factor of 2.5, was among professionals, researchers, and technicians. The reasons for this change were discussed in section 4.2. On the other hand, the sharpest decline involved jobs in agriculture, which dropped by a Table 2 Sectorial composition of the labour force, 1971-93 (%)

Professionals, researchers, technicians Administration Agriculture Mineral mining and processing Manufacturing Construction Distribution Transportation Services Total





8.7 14.2 17.0 12.2 14.2 12.0 11.4 4.7 5.6 100.0

12.9 17.5 10.0 12.5 13.0 10.0 12.3 4.6 6.4 100.0

21.2 16.4 6.8 10.2 10.2 9.1 12.5 4.0 9.6 100.0

22.1 16.5 6.1 10.2 9.9 8.8 12.4 4.1 9.8 100.0

Sources: Ministero del lavoro e della previdenza sociale, Report '89; for 1992 and 1993 Zuliani (1994).


4.4 Sectors of the Labour Force

factor of 2.8. The number of Administrative jobs increased moderately, while employment in all other sectors except services dropped in relative share. Table 3 gives some information about the tertiarization of the industrial sector and the increase in manual jobs in services over 40 years. The proportion of workers in agriculture dropped throughout the period, while the proportion of workers in industry increased only in the 1950s, after which it declined at an accelerating pace. The increase in industrial employment in the 1970s was due mainly to an increase in the proportion of the self-employed. Services, both private and public, was the only sector to show an increase in employment, although this was not constant. Changes in the number of managers and office workers have been always positive. Up to 1971, their proportion grew more rapidly in industry than in services, after which the trend reversed. Table 3 Changes in type of employment by economic sector, 1951-91 (%) Positions Agriculture: Entrepreneurs and professionals Managers and office workers Self-employed Workers Family workers in family business Industry: Entrepreneurs and professionals Managers and office workers Self-employed Workers Family workers in family business Services: Entrepreneurs and professionals Managers and office workers Self-employed Workers Family workers in family business Total: Entrepreneurs and professionals Managers and office workers Self-employed Workers Family workers in family business





-87.7 36.5 -21.4 -22.0 -45.9

-6.6 -5.4 -24.3 -36.7 -74.6

117.9 13.7

-35.7 -17.3 -64.3

-28.9 39.6 -33.7 -31.4 -52.2

2.5 54.1 -.5 29.7 -2.6

72.5 72.1 19.9 -3.2 -26.4

-10.0 26.1 -3.7 -9.0 -12.6

-21.7 16.4 3.0 -18.9 0.0

-27.4 27.8 22.4 15.6 13.1

21.1 52.3 15.5 1.8 24.7

141.7 49.3 14.9 33.7 5.5

133.1 40.6 19.7 2.8 1.6

-36.1 33.4 -7.6 12.4 -39.6

33.5 56.3 -3.7 -8.4 -57.2

89.0 42.8 -9.5 .4 -29.3

74.1 35.1 .2 -12.8 -18.6

Source: Censis, Rapporto sulla situazione sociale del Paese, 1992, compilation of ISTAT data.


Labour Market

At the beginning of the 1990s, research on people placing ads in newspapers seeking jobs has shown that the most desired occupations are in commerce and the service sector, but also in industry, especially as technicians and managers. REFERENCES De Masi, D. 1988 "Introduction." In D. De Masi and A. Bonzanini (eds.), Trattato di Sociologia del Lavoro e dell'Industria. Le Tipologie. Milan: F. Angeli. Gallino, L. 1987 Delia ingovernabilita. Milan: Comunita. iReR 1992 Competenza e creativita: le professioni per I'innovazione negli anni '90 nell'area milanese. Milan: OETAMM. ISFOL 1987 Repertorio delle professioni. Rome: Istituto poligrafico dello Stato. Momigliano, E, and Siniscalchi, D. 1980 "Terziario totale e terziario per il sistema produttivo." Economia e politica industriale, no. 25. Monducci, R., and Scarfone, M. 1989 "La dinamica delle professioni in Italia: un altro aspetto della terziarizzazione." Economia e diritto del terziario, no. 3. Prandstaller, G.P. (ed.) 1989 Le nuove professioni del terziario. Milan: F. Angeli. Pichierri, A. (ed.) 1986 // declino industriale. Turin: Rosemberg & Sellier. Zuliani, A. 1994 "Le professioni che cambiano: riflessioni su alcune evidenze empiriche." In A. Failla (ed.), Lavorare in un mondo che cambia, Milan: Etaslibri, Fondazione Q3M Italia.

4.5 Computerization of Work The introduction of computers and the use of automation in production activities has affected occupational levels in two ways. On the one hand, it has replaced routine work in offices and unskilled or dangerous work in factories. On the other hand, it has given rise to new skills and jobs, not always skilled


4.5 Computerization of Work and sometimes destined for rapid obsolescence, such as data-entry tasks. Whether the occupational balance is negative or positive in the long run is still a matter of debate, but it seems reasonable to state that office automation had not endangered occupational levels by the end of the 1980s, while the jobkiller effect of automation and robotics in industrial production had been demonstrated.

Italy has been always heavily dependent on foreign information technologies, while it is an exporter of automation systems (see section 0.3). In the mid-1960s, Olivetti, the main domestic producer of office-automation technologies, stopped making large computers due to the economic crisis, and foreign multinationals supplied most of the domestic demand. At the end of the 1970s, Olivetti entered the personal-computers market and quickly became the second-largest European producer, a position it held for the next decade. In the following years the hardware component of the sector gradually gave way to the software component, which was on its way to gaining the largest share of turnover in the sector. In spite of this growth, in 1985 software and computing services in Italy employed 26,400 people, well below the number in France (56,800), the United Kingdom (45,100), and West Germany (36,500) (International Data Corporation, 1986). In the 1960s computer use began to affect routine work in offices. The cost of the machines and the use of specialized programming languages contributed to the development of specific new jobs related to computer management. Characteristics of the organization of computer work were a high level of division of labour and the role of programmers in translating and adapting the users' needs to the rigidities of the equipment. In this phase, office workers' jobs were not threatened. Studies on the impact of office automation on organizational structures have stressed the importance of the role of middle management and a shift of organizational power from the traditional supervisors to information managers (Baldissera et al., 1972). In the 1970s the dropping cost of computers and the adoption of more userfriendly languages led to computers being installed not only in big firms and large bureaucracies, but also in small firms. The first applications of computer-aided machines were also developed, involving the development of specific vocational training and new kinds of occupations. An export-oriented production of flexible automation systems was established that could progressively close the gap in competitiveness with other major European countries. The 1980s saw impressive growth in the number of robots used in industry. From 1981 to 1987, the domestic stock of robots multiplied by a factor of 14.6; by


Labour Market

the end of the decade, Italy's stock of industrial robots was the second highest in Europe, after West Germany (United Nations, 1990). At the same time, there was a rapid diffusion of cheap personal computers in every sector, often connected in networks. Home computers were used only in part as job tools; their main use was recreational. In 1987, the number of personal computers sold exceeded the number of home computers (Assinform, 1988). The increase in the use of professional personal computers, measured in number of machines sold, has been notable at least since the mid-1980s, although the pace slowed at the beginning of the 1990s (see table 1). In 1992, 11.6% of households had a PC, but ownership was still strongly related to income: 35% of entrepreneurs' and professionals' households had at least one PC, compared to 8.7% of workers' families. The effects of this revolution were widespread and deep on employment structure, use of spare time, education, and life styles in general. As far as jobs are concerned, the main changes seemed to be related primarily to a transformation in ways of doing the usual work, and only secondarily to the replacement of old jobs by new ones. The trends of the 1990s are related to the increasing role played by software in the overall computer business (see table 2) and to the technological aspects of media innovations, such as interactive television, personal communication networks, faxes, mobile telephones, video conferencing, electronic mail, and voice mail. Other important changes in consumption styles, labour organization, and occupations have arisen from the diffusion of mixed technological innovations, such as electronic credit and debit cards, which are relatively less widely used in Italy than in other European countries. On the other hand, in spite of many expectations raised in the 1980s, the introduction of telecommuting through information networks has been very relatively unsuccessful and limited to the communications sector, where this kind of technolTable 1 Annual sales of personal computers, 1987-94 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

280,000 390,000 510,000 600,000 680,000 750,000 810,000 900,000

Source: Assinform, Rapporto, various years.


4.5 Computerization of Work

Table 2 Computer sales in Italy, 1986-94 (billion lire) Year


Technical assistance

1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

7,635 8,520 9,490 10,510 11,130 11,450 8,920 8,050 7,810

3,560 4510 5,610 6,780 8,030 9,200 2,250 2,290 2,310


10,200 10,860 11,400

Total 11,195 13,030 15,100 17,290 19,160 20,650 21,370 21,200 21,520

Source: Assinform, Rapporto, various years.

Table 3 Turnover in information technology and automation, 1986-91 (% over previous year)

Hardware Data processing Software and computing services






11.6 16.4 26.0

9.1 17.1

5.9 16.0

Sources: Information Data Corporation, Twelfth Annual Survey of Computing Services in Europe', United Nations, Revue annuelle des industries mecaniques et et de I'automatization.

ogy is being developed (for example, Italtel and IBM Semea). The forecasts of a great rise in telecommuting to reduce production costs and commuting inconveniences proved to be exaggerated. All in all, office automation did not seriously threaten jobs by the end of the 1980s, as is evidenced by the employment trend in sectors that were heavily affected by automation, such as banking and insurance. The introduction of automation in the civil service produced parallel structures that supported the traditional existing organizational models. This outcome shows the difficulties of introducing new technologies in this sector efficiently (Cassese, 1978). Efficient introduction of automation in the public sector should produce unemployment effects, along with a need for major retraining and development of new skills for administrative personnel and those in contact with customers. The term "technological unemployment" has been used to describe the consequences of automation in industry,


Labour Market

although the effects of technology on employment levels are always mediated by organizational requirements and have different impacts on the quality and quantity of skills. REFERENCES Assinform 1983 Rapporto sulla situazione dell'informatica in Italia. Milan: Assinform. 1988 Rapporto sulla situazione dell'informatica in Italia. Milan: Assinform. Baldissera, A., et al. 1972 "Sistemi informativi e trasformazioni organizzative." Quaderni di Sociologia, 21, no. 3. Butera, F. 1987 "Economia della flessibilita, terziarizzazione e tecnologie informatiche: le implicazioni sull'organizzazione e sul lavoro." Studi organizzativi, no. 2. Butera, F., and Invernizzi, E. (eds.) 1993 // manager a piu dimensioni. Milan: F. Angeli. Cacace, N. 1986 Attivitd e professioni emergenti. Milan: F. Angeli. Cainarca, G. 1993 "II software e i servizi informatici." In R. Cominotti and S. Mariotti (eds.), Italia multinazionale nei servizi. Milan: Etas Libri. Cassese, S. 1978 "Mutamenti nella Pubblica Amministrazione." In A. Martinelli and G. Pasquino (eds.), Lapolitica neWItalia che cambia. Milan: Feltrinelli. Fondazione Agnelli 1986 / nuovi sistemi produttivi. Turin. Gallino, L. 1983 Informatica e qualita del lavoro. Turin: Einaudi. 1984 "Informatica, trasformazioni del lavoro e qualita del lavoro." Sociologia del lavoro, 7, no. 23. International Data Corporation 1986 Twelfth Annual Survey of Computing Services in Europe. Invernizzi, E., and Lugli, G. (eds.) 1987 Innovazione tecnologica nel commercio. Milan: F. Angeli. United Nations 1990 Revue annuelle des industries mecaniques et electriques et de I'automatisation.

5 Labour and Management

In most industrialized countries, managers have had to face the decline of competitiveness of industry since the beginning of the 1970s. As discussed in chapter 0, this decline is due to both external and internal factors. The oil shock and the emergence of newly industrialized countries with low labour costs put the traditional manufacturing industry in serious danger. The period of workers' protest from 1968 to 1972 not only gave a new and influential recognition to the unions in the factories (the so-called workers' statute became law in 1971) and reduced the traditional power of management over organization of the labour force, but also brought an overt rejection of Tayloristic organization of production. Management's responses to this double challenge began during the 1970s with a change in the balance between big and small business. While large factories could not easily restructure because of strong union opposition, the widespread emergence of small factories and grassroots entrepreneurship gave flexibility and competitiveness to the economic structure because of reduced labour costs and illegal activities such as tax evasion. The workers' protest also helped to disrupt not only the Fordist model of labour relations that up to then had been in force in large factories in mechanical industries, but also the models inspired by the human-relations movement, both the Catholic version adopted in state-owned firms, and the lay version developed by Olivetti (Gallino, 1987). In the 1970s, many large firms suffered high rates of absenteeism, labour was very strike-prone (see section 7.1) and management lost most of its control over production because of the unions' increasing power over personnel mobility, wages, and employment (see section 9.1). While the emergence of a new process of diffused industrialization made it easier for small firms to avoid the social and political constraints to flexible use of labour, the primary tasks of big firms were to introduce automation and dismiss excess labour through massive adoption of unemployment-compensation plans, gain flexibility in the use of labour, reduce conflict and absenteeism, and increase productivity through individual incentives and the introduction of flexible technology. This programme was finally adopted after


Labour and Management

supervisors marched against the strikers in Turin in October 1980, representing the defeat of the national unions' conflictual strategy (Baldissera, 1984). In the 1980s, the introduction of new technologies, integrated networks of firms, and the principles of "lean production" and total quality made management more conscious of the strategic importance of human resources. The adoption of more pragmatic approaches in labour relations, the discovery of corporate cultures, the massive recourse to internal training programmes, and the introduction of quality circles were mechanisms of social integration in the work place. While the technological transformation involves new types of work organization, social and cultural transformations among personnel have also contributed to a profound change in labour relations. Workers with more education are more interested in being intrinsically motivated to perform their jobs and involved in sharing the strategy and economic goals of the firms that employ them. This implies the diffusion of individual incentives and stock-sharing schemes. The increasing employment rate of women implies differentiated work schedules. Increasing mobility in the labour market (see section 4) partially negates the efforts made by firms to develop loyalty toward the company, especially among skilled personnel. Although management has made major efforts to regain control over industrial work and improve the quality of work life in order to obtain workers' co-operation, the future of labour-management relations lies in the development of the service sector and in the possibility of dealing with the dramatic effects of the service economy on labour organization. REFERENCES Baldissera, A. 1984 "Alle origin! della politica della diseguaglianza nell'Italia degli anni '80: la marcia dei quarantamila." Quaderni di Sociologia, no. 1. Gallino, L. 1987 Della ingovernabilita. Milan: Edizioni di Comunita.

5.1 Work Organization Tayloristic organization of the assembly line, which had been dominant only in large firms in the manufacturing industry and was behind the long period of


5.1 Work Organization labour unrest in the 1970s, was replaced by "lean production," which required more flexible labour management, integration of small plants, attention to quality, customization of products, and a higher skill level. Development of the service economy, which has employed the most labour since the 1980s, involves flexible schedules, self-motivated workers, and sometimes microentrepreneurial attitudes.

Industrialization in the 1950s and 1960s entailed the creation of large plants in northern regions, whose work organization was based on the accelerated introduction of mass-production technology and on unskilled immigrant workers. Productivity gains and low wages have been the traditional advantages of an exportoriented industrial structure concentrated on consumer durable goods. Work organization followed the Ford model, as imported from the United States. In fact, in the 1930s, Giovanni Agnelli, the founder of Fiat, had stated that he wanted to copy Ford. The market expansion of the 1950s and the economies of scale that new technologies could provide enabled this model to spread from the automobile industry to the household-appliances, office-machinery, textile, rubber, communications, and even food-processing sectors. Work organization in industry meant, especially, organization of manual workers, while white-collar workers were a tiny minority concentrated in a limited number of industrialized cities, such as Milan, Turin, and Genoa. In spite of the increase in the number of large firms in the 1950s and 1960s, small business has always played an important role in the Italian economy. The rigidity of the assembly line could be mitigated by decentralizing some phases of production. In the 1960s, management manifested various attitudes toward the human consequences of the assembly line. In the automobile and related industries (e.g., Fiat, Pirelli), labour organization was considered to be merely the result of decisions by production engineers and therefore completely subordinate to the exigencies of technology. In other firms, such as Olivetti and many state-owned factories, a different model of industrial relations and recognition of unions in the work place gave rise to experiments such as job enrichment, job rotation, and work groups. However, these experiments remained isolated, because of the rigidity of technology and the lack of union co-operation. The role of small business has been increasingly significant since the 1970s, when labour protest against the assembly line reached its highest level and absenteeism (see table 1) and the frequency of strikes forced management to


Labour and Management

Table 1 Absenteeism in industry, not including strikes, 1972-90 (% of work hours)

1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990

All employees

Plant workers

Office workers

10.28 10.83 11.60 11.61 10.75 10.17 10.58 10.97 10.15 9.90 7.86 7.73 7.26 7.23 6.78 6.71 6.94 7.04 7.58

8.79 7.85 8.30 8.17 8.60 8.54 10.34

5.06 5.33 4.54 4.47 4.20 4.56 4.73

Source: Confindustria, Rassegna di statistiche del lavoro, various years.

introduce a more flexible work organization. Management had the power to dismiss workers who became redundant due to the introduction of new flexible technologies, but this did not cause social protest thanks to heavy intervention by the state in unemployment and early-retirement plans. Flexibility was also introduced in terms of mobility between job positions and between plants. Finally, flexibility was used to link wage levels to profits and foster collective and individual productivity. In the mid-1980s, the main transformations of work organization in industry were summarized as follows (Butera, 1988b): a) industrial work in itself meant less and less production of goods and increasingly the supply of services; b) the proportion of technicians, clerks, and managers was increasing, to the detriment of manual workers; c) factories were becoming offices, while productive plants were shrinking, due to automation and transplants to countries where the labour cost


5.1 Work Organization

was low; d) job content was shifting from materials processing to control over the production process; e) managerial work was also shifting from personnel supervision to innovation functions, co-ordination activities, and task control; f) microentrepreneurial attitudes were spreading to both managers and floor supervisors; g) there was increasing integration, interdependence, and socialization of various tasks. In industry, absenteeism in the work place was very high, always above 10% of total work time throughout the 1970s, when there was a positive correlation between absenteeism and hours of strikes (Maggi, 1983). Both variables have been interpreted as signs of job dissatisfaction, due to a refusal by manual workers, especially younger ones, to accept Fordist work organization any longer. There was also a positive correlation between size of firm and rate of absenteeism (Cascioli, 1979). Table 1 shows that absenteeism decreased during the 1980s, following the well-known inverse relationship between rate of absenteeism and rate of unemployment (see section 4.1). A breakdown of the rates among manual and nonmanual workers also shows that the former are constantly absent and unemployed more frequently. The number of accidents in the work place corresponds to changes in the employment structure in both industry and agriculture. The only significant exception was during the second half of the 1980s, when the number of accidents began to increase (see table 2) in spite of dropping employment in both agriculture and industry, especially among manual workers, who are more exposed to dangerous situations on the job. This change was related to the fact that flexibility and productivity were pursued to the detriment of worker safety, which is typical of small businesses. The increasing importance of the service sector has also had an impact on work organization, especially through introduction of flexible time schedules, shift work, and week-end jobs. Most activities in this sector have to be supplied in real time, and personnel are often obliged to adapt work time to unpredictable market needs, although they may also have the opportunity to work flex-time. At any rate, the new service economy seems to discard two main principles of the labour ideology: regular working hours and working in the same space at the same time.


Labour and Management

Table 2 Accidents, diseases, and deaths caused by work in industry and agriculture, 1960-92 Accidents and diseases Industry Agriculture

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

1,081,516 1,215,672 1,257,460 1,376,309 1,311,730 1,126,427 1,167,250 1,271,271 1,291,822 1,348,677 1,398,655 1,388,646 1,364,342 ,379,594 ,297,637 ,165,099 ,160,738 ,143,392 ,072,398 ,080,693 ,069,484 990,892 941,331 860,873 819,008 822,610 813,753 846,100 895,105 927,304 984,079 1,029,887 1,044,524

Source: INAIL, Notiziario Statistico, various years.

315,657 305,279 267,876 251,481 247,313 249,467 281,441 292,812 293,594 281,580 261,331 233,958 234,911 233,665 214,748 203,032 200,336 195,587 186,873 179,679 175,742 158,038 166,484 194,055 209,176 223,661 236,775 244,309 259,621 246,702 249,861 242,663 245,446

Deaths Industry


3,517 3,920 3,517 4,394 3,313 2,917 3,047 3,105 3,137 2,856 3,865 3,563 3,640 3,472 3,186 2,002 1,980 2,020 1,746 1,859 1,568 1,319 1,394 ,618 ,429 ,458 ,629 ,764 2,043 2,134 2,048

1,347 1,267 1,256 1,279 1,149 1,109 1,232 1,171 1,147 1,123 1,046 1,095 1,187 1,126 1,110 924 916 881 807 796 687 642 625 676 613 641 695 633 669 714 593


5.1 Work Organization

REFERENCES Accornero, A. 1994 // mondo della produzione. Bologna: II Mulino. Accornero, A., Baldissera, A., and Scamuzzi, S. 1980 "Ricerca di massa sulla condizione operaia alia Fiat: primi risultati." Bollettino Cespe, no. 2. Baldissera, A. (ed.) 1978 "Indagini sull'organizzazione del lavoro in Italia." Quaderni di Socilogia, no. 2-3. Bianco, M.L., and Luciano, A. 1982 La sindrome di Archimede. Tecnici e imprenditori nel settore elettronico. Bologna: II Mulino. Bonazzi, G. 1982 "Impiegati e quadri intermedi: evoluzione di un'identita." Prospettiva Sindacale, no. 45. Bratina, D., and Martinelli, A. 1979 Gli imprenditori e la crisi. Bologna: II Mulino. Butera, F. 1980 "Le ricerche non disciplinari per la trasformazione del lavoro industriale in Italia. 1969-1979." Sociologia del lavoro, no. 10-11. 1988a "L'automazione d'ufficio. quali modelli professionali e quale formazione per impiegati, managers e professionals?" Sociologia del lavoro, no. 33. 1988b"Divisione e ricomposizione del lavoro." In D. De Masi and A. Bonzanini (eds.), Trattato di Sociologia del laoro e dell'organizzazione. L'industria. Milan: F. Angeli. Cascioli, A. 1979 Assenteismo e alienazione. Milan: F. Angeli. Ciborra, C. 1992 "La gestione del cambiamento tecnologico." In G. Costa (ed.), Manuale di gestione del personale. Turin: Utet. Della Rocca, G. 1991 "I quadri tra lealta, defezione e protesta. Un'analisi del ruolo e del mercato del lavoro del management intermedio." Studi organizzativi, no. 2. Maggi, B. 1983 "Schema teorico e metodologico per una ricerca sull'assenteismo operaio negli stabilimenti Italtel." In F. De Filippi (ed.), Le assenze dal lavoro per malattia degli operai Italtel. Milan: Italtel.


Labour and Management

Pichierri, A. 1989 Strategic contro il declino di aree di antica industrializzazione. Turin: Rosemberg & Sellier. Piore, M.J., and Sabel, C.F. 1984 The Second Industrial Divide. Possibilities for Prosperity. New York: Basic Books. Piva, F. 1991 Contadini infabbrica. Rome: Edizioni Lavoro. Regini, M. (ed.) 1988 La sfida della flessibilita. Impresa, lavoro e sindacati nellafase post-fordista. Milan: F. Angeli. Regini, M., and Sabel, C.F. (eds.) 1989 Strategic di riaggiustamento industriale. Bologna: II Mulino.

5.2 Personnel Administration In the 1980s, more attention was paid to worker motivation, on-the-job training, and advancement through the introduction of individual incentives, personal involvement in firms' strategy and economic goals, and integration into the corporate culture. The traditional division of labour between manufacturing and controlling tasks, which was never fully adopted in small business, was abandoned in large organizations through the adoption of total quality principles. In spite of these changes in the private sector, the public sector still suffered the traditional bureaucratic sclerosis that endangered the efficiency of the economy as a whole.

In the 1960s, the largest firms organized specialized departments to face the increasing problem of personnel recruitment, training, administration, evaluation, and motivation. Since then, firms have progressively increased their organizational and economic resources dedicated to these functions. These transformations in personnel administration have been matched by major changes in workers' attitudes and values attached to the job. In 1989, only 23.9% of respondents stated that working is simply a way to make money (Eurisko, 1993). On the contrary, post-materialistic work orientations are increasing because of rising levels of education, better economic welfare, and improved working conditions


5.2 Personnel Administration

(see table 1). Although it is not possible to give a single interpretation of differences in attitude between the 1970s and the 1980s, the workers of the 1980s seemed more interested in the human-relations dimension of work (in 1982 48.6% of the respondents said that the quality of relations with colleagues was important, compared to 27.2% in 1971), while interest in a good salary dropped from 66.9% in 1971 to 45.3% in 1982. The increasing importance attached to job tenure was linked to transformations in the labour market in the 1980s and to the higher unemployment rate during that period (see chapter 4). Nevertheless, the importance attributed to the intrinsic pleasantness of a job decreased. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that the movement toward a post-materialistic attitude toward work is still inhibited by material constraints such as unemployment (Accornero, 1990). Personnel administration in large industrial firms was heavily affected by state intervention. The restructuring programmes of the 1980s could not have been successful without the unions' consent, which was ensured by major early-retirement programmes for workers who could not be retrained and by expensive unemployment-compensation schemes that guaranteed flexible use of labour without excessive social costs. The number of unworked hours paid for by the state was highest during the economic crisis of the beginning of the 1980s, but remained higher than the previous decade during the years of the economic boom after 1988. Over that period the use of flexibility in personnel management was also evident in the increase in overtime (see table 3).

Table 1 Aspects of a satisfying job for industrial workers, 1971, 1982 (top 3 answers, %)

Career opportunities Good relations with colleagues Absence of risks on the job Clean and comfortable job environment Job tenure Good pay Interesting job Work autonomy Improvement of skills Sample size, 1971: 5,830; sample size, 1982: 3,500. Source: Isvet surveys, AA.VV., 1985.



19.7 27.2 20.8 20.8 45.7 66.9 43.4 23.8 -

19.9 48.6 23.7 21.5 58.2 45.3 33.1 15.9 25.1


Labour and Management

Table 2 Unemployment compensation (CIG), 1971-93 Total hours paid (000)

1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

199,569 173,958 126,093 158,418 349,036 285,905 255,129 324,502 299,588 307,137 577,744 620,291 746,518 816,497 713,631 647,356 491,120 384,847 314,681 308,653 387,356 416,074 483,444

Sources: Confmdustria, Rassegna di statistiche del lavoro; ISTAT, "Lavoro e retribuzioni"; Collana d'informazione, various years.

In smaller firms and the service sector, there has been an increasing proportion of self-employed people overall and increasing mobility between jobs. These facts have been interpreted as important factors in promoting the diffusion of micro-entrepreneurial attitudes, legitimating profit and private initiative and fostering risk taking. Especially in the service-for-industry sector, this situation has fostered the development of what have been called quasi-firms - loose organizations in which employees and managers work together with outside professionals, often in different locations and in relative autonomy (Luciano, 1989). In these cases, personnel are managed through social regulation mechanisms that are a mixture of the hierarchical logic of the organization and that of the professional community.


5.2 Personnel Administration

Table 3 Overtime as a Percentage of Total Working Hours in Industry, 1974-92 Year

1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

Total employees

Office workers

Plant workers

4.1 2.8 2.8 2.7 2.7 2.9 3.2 3.0 2.8 3.0 3.4 3.7 4.3 4.4 4.7 5.12 5.08 4.83

4.96 4.95 4.63

5.18 5.18 5.02

Source: ISTAT, "Lavoro e retribuzioni." Collana d'informazione, various years.

The public sector has always been unable to use modern personnel-management techniques. When automation and computers were introduced in the mid1970s (Cassese, 1977), computer centres were established outside the traditional organization of office work, and the problem of integration of procedures has been extremely persistent for a long time. Only recently have the problems of efficiency and output quality in the public sector been addressed due to increasing financial constraints of government expenditures. REFERENCES AA.VV. 1985 // lavoratore post-industriale. Milan: F. Angeli. Accornero, A. 1990 "II lavoro che cambia." Politica ed Economia, no. 1-2.


Labour and Management

Actis Grosso, C. 1992 "L'evoluzione della direzione del personale in Italia." In G. Costa (ed.), Manuale di gestione del personale. Turin: UTET. Boldizzoni, D. 1989 "Tendenze evolutive della direzione del personale nelle imprese italiane." Sviluppo e Organizzazione, no. 113. Butera, R, and Failla, A. 1992 Professionisti in azienda. Milan: Etas Libri. Butera, R, and Invernizzi, E. (eds.) 1993 // manager a piu dimensioni. Milan: R Angeli. Cassese, S. 1977 "Mutamenti della Pubblica Amministrazione." In A. Martinelli and G. Pasquino (eds.), La politica nell'Italia che cambia. Milan: Feltrinelli. Ceccotti, E., Consoli, R, and De lazzari, S. 1988 /professionisti dell'innovazione. Ingegneri e tecnici nell'industria elettronica. Turin: Rosemberg & Sellier. Cesareo, V., Bovone, L., and Rovati, G. 1979 Professione dirigente. Turin: Edizioni della Fondazione G.Agnelli. D'Antona, M. 1987 "Le tipologie flessibili del rapporto di lavoro." Quaderni di diritto del lavoro e relazioni sindacali, no. 2. De Rossi, F. 1978 L'illusione tecnocratica. II potere dei dirigenti nell'industria italiana. Milan: Etas Libri. Eurisko 1993 "International Social Survey Program. Work Orientations." Social Trends, Supplement to no. 59. Failla, A. (ed.) 1994 lavorare in un mondo che cambia. Milan: Etas Libri. Gallino, L. 1978 "Relazioni umane, Tecnici e Tecnocrazia." Dizionario di Sociologia. Turin: Utet. Luciano, A. (ed.) 1989 Arti maggiori. Comunita professionals nel terziario avanzato. Rome: La Nuova Italia Scientifica. Maggi, B. 1981 "II dibattito sulla formazione negli anni '70 e '80." Sviluppo e Organizzazione, no. 68.


5.3 Sizes and Types of Enterprises

Manzolini, L. 1983 "Ristrutturazioni aziendali, cambiamenti organizzativi e ruolo della direzione del personale." Sviluppo e Organizzazione, no. 80. Musatti, C., Baussano, G., Novara, R, and Rozzi, R.A. 1980 Psicologi in fabbrica: La psicologia del lavoro negli stabilimenti Olivetti. Turin: Einaudi. Pennacchi, L. 1990 Razionalita e cultura. Pratiche manageriali nelle Partecipazioni statali. Milan: F. Angeli. Rovati, G. 1991 Un ritratto dei dirigenti italiani. Turin: Edizioni della Fondazione G. Agnelli. Talamo, M. 1979 / dirigenti industriali in Italia. Autorita, comando e responsabilita sociale. Turin: Einaudi.

5.3 Sizes and Types of Enterprises The Italian industrial system has traditionally been dominated by small business; firms with fewer than 50 employees have accounted for a fairly constant proportion of around 98% of the total. The average size of industrial firms has been decreasing since the 1970s. The growth of the service sector has helped to lower average size; in this sector, however, firm size is increasing moderately. In spite of their size, small firms have almost the same proportion of their output exported as do the largest corporations.

Italy's economic structure has always been dominated by small business. Large firms began to form at the beginning of the century, and the state assisted them in acquiring an early monopolistic structure in an economic environment that was still dominated by agricultural activities and a domestic market that was protected from foreign competition. Postwar industrialization was due mainly to the creation and spread of small businesses, some of them subcontractors to large firms, many autonomous and competitive on the international markets. There are three types of firms with traditional structures. Private large firms instigated the first industrial take-off. Their headquarters are located in northern


Labour and Management

urban areas, and most of their labour force consists of white-collar workers, researchers, and technicians, while manual workers are concentrated in southern plants established through tax exemptions and financial assistance from the state. These corporations hold an oligopolistic position in the domestic market and were competitive on international markets during the 1970s. State-owned firms have an oligopolistic or monopolistic position in the domestic market but are rarely competitive abroad. In the 1950s they helped to supply cheap raw materials, energy, and semi-finished products to export-oriented private firms, but in the 1970s their managers, whose appointments and careers had traditionally been influenced by political decisions made by parties that formed the government coalition, were affected by increasing competition among government parties and by their strategy to control managerial decisions more directly. Thus, managers' roles in state-owned firms was no longer based on efficiency, but on their ability to meet parties needs in terms of political consent, through creation of jobs and, in terms of financial needs for their machinery, through illegal supply of economic resources. Small firms represent most of the country's economic structure. At the end of the 1980s, only eight Italian firms were on the Fortune list of the 500 largest corporations in the world (Great Britain had 43, Germany 32, and France 29). Beyond the few big businesses, on which the public sector, through the state shareholding formula, has traditionally exerted a major influence, the last 20 years have seen an increase in the number and competitiveness of small business (Trigilia, 1994). Small firms in the northern and central regions enjoy a percentage of export on turnover similar to that of the main oligopolies. Their competitive advantage is based not on economies of scale but on integration at the local level into a flexible system of highly specialized production units (Cacace, 1986). Industrialization was accompanied by an increase in the size of the average work force per firm (see table 1), from 6.4 persons in 1951 to 10.3 two decades later. The industrial crisis of the 1970s and the restructuring of the 1980s made firms smaller again, so that in 1991 the average work force per firm was 7.7. In the service sector, in contrast, although average work-force size was lower than in industry, it slowly increased, from fewer than 3 people in 1951 to almost 4 in 1991. This was due to the spread in recent years of supermarkets and department stores, which partially supplanted a traditional network of shopkeepers, and to the development of firms that provide services to industry that were originally part of industrial firms, such as marketing, advertising, research and development, data


5.3 Sizes and Types of Enterprises

Table 1 Number of firms, number of employees, and average number of employees per firm, 1951-91 7957





643,486 4,123,239 6.41


Number of employees Employees per firm

5,518,673 8.59

617,174 6,330,530 10.26

884,993 7,111,987 8.04

6,354,288 7.68

Services: Number of firms Number of employees Employees per firm

1,029,325 2,871,711 2.79

1,230,434 3,777,140 3.07

1,591,754 4,632,111

1,924,827 5,713,187 2.97

2,956,955 11,345,320 3.84

Industry: Number of firms



* Provisional data. Source: ISTAT, General Censuses of Industry and services

processing, vocational training, fiscal and strategic counselling, and personnel management. Moreover, unlike other industrialized countries, the Italian industrial structure lacks not only large firms (the proportion of firms with a work force of at least 500 was constantly around 1 in every 1,000 throughout the period), but also of medium-sized firms; the proportion of firms with a work force of between 50 and 499 dropped from 2.1% in 1971 to 1.9% 20 years later (see table 2). The persistent importance of small firms in an international environment of increasing competitiveness can also be explained by the evolution of the legal form of firms. Table 3 shows that while the overall number of firms increased by 48% in the 1960s and 1970s, the number of "other types" of legal forms increased by only 11.2% and that the number of one-person businesses increased less than the average. In contrast, the number of corporations doubled (see table 3). The success of "lean production" is not only behind the spread of small business, but can also explain the internal transformation of the components of big firms. Since the mid-1970s, the average work force in large firms has been constantly decreasing and the number of manual workers has seen an even sharper decline, so that even the industrial firm is less like an assembly line than an office (see table 4).


Labour and Management

Table 2 Number and percentage of employees in industrial and construction firms, 1971, 1981, 1991 7977 1-9 10-49 50-99 100-499 over 500 Total









658,366 70,494 8,796 6,116 953 744,725

88.4 9.5 1.2 0.8 0.1 100.0

770,447 98,349 8,960 6,329 908 884,993

87.1 11.1 1.0 0.7 0.1 100.0

693,924 118,268 8,827 5,670 785 827,474

83.8 14.3 1.1 0.7 0.1 100.0

Source: ISTAT, General Censuses of Industry and services.

Table 3 Types of firms

One-person businesses Companies - corporations - co-operatives - other Other types Total




variation 1961-1981 (%)

1,724,708 171,808

1,987,689 241,883 23,056 10,744 208,083 6,472 2,236,044

2,315,512 519,569 38,058 19,900 461,611 12,232 2,835,081

34.5 202.4

10,997 1,907,513

Source: ISTAT, General Censuses of Industry and services.

11.2 48.6


5.3 Sizes and Types of Enterprises

Table 4 Indices of work-force size in firms with over 500 employees, 1974-92* Total employees

1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

104.7 103.8 102.6 101.4 100.3 100.6 100.0 96.8 92.4 87.8 83.0 78.8 75.5 72.6 70.8 70.8 69.5 67.6 63.9

Clerks and managers


100.0 100.6 100.8 100.3 97.0

109.9 107.5 105.5 103.5 101.4 101.4 100.0 95.5 90.3 85.0 79.3 74.3 70.4 66.8 64.7 64.6 62.9 60.5 56.4

*The index is 1980=100 for column 1 and 3, and 1988=100 for column 2. Source: Authors' compilation from ISTAT, "Lavoro e retribuzioni." Collana d'informazione, various years.

REFERENCES Brunetti, G., et al. 1989 Anni Novanta: cosa cambia nell'industria veneta. Padua: Cedam. Cacace, N. 1986 Attivitd e professioni emergenti. Milan: F. Angeli. Camuffo, A., and Comacchio, A. 1990 Strategia e organizzazione nel tessile-abbigliamento. Padua: Cedam. Comacchio, A. 1990 "Strategia, scelte tecnologiche e gestione delle risorse umane. Analisi comparata dei casi Stefanel e Zanussi." In A. Camuffo and G. Costa (eds.), Strategia d'impresa e gestione delle risorse umane, Padua: Cedam. Moussanet, M., and Paolazzi, L. (eds.) 1992 Gioielli, bambole, coltelli. Viaggio nei distretti produttivi italiani. Milan: Edizioni del Sole 24 Ore.


Labour and Management

Nanut, V., and Compagno, C. 1989 Strutture organizzative e processi gestionali nelle piccole e medie imprese, Milan: F. Angeli. Nardin, G. (ed.) 1987 La Benetton. Rome: Edizioni Lavoro. Panati, G. 1980 Politiche di ristrutturazione e decentramento produttivo. Padua: Cedam. Sciarelli, S. 1987 L'impresaflessibile. Padua: Cedam. Trigilia, C. 1994 "I paradossi di un capitalismo leggero." In P. Ginsborg (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: II Saggiatore, Bruno Mondadori. Varaldo, R. (ed.) 1979 Ristrutturazione industriale e rapporti tra imprese. Milan: F. Angeli. 1988 // sistema delle imprese calzaturiere. Turin: Giappichelli.

6 Social Stratification

The last 40 years have seen a twofold transformation of Italian society: within a single generation, a mainly agricultural society changed into a mainly industrial one. The industrial sector was the largest for a very short period, until the beginning of the 1970s, when the service economy began to offer the largest plurality of jobs, and a post-industrial society has developed since the 1980s. For these reasons, it is not unusual to find young urban families whose fathers had moved from the southern countryside in the 1950s and are now retired from the industrial jobs they found in the large northern factories. The industrial revolution of the 1950s and 1960s had its origins in the collapse of the fascist regime and the concomitant abandonment of the autarchy and the economic policy of self-sufficiency that bound an agrarian society to a monopolistic industrial structure. The post-industrial revolution that began in the 1980s is still evolving in the 1990s; its roots are in the economic and political crisis of the 1970s. In Italy, unlike other European countries, the prevalence of jobs in the service economy is accompanied by the continuing importance of a widespread industrial structure composed of small firms and concentrated in industrial districts that specialize in export-oriented production. This feature of Italy's socioeconomic structure has had important effects on changes in social stratification and its regional differentiation over time. Industrialization was accompanied by mass migration from southern to northern regions and from rural to urban areas. This deeply affected social stratification, as did long-term increases in education level and women's entry into the labour force. Because these changes happened at different rates in different regions, they gave rise to the coexistence of different social structures and the dissolution of what have been called different "social formations" (Gallino, 1987). Given the steady decline of the traditional agricultural classes (small-holding farmers and agricultural labourers), and the continuing role played by the traditional petty bourgeoisie (small shopkeepers and unskilled workers in retail trade), the classes of the oligopolistic social formation (managers, white- and blue-collar workers in the


Social Stratification

larger industrial firms) developed later in Italy than in other European countries and the number of manual workers declined rather quickly after the 1970s. The classes of the entrepreneurial social formation (small entrepreneurs and skilled manual workers) developed during the 1970s in many former agricultural areas of central Italy. The striking improvement in living standards (see chapter 12) does not seem to have had an equal impact on distribution of social and economic inequalities. While some traditional indicators, such as housing conditions and educational attainment, have become less unequal, new dimensions of inequality are emerging in the distribution of some durable goods and consumption styles. The egalitarian tendencies at work during the 1970s and part of the 1980s have been counterbalanced by a sort of resurgence of the market since the mid-1980s. This phenomenon was imposed in part by the need to recover from the fiscal crisis and regain international competitiveness. But it also stemmed from the political struggle in which emerging groups fought to cut back on welfare mechanisms and create more flexibility in the labour market. At the end of the 1960s the majority of Italians (54.2%) thought that social inequalities would diminish in the future, while only a small minority (14.6%) believed that they would increase (Pagani, 1970). The idea that Italian society would have less inequality was especially widespread among urban and educated people - that is, the social groups whose share in the total population was rising. A quarter of a century later, we can state that the majority was at least in part right. While many aspects of social inequalities, such as education, living standards, homeownership, and perhaps the distribution of family assets, have diminished, others, such as income distribution and occupational prestige scale, have remained almost constant. At the same time, attitudes have become more egalitarian, in spite of the revival of individualistic values during the 1980s. REFERENCES Ascoli, U., and Catanzaro, R. (eds.) 1987 La societa italiana degli anni ottanta. Ban: Laterza. Bagnasco, A. 1992 La costruzione sociale del mercato. Bologna: il Mulino. Gallino, L. 1987 Delia ingovernabilita. Milan: Edizioni di Comunita. Paci, M. 1990 La struttura sociale italiana. Bologna: il Mulino.


6.1 Occupational Status

Pagani, A. 1970 "L'immagine della struttura di classe nella popolazione italiana." Quaderni di Sociologia, 19, no. 2.

6.1 Occupational Status The transition from a mainly rural society to an industrial occupational structure and then to a post-industrial society took place over just 40 years. To show occupational changes, we have adopted an articulated scheme of nine classes, because the traditional tripartite scheme of social stratification shows little change in size of the strata and conceals important changes within each stratum. Despite the dramatic transformation of the occupational structure, attitudes toward the prestige scale attributed to jobs seemed rather stable and still somewhat affected by a traditional value system.

In 1951, agricultural activities took up 43.9% of all jobs, a proportion well above that of industry, which accounted for only 29.5% of jobs; the service sector employed the remaining 26.6%. Only in 1957 did the number of industrial jobs exceed that of agricultural jobs. Employment in industry reached a peak in 1970 with more than 8 million jobs, mainly for unskilled manual workers. Thereafter, the figure began to decrease slowly, as industry declined. The service sector became the largest in 1971; in 1992, this sector accounted for 60% of all jobs, while the proportion of jobs in industry and in agriculture was 31.9% and 8.1%, respectively (see table 1 for numbers of jobs per sector). A statistical division of the labour force into three sectors gives only a rough picture of the occupational structure, both because this division is increasingly inadequate to describe the complex relations between sectors and because the borders between sectors are increasingly becoming a statistical artifact. Therefore, a correct sociological approach should use more theoretically grounded categories of occupational status. Following the sociological tradition in this regard, recent research has identified nine social classes, combining three different dimensions of social stratification: power resources, market situation, and occupational position (Schizzerotto, 1993a). A class is a set of individuals and families who hold a similar position in terms of these three main dimensions of inequality, which are in turn increasingly influenced in modern democracies by the regulatory role played by social institutions (Gallino, 1978).


Social Stratification

Table 1 Number of jobs per sector, 1951-92 (000)

1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 120 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 197a3 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992




8,640 8,422 8,206 8,051 7,740 7,453 7,114 6,974 6,847 6,567 6,207 5,810 5,295 4,967 4,956 4,660 4,556 4,247 4,023 3,683 3,875 3,593 3,489 3,412 3,274 3,244 3,149 3,090 3,012 2,899 2,732 2,522 2,526 2,426 2,296 2,241 2,169 2,058 1,946 1,863 1,823 1,749

5,803 6,002 6,274 6,359 6,654 6,812 7,043 7,077 7,176 7,388 7,646 7,810 7,986 7,996 7,728 7,621 7,782 7,890 8,048 8,209 7,617 7,477 7,470 7,639 7,669 7,566 7,667 7,633 7,646 7,699 7,647 7,527 7,352 7,043 6,896 6,821 6,716 6,788 6,753 6,940 6,916 6,851

5,250 5,418 5,579 5,745 5,890 6,055 6,232 6,380 6,399 6,437 6,578 6,591 6,613 6,885 6,785 6,876 7,044 7,210 7,361 7,565 7,803 7,926 8,226 8,550 8,773 9,049 9,248 9,436 9,719 9,889 10,165 10,444 10,679 11,178 11,550 11,794 11,952 12,256 12,305 12,593 12,853 12,859

Sources: ]STAT,Annuario statistico italiano, Rome, various years; ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche 1926-1985, Rome, 1986.


6.1 Occupational Status

The first class is that of professional politicians. This class's specific resource is control over political organizations and the consequent power to issue legitimate orders to the citizens. The entrepreneurs form a second social class, whose resource is ownership of the means of production. The third class comprises professionals, who have a legally ratified monopoly to exercise an intellectual and highly specialized activity that requires specific educational credentials. The fourth class, the service class, includes upper and middle managers in the private sector and senior civil servants, who control educational credentials and organizational resources in complex organizations. White-collar workers, who comprise the fifth class, have in common a culture and a work environment (the office); unlike the service class, they do not co-ordinate other people's work. The sixth class, the urban petty bourgeoisie, includes small-scale owners and manufacturers (shopkeepers, artisans, family-run services). The rural petty bourgeoisie is the seventh class, comprising owners of small family-run farms. The eighth class, the urban working class, includes manual workers employed in industrial, commercial, and service activities, whose only resource is their labour. Finally, the rural working class comprises manual workers in the countryside. The first four classes are small in size and are lumped together as "bourgeoisie" in table 2. The entrepreneurial class has been rather steady in size over the

Table 2 Social Classes in Italy, 1881-1983 (%) Classes:









Bourgeoisie Middle classes Employees: private sector public sector Petty bourgeoisie small farmers shopkeepers artistans Other Working class Agriculture Industry Services

1.9 45.9 2.1 .6 1.5 41.2 22.5 2.8 15.9 2.6 52.2 35.6 13.2 3.4

1.7 51.2 2.7 .8 1.9 45.9 35.1 4.0 6.8 2.5 47.1 24.2 18.7 4.2

1.7 53.3 3.2 .8 2.4 47.3 37.0 4.4 5.9 2.8 45.0 21.8 19.6 3.6

1.6 54.8 5.0 1.7 3.3 47.1 35.6 5.4 6.1 2.7 43.6 16.2 21.4 6.0

1.9 56.9 9.8 5.2 4.6 44.4 30.3 6.7 7.4 2.7 41.2 11.8 22.9 6.5

2.0 53.4 13.1 6.9 6.2 37.2 21.6 7.6 8.0 3.1 44.6 8.4 29.0 7.2

2.5 50.4 16.5 8.7 7.9 29.1 11.3 9.7 8.1 3.2 47.1 6.1 31.1 9.9

3.3 54.0 22.7 10.2 12.5 28.0 7.6 10.4 10.0 3.3 42.7 4.0 26.1 12.6

Source: Sylos Labini, P. 1986 Le classi sociali negli anni '80 (Bari: Laterza).


Social Stratification

long term and increased in numbers only during the 1960s as a consequence of the industrial take-off and during the 1970s as a consequence of the spread of industrialization in the northeastern and central regions. The increase in numbers of the other upper classes has been greater. The political class increased in size after the war because of the development of a system of collective-interests organizations and the central position taken by party bureaucracies in control over civil society since the first centre-left coalitions in the 1960s. The numbers of professionals increased especially during the 1970s and the 1980s as a result of the formation of new professions linked to the expansion of the service economy. The growth of the service class is related to bureaucratization of both the public and private sectors. There was a dramatic increase in numbers of white-collar workers after the war, and the proportion of civil servants among them was constantly above 50%. The decline in numbers of the rural petty bourgeoisie, which had accounted for almost one third of all jobs in 1951, paralleled that of farm labourers, but its proportion in the total labour force was constantly higher than that in other industrialized countries. The urban petty bourgeoisie underwent a moderate but steady increase in size during the period under study, in contrast with other industrialized countries. Within the working classes, the decline of jobs in agriculture was in part counterbalanced by an increase in industrial jobs until the beginning of the 1970s, and by a steady increase of manual workers in the service sector. Despite these structural changes, opinions about the degree of prestige to be attributed to various occupations have changed little and seem strikingly similar to those of citizens of other countries (de Lillo and Schizzerotto, 1985). Manual jobs are consistently considered less prestigious than nonmanual occupations. Working in the service sector, even at a low skill level (such as fast-food workers and doorkeepers) is considered more prestigious than working in agriculture or on an assembly line. To do a job as a self-employed person is more highly regarded than doing the same job as an employee. The degree of prestige is directly proportional to the number of subordinates, and the level of professional competence and qualification required by a job are also important (see table 3). There are some differences in the prestige scales of different social groups. Workers' prestige scale tends to be more egalitarian than does managers' (see table 4).


6.1 Occupational Status

Table 3 Status scores attributed to occupational groups in 1984 Groups of occupations: Executives in the civil service and large firms Traditional professions such as lawyers and doctors Entrepreneurs of large and medium-sized industrial and services firms Executives of large agricultural firms Public-sector managers Journalists, writers, and professionals working for an employer Independent technical and scientific occupations, artists Technical and scientific occupations, artists working for an employer Middle management in the public and private sectors Junior managers Employees with university degree Secondary-school teachers Entrepreneurs in middle-sized agricultural firms Independent occupations in arts and entertainment Highly skilled office workers and technicians Small entrepreneurs (4-14 employees) Worker supervisors Jewellers, some industrial sectors and services Priests and clergy Elementary-school teachers Supervisors and floor supervisors Semi-skilled white-collar workers and technicians Aristans in chemistry, tanning, textile, mechanical, and wood industries Professional soldiers, police officers Independent agricultural workers, drivers Skilled manual workers Street traders Drivers working for an employer Unskilled office workers Independent manual workers Unskilled manual workers in industry Collectors and sellers of second-hand goods Unskilled manual workers in agriculture

Mean score

89.18 85.67 83.49 81.65 81.26 79.90 79.90 70.99 70.40 67.38 65.37 64.42 63.92 63.92 57.07 55.56 54.12 49.87 47.42 49.95 46.86 44.36 39.45 38.43 34.54 29.10 26.97 24.66 22.11 20.60 18.12 14.16 10.56

Sample size: 792. Source: A. de Lillo and A. Schizzerotto, La valutazione sociale delle occupazioni (Bologna: il Mulino, 1985).


Social Stratification

Table 4 Occupational status attributed by workers and managers, 1984 (score 1 to 100) Occupation: Judge Industrial chief executive School inspector Alderman Body-shop owner (artisan with employees) Confectioner Librarian Appliance assembler Shop cashier Shepherd

mean score



92 A 89.7 71.9 56.3 54.4 40.8 36.6 33.7 20.1 6.0

90.3 85.5 72.6 56.4 53.4 39.8 35.8 36.6 23.4 8.4

94.3 93.0 72.2 55.7 54.9 41.6 38.6 31.3 16.9 3.2

Sample size: 792. Source'. A. de Lillo and A. Schizzerotto, La valutazione sociale delle occupazioni (Bologna: il Mulino, 1985).

REFERENCES Ammassari, P. 1977 Classi e ceti nella societa italiana. Studi e ricerche. Turin: Fondazione Agnelli. Barberis, C. 1988 La classe politica municipale. Milan: F. Angeli. Carboni, C. (ed.) 1986 Classi e movimenti in Italia 1970-1985. Bari: Laterza. Chiesi, A. M., and Martinelli, A. 1987 "Italy." In T. Bottomore and R. Brym (eds.), The Capitalist Class. An International Study. Brighton: Wheatsheaf. De Lillo, A., and Schizzerotto, A. 1985 La valutazione sociale delle occupazioni. Bologna: il Mulino. Gallino, L. 1978 Dizionario di Sociologia. Turin: Utet. 1987 Delia ingovernabilita. Milan: Edizioni di Comunita. Martinelli, A., .Chiesi, A.M., and dalla Chiesa, N. 1981 / grandi imprenditori italiani. Milan: Feltrinelli. Pichierri, A. (ed.) 1974 Le classi sociali in Italia: 1870-1970. Turin: Loescher. Schizzerotto, A. 1993a "Problem! concettuali e metodologici nell'analisi delle classi sociali." in M. Palumbo (ed.), Classi, diseguaglianze, poverta. Milan: F. Angeli.


6.2 Social Mobility

1993b"Le classi superiori in Italia: politici, imprenditori, liberi professionisti e dirigenti." Polls, 7, no. 1. Sylos Labini, P. 1984 Saggio sulle classi sociali. Bari: Laterza. 1986 Le classi sociali negli anni '80. Bari: Laterza.

6.2 Social Mobility Important changes in the social structure, accompanied by increasing social mobility trends, produced an overall upgrading of social strata. While absolute social mobility in Italy is on a par with other European countries, relative mobility (the statistical likelihood of changing positions from one stratum to another stratum) has not changed over time and the inequality of opportunities is greater.

In the postwar period, a high proportion of people experienced intergenerational mobility: 60% of a national sample from 18 to 65 years of age hold a social position different from that of their parents. On the whole, upward mobility has been greater than downward mobility, especially because of the opportunities opened up by transition to an industrial society and the present trends toward a service economy. In fact, jobs in agriculture have lower degrees of social status, education, and income than do industrial manual jobs, which, in turn, are less well regarded than clerical jobs, which are becoming the larger occupational category in the 1990s. Comparing the average number of socially mobile men in eleven countries (Cobalti, 1988), Italy is in sixth place (68%), behind Hungary, Sweden, Japan, United States and Australia, and ahead of Great Britain, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Poland, and Ireland. Patterns of absolute mobility (see table 1) show that the sons of the bourgeoisie, white-collar workers, and industrial workers have had more opportunity to stay within their respective fathers' classes, while sons of agricultural workers had a higher likelihood to move to the working class because of the industrialization process. All in all, short-range mobility - moves between contiguous classes - has been widespread, while long-range mobility is very rare. Furthermore, social mobility has been often related to long-distance migrations, from the rural regions in the south to the industrialized cities of the north. An analysis of changes in social mobility over the last 30 years is difficult because the first survey on this subject was conducted in the 1980s. Nevertheless, it is


Social Stratification

Table 1 Absolute social mobility, 1986 (%)

Class of origin Bourgeoisie White-collar Urban petty bourgeoisie Agricultural petty bourgeoisie Industrial working class Agricultural working class

Class of destination Agricultural Urban petty petty bourgeoisie bourgeoisie

Industrial working class

Agricultural working class



48.6 21.1

32.6 49.4

7.2 12.2

2.2 0.3

9.4 16.4

0.0 0.6

























Sample size: 5,016. Source: de Lillo, 1988.

possible to compare the social-mobility rates of different age groups assuming that the mobility of the older generation represents the situation of the 1960s, while the mobility of the younger generation represents the situation in the 1980s (see table 2). Such a comparison shows that mobility levels are increasing over time and that upward mobility is increasing in proportion. This increase is the result not of increasing relative mobility (the likelihood of changing positions from one stratum to another stratum), but of a rapid and profound change in social structure. Structural changes, welfare policies, and income redistribution measures have not affected either upward or downward mobility. More specifically, the increasing proportion of professionals, managers, and politicians in the social structure has supplied a channel of upward mobility for the sons of white-collar workers, who had the opportunity 5.24 times the average in the total sample., On the contrary, opportunity for the sons of workers was 1.72 times less than the average (see table 3). Moreover, the steady increase in the proportion of white-collar workers, in both the public and private sectors, has provided greater advantage to industrial workers than to the urban petty bourgeoisie (Cobalti, 1988). Data show that opportunities for social mobility have been different in different regions: the best opportunities have been in the central and northeastern regions, where jobs in small industrial firms opened up mostly during the 1970s and the


6.2 Social Mobility

Table 2 Social mobility in 1986 according to birth date of respondent (%)

Immobility Short-range mobility Upward mobility Downward mobility





Total sample

39.1 17.5 20.4 23.0

35.8 18.4 25.1 20.7

34.2 15.4 33.8 16.6

36.3 16.0 33.4 14.3

38.3 16.2 26.9 18.6

Sample size: 5,016. Source: de Lillo, Antonio 1988, "La mobilita sociale assoluta." Polls, 2, no. 1.

Table 3 Relative Social Mobility, 1986 (odd ratio)

Class of origin Bourgeoisie White-collar Urban petty bourgeoisie Agricultural petty bourgeoisie Industrial working class Agricultural working class

Class of destination Agricultural Urban petty petty bourgeoisie bourgeoisie

Industrial working class

Agricultural working class



16.41 5.24

2.58 4.94

-2.38 -1.09

1.57 -7.69

-3.70 -1.61

-7.69 -1.89

























Sample size: 5,016. Source: Cobalti, Antonio, 1988, "Mobili e diseguali." Polls, 2, no. 1.

1980s. In contrast, social mobility in southern regions has been lower, due to the persistent role of agricultural occupations in the economic structure (de Lillo, 1988). The four components of the bourgeoisie (entrepreneurs, professionals, service class, and politicians) are able to control social mechanisms that prevent their sons from downward movement (see table 4). These mechanisms are particularly effective for entrepreneurs and professionals, who can bequeath the capital and goodwill resulting from their activities. While conditions of almost perfect mobility are satisfied between the four components of the bourgeoisie, the likelihood of


Social Stratification

Table 4 Social origin of four higher classes in 1989 (%) Class of destination: Class of origin

Service Class




Total sample
















9.6 27.3 26.3 6.6 3.0 1.0 100.0

18.1 24.4 20.0 18.1 5.6 1.3 100.0

11.9 16.4 15.1 2.5 38.4 1.3 100.0

15.0 18.3 18.3 10.8 6.7 1.7 100.0

13.3 22.2 20.4 9.3 13.2 1.3 100.0

Agricultural working class Industrial working class Agricultural petty bourgeoisie Urban petty bourgeoisie White collars Service class Professionals Entrepreneurs Politicians Total

Sample size: 640. Source: Schizzerotto, Antonio 1993, "La porta stretta: class! superior! e process! di mobilita." Palis, 7, no. 1.

entering them from below depends on how recently their membership has grown. This is why the service and political classes are the most open to upward movement. The service class developed recently and quickly, and the political class was completely renewed through the establishment of the party system during the 1950s. Sons of white-collar workers were particularly able to take advantage of these opportunities (Schizzerotto, 1993). REFERENCES Barbagli, M. 1988 "Da una classe all'altra." Polis, 2, no. 1. Cobalti, Antonio 1988 "Mobili e diseguali." Polis, 2, no. 1. 1989 "La mobilita sociale in Italia." // Progetto, 9, no. 50-51. 1991 Italian Mobility in an International Perspective. Trieste: Mimeo. de Lillo, A. 1988 "La mobilita sociale assoluta." Polis, 2, no. 1.


6.3 Economic Inequality

Schadee, H.M.A., and Schizzerotto, A. 1990 "Processi di mobilita maschili e femminili nell'Italia contemporanea." Polis, 4, no. 1. Schizzerotto, A. 1993 "La porta stretta: classi superiori e processi di mobilita." Polis, 7, no. 1.

6.3 Economic Inequality The stability of income distribution was interrupted in the 1970s, when differences diminished moderately. Tendencies toward a more egalitarian society can be seen only in relation to some dimensions of economic inequality: distribution of family assets, and differences of income according to educational attainment and between rural and urban areas. Income inequality per region seems stable in spite of expensive policies supporting the underdeveloped southern areas.

Italy enjoyed two long periods of economic development, separated by a period of crisis. During the "Italian economic miracle" that lasted from 1955 to 1968, real per capita income grew at a pace of 5.5%, except during a short-term crisis that peaked in 1964. The first oil shock in 1973 worsened dramatically the economic crisis that arose as a consequence of the social and political struggle of 1969. The annual inflation rate was constantly above 10% from 1973 to 1984 and was evidence of the growing conflict over reallocation of wealth between social groups: capital and labour, private-sector workers versus civil servants, rentiers against debtors, fixed-income versus variable-income earners, retirees against the working population. From 1984 to 1992, the Italian economy had another period of economic well-being and family purchasing power grew considerably. These three phases affected income and wealth inequalities, the composition of the household portfolio, and the number and characteristics of income sources. Information on income and wealth distribution have well-known reliability problems. Official data on taxable income do not take into account all kinds of revenue and cannot report on the widespread phenomenon of tax evasion. For this reason, we prefer to rely on the authoritative survey reports of the Bank of Italy, although this source has the limitations involved in data-collection methods based on interviews: underestimated variance and unreliable reporting of higher incomes. Nevertheless, as we are interested in changes in distribution, we can assume that this error is constant and therefore does not affect comparisons over time.


Social Stratification

The available data on family-income distribution give an impression of stability. The Gini's coefficient has been substantially stable over time and from different statistical sources (Garonna, 1984; Wolleb, 1991). As the Gini's coefficient can camouflage different distribution structures and be the result of changes between deciles over time, we have tried to give a more complex picture of the situation in table 1, in which "typical" family income for the four extreme deciles are traced. There was a moderate reduction in inequality during the 1970s, after which differences remained roughly constant. The decrease in range of the deciles affected the highest decile more than the lowest. The general emerging pattern is one of prevailing stability, as a result of a regulating system in which the market, the state, and family strategies play an important and reciprocally balanced role. In fact, during the booming 1960s and especially as a result of the social unrest of the 1970s, an important shift of the GNP in favour of wages and salaries and the Table 1 Difference between the typical income of selected deciles and the overall median, 1967-91 (%) Decile:

1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991





-72.4 -72.1 -68.9 -69.2 -72.4 -64.3 -62.0 -65.5 -60.9 -56.5 -58.0 -60.5 -60.6 -60.3 -60.1 -61.6 -60.8 -60.1 -60.4 -60.6

-54.2 -54.0 -52.2 -53.0 -56.8 -48.7 ^6.2 -50.0 ^6.2 -44.1 ^4.4 ^5.7 ^5.7 -46.6

49.8 58.4 53.1 55.8 54.8 53.1 49.6 51.5 48.0 47.6 46.9 50.0 50.8 50.6 49.7 52.3 50.9 49.2 49.9 50.6

112.3 117.9 109.1 107.0 115.6 100.0 91.1 103.2 91.5 86.9 88.7 95.3 90.2 91.7 93.9 99.7 96.4 93.1 90.0 86.6


^8.0 -47.5 -46.8 ^6.5 ^6.4

Sample size: 5,016. Source: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino statistico, various years, author's calculations.


6.3 Economic Inequality

egalitarian demands of labour conflicts (see chapter 7) brought equal and automatic increases in compensation, protecting very low wages from high inflation rates and reducing the spread between salaries and wages (see table 2). Profits and rents were also cut, and debtors took advantage of inflation over their creditors. Since the 1980s, industrial profits began to grow again, and real interest rates rose because of the increasing fiscal crisis. The egalitarian cost-of-living allowance was phased out at the end of the decade. Greater flexibility in the labour market produced unemployment in the unionized sector of large industrial plants. At the same time, the growth of the underground economy, the increasing number of independent workers, and the development of clusters of small firms in northeastern and central Italy are possible explanations for the introduction of a more uneven compensation system largely beyond union control. These changes were instigated mainly by a sort of resurgence of market mechanisms - that is, they were the outcome of unco-ordinated individual decisions made by the economic actors - but were counterbalanced by the effects of the state's redistribution efforts on family incomes. Expenditures on public health, pension plans, and unemployment benefits took an increasing proportion of the public budget, as did the cost of servicing the high interest rates on an increasing national debt. On the revenue side, the egalitarian effects of inflation on progressive personal income taxes were counterbalanced, and probably nullified, by tax evasion, traditionally concentrated in specific higher-income groups whose revenues are not taxed at source, such as professionals, small-scale entrepreneurs, and self-employed workers. Moreover, the rents of the national debt, which represent an increasing proportion of the average family's income, are not subject to progressive taxation. One of the main results of recent research in the field shows that income distribution and economic inequalities are not simply the result of interplay between market forces and state policies, but of important mechanisms at work within the family itself. As shown in other chapters, households have changed in size, Table 2 Changes in the real value of industrial workers' wages and civil servants' salaries, 1961-93 (000 1971 lire)

Wages Salaries










71 212

90 293

102 312

146 338

189 279

210 255

213 262

225 296

228 211

Source: Sylos Labini (1985); ISTAT, Bollettino mensile di statistica, various years; author's calculations.


Social Stratification

composition, and behaviour over the last 30 years (see section 0.1 and chapter 12). The steady decline in number of household members affected economic inequality because of the increasing number of singles. The Gini's coefficient for singles (.337 in 1987) is higher than that for households with two or more members (.281; see Wolleb, 1991). Increases in the number of incomes (as the diffusion of people with two jobs shows [Gallino, 1985]) and of income earners (mainly because of the increasing activity rates of women) are further examples of strategies used by families to cope with their economic needs. While income inequality on the whole probably remained steady in the 1960s and the 1980s, dropping only in the 1970s, specific differences, such as those related to educational attainment, clearly diminished (see table 3). Income differences between rural and urban families also diminished (see table 4), but those related to regional cleavages continued, in spite of constant state efforts since the 1950s (see table 5). On the contrary, inequality in the distribution of family assets seems to have decreased constantly between job categories from 1969 to 1991 (see table 6). Residential property, which is the chief asset, is increasingly widespread among blue- and white-collar workers (see table 7).

Table 3 Individual income according to education, 1967-91

No education Literate Primary school Secondary school College University





39 51 89 128 163 337

35 46 87 120 177 253

54 60 89 102 124 165

55 84 99 124 168

Source: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino Statistico, various years.

Table 4 Family income in urban and rural areas, 1969, 1991 (index number for each year = 100) Areas Rural (< 5,000 inhabitants) Urban (> 200,000 inhabitants)

1969 59 100

Source: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino Statistico, various years.

1991 Rural (< 20,000 inhabitants) Urban (> 500,000 inhabitants)

80 100


6.3 Economic Inequality

Table 5 Family income in selected regions, 1969-91 (index number: Italy=100) 7969





Northeast Centre South

101 105 76

106 102 92












} Islands

Source: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino Statistico, various years.

Table 6 Net family assets according to occupation, 1969, 1983, 1991 (I.N. for each year=100) Entrepreneurs/ professionals



Agricultural workers

Industrial workers

Smalls farmers

416 284 246

336 229 139

113 97 94

34 46 54

46 51

127 199 171

1969 1983 1991


113 184

Source: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino statistico, various years.

Table 7 Homeownership according to occupation of the breadwinner, 1983-91 (%) 7983 Employer, professional Manager Clerk Agricultural worker

71.7 86.7 55.7 56.9

Industrial worker Small fanner

45.1 92.9

Artisan, shopkeeper Total

67.3 58.8





72.9 72.5 57.1

64.5 66.3 58.7

64.8 67.7 61.4













Source: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino Statistico, various years.


Social Stratification

REFERENCES Carniti, P. 1988 / salari in Italia negli anni ottanta. Rapporto della Commissione Carniti. Venice: Marsilio Editori. Gallino, L. (ed.) 1985 // lavoro e il suo doppio. Turin: Einaudi. Garonna, P. 1984 Nuove povertd e sviluppo economico. Padua: Cluep. Gorrieri, E. 1979 La giungla del bilanci familiari. Bologna: il Mulino. Moriani, C. 1988 "Redditi e consumi delle famiglie." In A.I.S.- ISTAT (ed.), Immagini della societa italiana. Rome: Poligrafico dello Stato. Paci, M. (ed.) 1993 Le dimensions della diseguaglianza. Rapporto della Fondazione Cespe sulla diseguaglianza sociale in Italia. Bologna: il Mulino. Rossi, N. (ed.) 1993 La crescita ineguale 1981-1992. Bologna: il Mulino. Wolleb, G, ed. 1991 La distribuzione dei redditi familiari in Europa. Bologna: il Mulino.

6.4 Social Inequality Increasing educational levels among all social strata indicate that "cultural capital" has become more widespread, but the traditional role of education in confirming social inequalities is still at work. The distribution of "social capital, " measured by marriage and friendship choices, shows that important mechanisms of social closure can counter the possible effects of the increasing social mobility discussed in section 6.2. The concept of social inequality is more complex than that of economic inequality, because of its multi-dimensional character. Available data give a dynamic picture of two important dimensions, which can be defined as cultural capital (educational opportunities and attainments) and social capital (access to different social milieus


6.4 Social Inequality

and ability to exert social closure strategies through marriage and friendship choices). The consequences of social inequality affect not only quality of life in general, but also health conditions and even death rates. As in other economically advanced countries, the last 30 years in Italy saw a widespread increase in educational attainment in terms of years spent at school, number of students, and differentiation of specialization. The effect of this on the equality of cultural levels has been questioned and major studies have stressed the mechanisms of confirmation of social inequalities played by the school system. However, since the beginning of the 1970s, the children of the petty bourgeoisie and of the working class could enrol for higher education more easily, when students coming from the vocational training schools were allowed to enter a massuniversity system and a general scholarship scheme was established. The number of university students multiplied by a factor of almost 7 from 1957 to 1992, and the number of those with senior-secondary-school certificates multiplied by a factor of 6 (see chapter 15). The overall upgrading of educational attainment did not mitigate the impact of social origin on access to higher levels of education (see table 1). However, it is possible to state that the increasing level of education is related to the increasing number of white-collars, and that differences in the proportion of graduates per sex and per region have shrunk considerably (see tables 2 and 3). Illiteracy, which had been a widespread social plague in southern regions, also diminished considerably, although large differences remained especially among the elderly.

Table 1 Educational opportunities, 1986 (odd ratios)

Origin Bourgeoisie White-collar Urban petty bourgeoisie Rural petty bourgeoisie Working class Agricultural working class Mean value

Primary school

Secondary school

High school


Mean value

-16.66 -11.11 -1.08 5.22 1.91 23.06 5.98

-3.33 -1.47 1.02 -1.22 1.77 3.05 1.79

3.39 2.98 1.00 -2.70 -1.12 -3.33 2.16

16.47 5.77 1.06 -1.56 -3.33 -20.00 4.68

7.46 4.09 1.04 2.28 1.88 8.27 3.22

Source: Cobalti, Antonio, 1990, "La mobilita sociale in Italia," // Progetto, 9, no. 50-51.


Social Stratification

Table 2 Population with degree according to sex, 1951-81

males females % females





340,783 81,541 19.3

458,451 144,754 24.0

610,216 272,972 30.9

913,213 564,092 38.2

Source: ISTAT, Census of the population.

Table 3 Proportion of illiterate persons per region, 1951-81 (%) Italy

1951 1961 1971 1981










Source: ISTAT, Census of the population.

Table 4 Relative death rate according to homeownership and educational level, 1971, 1981 (% difference rate between observed and expected cases for each group)

Homeowner Home rented University degree Senior secondary school Junior secondary school Primary school None General death rate



79 109 55 85 93 110 106 100

82 110 70 83 97 109 126 100

Source: G. Costa and A. Ponti, 1990, "La mortalita per classi sociali: differenze o diseguaglianze?" Polls, 4, no. 3.





1.4 0.5 0.4 0.7

24.0 21.0 12.9 9.6


6.4 Social Inequality

In modern culture, spouses and friends are freely chosen but limited within a sphere of physical and symbolic closeness formed by shared status, standards of living, patterns of behaviour, and tastes. The four upper classes mentioned above show different levels of social closure in marriage strategies and friendship choices (Schadee and Saviori 1993). As a general rule, marriage tends to join persons within the same occupational group, but homogamy is higher inside the entrepreneurial class, while more managers (the service class) marry whitecollars, probably because they share the same bureaucratic environment. Professionals and politicians are in an intermediate position. A higher degree of social closure is at work in friendship choices, in which the four higher classes show a pattern different from the others. In addition, managers show relatively more frequent relations with white-collars, politicians cultivate mainly political friendships, and entrepreneurs have more relations with professionals and the petty bourgeoisie. It is difficult to analyze the changes in these patterns, but it is clear that the recent increase in absolute social mobility cannot bring a more open society if it is accompanied by social closure strategies pursued especially by those who enjoy relatively more upward mobility, like the politicians. REFERENCES Braghin, P. 1973 Le diseguaglianze sociali. Analisi empirica della situazione di diseguaglianza in Italia. Milan: Sapere Edizioni. Cappello, F. S., Dei, M., and Rossi, M. 1982 L'immobilita sociale. Bologna: il Mulino. Costa, G., and Ponti, A. 1990 "La mortalita per class! sociali: differenze o diseguaglianze?" Polls, 4, no. 3. Paci, M. (ed.) 1993 Le dimensioni della diseguaglianza, Rapporto della Fondazione Cespe sulla diseguaglianza sociale in Italia. Bologna: il Mulino. Schadee, H.M.A., and Saviori, L. 1993 "II matrimonio e le frequentazioni sociali delle classi superiori", Palis, 1, no. 1. Zajczyk, F. 1988 "Abitazioni e famiglie", in A.I.S.- ISTAT (ed.), Immagini della societa italiana. Rome: Poligrafico dello Stato.

7 Social Relations

Traditional authoritarian relations in the family, at school, and in the work place, typical of a society that was mainly rural and characterized by extensive influence of the Catholic church, have given way to widespread liberalization of both formal and informal relations in the family, the work place, and the school. These changes in everyday social relations, both in personal encounters and in community behaviour, are typical of a modernization process featuring unmethodical urbanization and abandonment of the countryside, increased material well-being and corresponding expectations, upgrading of education levels and a corresponding weakening of attitudes of deference, increased pluralism in cultural and political opinion with institutional recognition of the opposition, and secularization with a corresponding tolerance for new patterns of sexual behaviour. This transformation was so rapid that it was perceived by traditional authorities as dangerous and by people as a radical emancipation. The ensuing intense period of social and political unrest brought not only very high levels of institutionalized conflict, but also illegal forms of resistance to authority and even organized crime and terrorism against managers in the factories and political leaders of parties represented in Parliament, many of them belonging to the constitutional opposition. By the end of the 1970s, the main consequences of this change were visible in family law and labour legislation as well as in a profound shift at many levels from authoritarian relations to bargaining and the official recognition of conflict at the institutional level. Modernization meant the introduction of tolerance and pluralism in many fields, especially private life, but it also brought new types of intolerance, such as ethnic prejudice, and increasing attention to health and safety measures, along with a new desire to impose measures to prevent environmental damage. In spite of new freedoms in many areas, or perhaps because of them, Italians feel more insecure and are turning to the traditional institution of the family. Most are demanding more authoritative political leaders, and priests are regaining esteem, especially among the young.


7.1 Conflict

7.1 Conflict The three traditional indicators of strikes (frequency, participation and volume) reached their apexes at different times from the end of the 1960s to the end of the 1970s. During this period, legal forms of collective conflict were often accompanied by illegal ones. The increasing relative importance of strikes in the service sector also gave rise to a different rationale in strike behaviours, whose effects are increasingly oriented directly against customers rather than employers. While collective forms of conflict diminished over the last fifteen years, individual disputes increased both in labour relations and in society at


Italy has long been characterized not only by institutionalized and legal forms of collective conflict, such as strikes, but also by illegal and disruptive ones such as terrorism. Moreover, strikes are one important expression of industrial unrest among many others, such sabotage, boycotts, production slowdowns, absenteeism (see section 5.1), and turnover, trends that are traditionally considered not to be independent of that of strikes (Knowles, 1952). Taking into account the limited statistics on strikes, we shall discuss the available trends on the three quantitative dimensions of this institutionalized form of conflict: frequency (number of events per year), participation rate, and intensity (number of work hours lost). We shall then discuss trends in individual forms of conflict, such as legal disputes in various fields of social relations. According to data, strikes in Italy share two main features with those in other industrialized countries. First, after the upsurge of industrial conflict during the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a constant decline in the number of strikes, the number of participants, and their length (see table 1). Second, the relative importance of strikes in the service sector increased (see table 2), particularly in the civil service. Partly as a consequence of these trends, there was a change in the rationale behind labour conflicts, in that customers and citizens at large increasingly became the direct target of stoppages. Thus, effectiveness was less dependent on the number of participants and on the length of the strike and became more a function of the inconveniences inflicted upon customers. The power to cause inconveniences in the service sector is independent of the traditional quantitative dimensions of frequency, volume, and intensity of industrial strikes (see table 1). Rather, it is related to the monopolistic position of the strikers in the supply of a


Social Relations

Table 1 Numbers of labour conflicts, participants, and work hours lost, 1960-93

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

Number of conflicts

Participants (000)

Hours lost (000)

2,41'I 3,502 3,652

2,338 2,698 2,910 3,694 3,245 2,310 1,887 2,243 4,862 7,507 3,722 3,891 4,405 6,133 7,824 10,717 6,974 6,434 4,347 10,521 7,428 3,567 7,490 4,625 3,540 4,843 3,607 4,273 2,712 4,452 1,634 2,952 3,178 4,372

46,289 79,127 181,732 91,158 104,709 55,943 115,788 68,548 73,918 302,597 146,212 103,590 136,480 163,935 136,267 181,381 131,711 78,767 49,032 164,914 75,214 42,802 114,889 82,626 31,786 26,815 39,506 32,240 23,206 31,053 36,269 20,895 19,510 23,798

4,145 3,841 3,191 2,387 2,658 3,377 3,788 4,162 5,598 4,765 3,769 5,174 3,568 2,667 3,259 2,465 1,979 2,224 2,176 1,741 4,625 1,759 1,341 1,469 1,149 1,769 1,297 1,094 791 903 1,034

Source: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche. 1926-1985, Rome, 1986; ISTAT, Bollettino Mensile di Statistica, various years.


7.1 Conflict

Table 2 Hours lost due to labour conflicts in industry and the service sector, 1960-93 (000)

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1992 1993

Hours lost in industry

Hours lost in services

29,498 42,840 126,723 62,772 62,413 26,583 87,782 28,619 49,831 232,881 84,803 49,747 89,220 120,702 93,576 78,678 78,796 46,658 26,288 106,430 53,103 17,485 83,731 56,735 18,283 16,979 13,985 16,980 9,476 11,214 10,924 13,447

4,536 20,196 25,637 17,828 28,208 20,977 21,180 29,729 16,559 49,717 58,081 35,844 37,352 37,286 32,976 77,974 40,279 25,249 21,696 49,979 16,923 22,129 26,197 23,287 11,529 7,062 22,578 13,183 10,022 18,359 7,106 8,824

Source: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche. 1926-1985, Rome, 1986; ISTAT, Bollettino Mensile di Statistica, various years.


Social Relations

given service. For this reason, modern labour conflicts are no longer easily monitored by the available time-series indices (Cella, 1992). The first half of the 1970s was the period of most frequent industrial unrest, although the years of highest intensity were 1969 and 1962, while the 1990s have been the calmest (see table 1). The highest participation rates were reached during the second half of the 1970s. This means that there was not a continuous decline in the number and intensity of strikes, according to the well-known thesis of the progressive integration of the working class into a kind of pluralistic industrialism in which radical forms of unrest are increasingly isolated and the trade-union representatives progressively adopt moderate positions (Kerr et al., 1960; Ross and Hartman, 1960). The high levels of industrial conflict at the beginning and end of the 1960s were related to a situation of full employment (see chapter 4), while the lowest rate, in the 1990s, was related to the economic recession and a slower rate of collective bargaining in the public sector due to the fiscal crisis (see chapter 0). In Italy, however, economic factors have not been considered sufficient to explain, in particular, the peak of activity in 1969, when more than 300 million work hours were lost in a brief period called "hot autumn." To explain this phenomenon, when the intensity of strikes was about 15 times that in 1993, a "cycle of agency" theory was developed (Pizzorno et al., 1978), in which high levels of conflict were interpreted as an indicator of the formation of a new collective identity and demand for official recognition of a modern unionism, which was denied by employers' associations. The indicators in table 1 not only depict a bell-shaped trend, but also a changing pattern in the form of conflicts. According to Shorter and Tilly (1974), less institutionalized industrial-relations systems are characterized by a smaller number of heavy strikes, usually limited to minorities, while frequent and short strikes are more typical of modern industrial systems. The data in table 1 do not confirm this classical hypothesis for Italy. Rather, it is possible to identify three periods (Bordogna, 1995). From the end of the 1960s to the mid-1970s, strikes were very frequent, widespread, and intense. From the second half of the 1970s to the beginning of the 1980s, strikes became even more widespread but less frequent and intense, due to the increasingly political character of conflicts, increasingly aimed at changing conditions with the central government in terms of social reforms, rather than at employers in terms of better labour relations. In fact, this was the period when neo-corporatist tendencies were fostered by governments of "national unity," after the murder of Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades and the declaration of official support for the coalition government by the Communist Party.


7.1 Conflict

In two specific years (1975 and 1979), more than ten million workers went on strike. In 1981, 1984, and 1985 political strikes comprised a significant proportion of the total (see table 3). In the second half of the 1980s, the data show not only a progressive decline in all three indicators, but also a third phase in which strikes became less frequent and shorter than ever before in the postwar period, but the participation rate remained moderately high because of increasing conflict in the service sector. Table 2 shows that an increasing proportion of strikes were in the service sector. In 1981, 1986, 1988 and 1989, the number of working days lost in this sector exceeded the number lost in industry. In the 1950s, the number of conflicts in the service sector accounted for only 19% of the total and 17% of hours lost, while in the second half of the 1980s the proportions rose to 46% and 53%, respectively (Bordogna, 1995), showing an increasing role of services in both the frequency and the intensity of strikes. Obviously, this increase was related to general occupational trends and to the spread of union rights and collective bargaining, especially into the civil service. Moreover, the fact that services are mostly supplied in monopoly conditions preserved this sector from the increasing competition that has taken place in industry since the 1980s due to the globalization of markets: while international competition has restrained union demands in industry, the same was not true in services, where legal limits to strikes were introduced only during the 1990s in order to protect customers' rights (Bordogna, 1995). The traditional indicators do not suffice to depict the rationale behind conflicts in the service sector, which, unlike industrial strikes, are politically more visible because they directly involve citizens. The strength of a strike no longer depends on number of participants and length of time, but on the structural position of strikers: the case of 21 employees at the Ministry of Treasury computing centre, who suspended payments to over 2 million pensioners in 1984, is dramatic evidence of this structural power (Pipan, 1989). Moreover, while in industry labour relations are traditionally bilateral (workers' unions versus employers' associations), in the services they are usually multilateral and the state is sometimes in an ambiguous position, being not only employer but also official mediator of the conflict and arbiter for correct application of the norms of conduct in strikes. This is especially true for Italy, where legal measures to control strikes are very recent and, according to many observers, still incomplete (Treu, 1987). All in all, while Italy experienced a decreasing trend in quantitative indicators of collective conflicts over the last 20 years, the available indicators of individual forms of conflict in labour relations have been increasing; there was an almost


Social Relations

Table 3 Number of days lost per year per kind of strike (1975-92) Reason for strike: economic

1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992*

22,673 16,464 9,846 6,126 20,614 9,402 5,350 14,361 10,328 3,973 1,380 4,593 2,518 2,136 2,625 4,534 1,447 563


1,118 5,740 4,649 2,776 3,475 4,998 3,861 1,881 1,924 3,642 1,972 346 1,512 765 1,257 0 1,165 1,635

* January-October. Source: Cesos, 1992-93.

constant increase in disputes related to labour contracts presented before the courts during the 1970s and the 1980s (see table 4): the numbers of this kind of dispute more than doubled from the mid-1970s to the beginning of the 1990s. A similar trend was at work in disputes concerning public security and assistance, although there was a decrease during the 1980s. There have been regular increases in the number of disputes presented before the regional administrative courts, evidence of worsening relations between government and citizens. On the other hand, the number of disputes over housing leases decreased in the 1960s, increased in the 1970s, reached a peak in 1984, then decreased again during the second half of the 1980s. Institutional and political factors, more than economic ones, explain this irregular trend, which has been affected by the recurrent introduction of legal measures in favour of evicted tenants.


7.1 Conflict

Table 4 Numbers of disputes presented before the courts in selected matters, 1960-92

Housing lease

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

88,274 86,607 76,664 72,780 70,253 65,818 55,370 57,740 58,740 53,382 47,185 42,638 47,232 51,521 46,310 52,306 65,613 71,499 91,780 80,051 96,933 115,268 140,060 99,864 107,86 132,276 96,714 82,692 91,239 95,803 76,554

Labour contract

Social security and public assistance

Regional administrative court

81,269 91,365 78,917 83,857 92,830 91,636 94,942 93,578 104,345 99,062 99,332 109,821 111,670 140,033 162,721 172,173 171,436 186,825 155,073

99,929 122,651 117,150 118,989 120,395 120,646 123,494 108,499 122,875 105,646 89,975 82,505 82,935 98,085 113,139 130,375 183,839 204,776 185,156

31,531 35,956 36,371 38,703 39,616 43,181 51,173 53,883 57,391 55,303 63,042 64,378 68,255 69,622 74,998 84,196

Sources: ISTAT, Compendia statistico italiano; ISTAT, Bollettino mensile di statistica.


Social Relations

REFERENCES Accornero, A., and Marcucci, F. 1987 "Ancora sul conflitto terziario" Politica ed Economia, no. 7-8. Baldissera, A. 1988 La svolta del quarantamila. Dai quadri Fiat ai Cobas. Milan: Comunita. Bonazzi, G. 1985 "Scioperi. alia ricerca del vulnus perduto." Politica ed Economia, no. 5. Bordogna, L. 1988 "Arcipelago Cobas: frammentazione della rappresentanza e conflitti di lavoro." In P. Corbetta and R. Leonardi (eds.), Politica in Italia: i fatti dell'anno e le interpretation. Bologna: II Mulino. 1993 "Conflittualita." In Cesos, Le relazioni sindacali in Italia. Rapporto 1992-93. Rome: Edizioni Lavoro. 1994 Pluralismo senza mercato. Rappresentanza e conflitto nel settore pubblico. Milan: F. Angeli. 1995 "Tendenze recenti del conflitto industriale. Implicazioni per 1'analisi e la regolazione." In A.M.Chiesi, I. Regalia, and M. Regini (eds.), Lavoro e relazioni industriali in Europa. Rome: Nuova Italia Scientifica. Brunetta, R., Cella, G., Treu, T., and Urbani, G. (eds.) 1992 // conflitto e le relazioni di lavoro negli anni '90. C.N.R. Progetto strategico Turin: Giappichelli. Cella, G. (ed.) 1979 // movimento degli scioperi nel XX secolo. Bologna: II Mulino. 1992 // conflitto. La trasformazione, la prevenzione, il controllo. Turin: Giappichelli. Cella, G., and Regini, M. (eds.) 1985 // conflitto industriale in Italia. Stato della ricerca e ipotesi sulle tendenze. Bologna: II Mulino. Cella, G., and Treu, T. 1989 Relazioni industriali. Bologna: II Mulino. Colasanti, G., and Perrone, L. (eds.) 1982 Scioperi e movimenti collettivi. Rome: Casa del libro. Franzosi, R. 1980 "Gli scioperi in Italia, analisi esplorativa dei dati." Rivista di Politica Economica, no. 12. 1983 "Gli studi sul conflitto industriale in Italia: spunti critici e proposte." Quaderni di Industria e Sindacato, no. 9.


7.2 Negotiation

1994 The Puzzle of Strikes: Class and State Strategies in Postwar Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kerr, C., Dunlop, J., Harbison, F.J., and Myers, C.A. 1960 Industrialism and Industrial Man. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Knowles, K.G. 1952 Strikes. A Study in Industrial Conflict. Oxford: Blackwell. Perrone, L. 1982 "An Analysis of Conflicts in the System of Economic Interdependencies." In G. Colasanti and L. Perrone (eds.), Scioperi e movimenti collettivi. Rome: Casa del libro. Pipan, T. 1989 Sciopero contro I'utente. Turin: Bollati Boringhieri. Pizzorno, A. (ed.) 1977 Conflitti in Europa. Milan: Etas Libri. Pizzorno, A., Reyneri, E., Regini, M., and Regalia, I. 1978 Lotte operate e sindacato: il ciclo 1968-1972 in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Ross, A.M., and Hartman, P.T. 1960 Changing Patterns of Industrial Conflict. New York: Wiley. Shorter, E. and Tilly, C. 1974 Strikes in France, 1830-1968. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Treu, T. (ed.) 1987 Le relazioni sindacali nel pubblico impiego. Rome: Edizioni lavoro. Venturini, A. 1983 "Le determinanti degli scioperi. un modello di contrattazione ed una verifica empirica. Francia, Italia e Gran Bretagna 1950-1980." Economia e Lavoro, no. 1.

7.2 Negotiation Collective bargaining became central to labour relations after the 1960s, due to the increasing representative power of trade unions. In the 1970s, central bargaining prevailed, often involving the government, through trilateral negotiation. The post-Fordist arrangements that were the outcome of a period of industrial restructuring and diminishing union influence during the 1980s emphasized both the role of decentralized negotiation at firm level and the practice of bargaining at individual level, especially among skilled workers.


Social Relations

Collective negotiation is a way of making decisions or establishing rules through bilateral bargaining involving worker and employer representatives. Individual forms of negotiation in the work place were less important and visible than were collective forms in postwar Italy, although a number of indicators suggest that individual negotiations increased among high skilled workers and professionals. Patterns of and trends in collective bargaining are strongly dependent on the extent and efficacy of the representation functions filled by the unions and the employers' associations (see chapter 9). Moreover, the importance of labour unions in bargaining activities after the 1960s was related to their increasing institutionalization (see chapter 10). This was fostered by the state, whose role as mediator and promoter of agreements expanded during the period of "national solidarity," when centre-left governments were backed by the Communist Party. Since then, the typical structure of centralized negotiation at the national level has been one of trilateral bargaining. Until the end of the 1970s, Italy's pattern of industrial relations was similar to that in other major European countries (Regalia, 1995): increasing formal recognition of unions by the state (in 1970 the Workers' Statute, which gave protection and a number of guarantees to union activities in the work place, was passed); increasing power of representation, based on booming membership rates (see section 9.1.); dominance of centralized bargaining activities at the national or sector level, with a secondary role played by negotiations at the factory level; strategic centrality of bargaining in manufacturing industry. Centralized bargaining activity based on distributive issues was in the interests of the three main actors (Streeck, 1992): the unions could pursue the egalitarian aims typical of leftist culture; large unionized firms could allow wage increases and keep managerial control over labour organization; the government found it easier to fight inflation with a strong and centralized union organization as a counterpart to peripheral claims. Although the Italian case is congruent with this pattern, it is worthwhile to stress the fact that the role of negotiation at firm level often played a relatively important role, because during the 1970s there were instances in which decentralized bargaining sometimes anticipated the issues of the centralized one. In the 1980s, this pattern was no longer suitable for confronting the needs for flexibility and technological differentiation of the economic structure. Working conditions had to be adjusted to unstable markets, workers' attitudes had to be more in line with firm's requirements, skilled workers had to be willing to be more directly involved in management of their firm, individual incentives and profitsharing mechanisms were introduced (Regini, 1991), and egalitarian ideology gave way to claims by small groups demanding the restoration of original privileges (Baldissera, 1988).


7.2 Negotiation

This change was followed not only by an increase in negotiations at the firm level and a fragmentation of bargaining in general, but also by an increase in individual negotiations, without union mediation, especially among skilled workers. In the 1990s, other devices were added to traditional collective bargaining, such as participatory management, employee ownership, and various forms of profit sharing, the introduction of which was often negotiated with the union representatives (Delia Rocca and Prosperetti, 1991). Although the emerging role of individual negotiation has been emphasized by some scholars (Boldizzoni et al., 1989) and minimized by others (Regalia, 1995), there is no question about the direction of the trend. Available data on collective bargaining (see table 1) show two main features. From the mid-1980s to the end of the decade, a high proportion of firms were involved with collective agreements; the peak was reached in 1985-86, with 40% of the sampled firms. The sectors with the highest proportion of agreements at the firm level are the graphics and chemistry industries, while the construction industry retained its traditionally low levels of negotiation. At the beginning of the 1990s the percentage was declining rapidly in all sectors, probably because of the economic crisis, but also because of the above-mentioned trend toward a larger role for individual negotiation. Besides the trend toward decentralization and individualization of bargaining (shown in table 2 for an industrialized region, Lombardy), the 1980s were characterized by a differentiation on specific issues and changes in their relative importance and frequency. The issues most frequently negotiated were related to union rights, work time, pay, and the labour market (see table 3), while work organization, vocational training, services for workers, and environment problems were Table 1 Proportion of negotiation cases at firm level, selected sectors (%) Sector: Mechanical

1984-85 1985-86 1986-87 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992








31.9 44.2 42.9 41.7 39.8 38.6 22.5 26.9

33.5 30.1 22.7 25.1 26.4 28.1 15.8 20.5

46.9 37.8 34.6 30.6 29.3 35.2 34.2 28.9

46.4 44.4 33.3 47.1 45.7 42.9 15.4 23.1

26.9 40.2 23.2 34.2 36.3 26.3 6.9 14.7

36.7 40.0 33.9 38.6 35.6 30.8 18.8 23.7

40.0 43.4 40.9 46.3 38.8 28.4 19.1 26.5

Source: Rapporto Cesos, several years.


Social Relations

Table 2 Opinion about the best way to improve one's working condition (%) Year




Participate in collective union action Ingratiate oneself to one's superiors Look for a better job Other

21.8 59.8 11.5 6.1

27.7 48.8 21.4 2.6

21.7 50.1 22.9 5.3

Sample size, 1987: 995; sample size, 1988 : 980; sample size, 1989, 1,000. Source: IRES, Opinion survey on employees in Lombardy (1990) Table 3 Selected issues in collective agreements at firm level, 1984—92 (%)

1984-85 1985-86 1986-87 1988 1989 1990 Industry 1991 1992 Services 1991 1992

Union rights


Work time

Hierarchical levels

64.9 61.3 59.6 74.6 70.4 57.8

27.4 26.6 21.5 37.9 29.8 20.9

73.1 64.7 54.7 59.1 58.1 51.6

36.3 31.6 21.7 35.4 35.5 13.9

59.7 67.2

20.0 20.9

53.6 54.2

71.0 81.2

51.6 70.0

54.8 53.3

Issues: Work organization


Labour market

Vocational training


23.4 32.3 30.6 33.7 22.3 23.0

66.0 67.7 49.8 76.5 75.1 44.2

56.9 57.2 60.3 51.0 45.5 46.0

22.2 17.2 19.2 26.9 27.2 17.0

30.7 31.8 18.0 44.9 35.1 16.5

22.9 17.5

30.0 31.1

50.7 48.6

38.6 48.0

17.9 14.7

15.0 17.5

48.4 55.0

67.7 48.3

87.1 83.3

35.5 45.0

32.3 61.7

51.6 55.0

Source: Rapporto Cesos, several years.

less frequently negotiated issues. Trends in industry show decreasing frequency of negotiation on work time, hierarchical levels, and labour market, while those on work organization remained stable and those on pay followed a curvilinear trend with a peak at the end of the 1980s. Table 3 gives some information on specific features of negotiations in the service sector compared with industry. The former shows that issues related to institutionalization of bargaining and recognition of collective representation are negotiated more often, as evidenced by the higher frequency of issues related to union rights, supply of services for the workers (such as transportation and canteens), pay, and work organization.


7.2 Negotiation

REFERENCES Baglioni, G. (ed.) 1989 Le relazioni industriali in Italia e in Europa negli anni '80. Rome: Edizioni Lavoro. Baglioni, G., and Milani, R. (eds.) 1990 La contrattazione collettiva nelle aziende industriali in Italia. Milan: F. Angeli. Baldissera, A. 1988 La svolta del quarantamila. Dai quadri Fiat ai Cobas. Milan: Comunita. Boldizzoni, D., Nacamulli, R., Preti, P., and Turati, C. 1989 Relazioni sindacali e iniziativa sindacale. Milan: F. Angeli. Bordogna, L. 1992 "Problemi delle relazioni sindacali nel settore pubblico. L'esperienza italiana in una prospettiva comparata." Stato e mercato, no. 36. 1994 Pluralismo senza mercato. Rappresentanza e conflitto nel settore pubblico. Milan: F. Angeli. Brunetta, R., Cella, G., Treu, T., and Urbani, G. (eds.) 1992 // conflitto e le relazioni di lavoro negli anni '90. C.N.R. Progetto strategico. Turin: Giappichelli. Cella, G. 1987 "Criteria of Regulation in Italian Industrial Relations: A Case of Weak Institutions." In P. Lange and M. Regini (eds.), State, Market, and Social Regulation in Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cella, G. (ed.) 1991 Nuovi attori nelle relazioni industriali. Milan: F. Angeli. Cella, G. and Treu, T. 1989 Relazioni industriali. Bologna: II Mulino. Chiesi, A.M. 1990 "I lavoratori dipendenti lombardi. Strategic di mercato e azione collettiva." Ires Papers, no. 27. Delia Rocca, G., and Prosperetti, L. (eds.) 1991 Salari e produttivita. Milan: F. Angeli. Martinelli, A., and Treu, T. 1985 "Italian Employers Associations." In J.P. Windmuller and A. Gladstone (eds.), Employers' Organizations and Industrial Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Negrelli, S. and Santi, E. 1990 "Industrial Relations in Italy." In G. Baglioni and C. Crouch (eds.), European Industrial Relations. The Challenge of Flexibility. London: Sage.


Social Relations

Regalia, I. 1995 "Rappresentanza del lavoro e contrattazione in Europa." In A.M. Chiesi, I. Regalia, and M. Regini (eds.), Lavoro e relazioni industriali in Europa. Rome: Nuova Italia Scientifica. Regalia, I., and Sartor, M.E. 1992 Le relazioni di lavoro nel terziario avanzato. Milan: Egea. Regini, M. 1991 Confini mobili. Bologna: II Mulino. Salerni, D. 1981 // sistema di relazioni industriali in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Streeck, W. 1992 "Le relazioni industriali nell'Europa che cambia." Industria e Sindacato, no. 1-2. Treu, T. (ed.) 1987 Le relazioni sindacali nelpubblico impiego. Rome: Edizioni Lavoro.

7.3 Norms of Conduct As in other industrial societies, secularization and globalization have recently changed norms of conduct in many fields of social relations in Italy. The introduction of divorce and legal abortion in the 1970s is evidence of these changes, although legal abortion is falling out of favour with young people. While Italian society seems more tolerant regarding certain issues than it was 30 years ago, there has been increasing intolerance of others, such as smoking and environmental problems in general. Traditional values, such as familism and clientelism, fostered widespread corruption, especially during the 1980s, and this produced widespread condemnation in the 1990s.

Structural changes affecting household composition and size, material well-being, urbanization (see chapter 0), and social mobility (see section 6.2) have modified social behaviours and moved the boundaries between what is considered socially correct and incorrect, decent and indecent. The shift from a mainly rural society to a urban post-industrial society that is culturally integrated by modern mass media brings with it the well-known processes of secularization and globalization. An over-simplified image of this change is represented by the opposition between two scenarios: the village community in which social control is exerted mainly through the informal sanction of gossip, and intolerance and bigotry are fed by the histori-


7.3 Norms of Conduct

cal lack of religious pluralism (see section 9.2); and the anonymous urban setting in which tolerance is an outcome of social indifference and social control is exerted impersonally by public authority and limited to illegal behaviour. Of course, the transformation is not so straightforward and the available data show a certain continuity in norms of conduct. Nevertheless, gathering solid evidence on what is changing and what is constant is problematic because of the lack of comparative research over time and because it is well known that attitude indicators do not necessarily coincide with actual behaviour. Be that as it may, there is important evidence of change in legislative production in the 1970s: voting behaviour in referendums concerning the introduction of divorce and of legal abortion in the 1970s is a strong indicator of the diversification of moral codes and increasing tolerance in family behaviours. Moreover, the 1975 legislation on family changed the traditional subordinate role of the wife in the family, abolishing dowries and introducing the principle of equal rights of husband and wife over property and administration of family assets. In the mid-1970s, people were very concerned about respect for labour contracts and collective agreements in the work place and more worried about social order (legal restriction of strikes and giving more power to the police) than about homosexuality, pornography, and satisfaction of sexual desires (see table 1). Nevertheless, homosexuality, abortion, and pornography were opposed by a majority of respondents, as were abortion and hunting, while the death penalty for the most serious crimes was accepted. Legislation passed in the 1970s in part sanctioned changes in norms of conduct that were already shared among urban dwellers, Table 1 Opinions about moral issues and behaviours, 1976 (%) Agree An honest employee should not be absent Strikes should be regulated by a severe law Police should be free to intervene strongly and decisively Homosexuals are not normal Hunting should be completely forbidden Abortion is the murder of an innocent human being Mafia has developed internationally through emigration Sexual desires should be freely satisfied Magazines featuring pictures of naked women should be tolerated Sample size: 1,500. Source: Calvi, 1977.

88.3 70.7 68.6 66.0 64.6 63.7 50.1 44.7 35.8


Social Relations

especially in northern regions, and fostered their further diffusion during the 1980s. Tolerance of sexual behaviour (see section 13.7) and recognition of women's rights increased, especially among the young. In the 1980s, young people were still concerned with respect for labour contracts and collective agreements, although the proportion holding this opinion dropped at the beginning of the 1990s (increasing tolerance towards work absenteeism) (see table 2). All in all, the available data show greater tolerance for certain issues, but also emerging intolerance for others. While attitudes toward divorce, homosexuality, and tax evasion became more flexible and tolerant among young people, legal abortion and drug addiction were condemned by an increasing number. In particular, opinions regarding legal abortion shifted from approval to disapproval (see table 2). The same is certainly true for smoking. According to a social survey conducted in 1986, 87.3% of Italian approve of forbidding smoking in public places (Calvi, 1987). Over the last 30 years, the proportion of women who smoke has increased, as has awareness of the harmful consequences of smoking, so that legal prohibitions have been progressively introduced that forbid smoking in an increasing number of circumstances and places. Since the 1950s, available interpretations of the behaviour of Italians by foreign sociologists have stressed a cultural specificity. Familism, first identified by Banfield (1958) in southern villages, has been considered a constant norm of conduct of Italians, both in the Mezzogiorno and in the more developed northern regions, both in rural settings in the 1950s and in the service economy of the 1980s (Tullio Altan, 1986). Available social-survey data from the mid-1970s

Table 2 Approval raiting for selected behaviours by young people, 1987, 1987, 1992 (%)

Divorce Legal abortion Getting drunk Homosexual intercourse Not paying for public transport Absenteeism in the work place without being sick Tax evasion Drug addiction




73.8 57.6 49.8 36.7 36.3 28.6 24.9 8.8

74.1 51.8 49.6 30.9 25.5 32.2 28.7 6.7

78.6 47.5 49.2 40.8 35.1 38.3 28.3 7.7

Sample size, 1983: 4,000; sample size, 1987: 2,000; sample size, 1992, 1,718. Source: IARD (1993).


7.3 Norms of Conduct

show that Italians tend systematically to subsume role expectations as citizens to family-role expectations, so that in the case of conflict between the two moral codes, most chose to behave in a particularistic frame rather than a universalistic one. However, there are significant regional differences in the diffusion of these patterns (see table 3). Clientelism and particularism in social and political behaviour, which were found by La Palombara (1967) to be a systematic mechanism of achieving consent by Christian Democratic Party leaders in the 1950s, have been a constant among political parties in postwar Italy, until widespread corruption came to light in the 1980s. The number of prosecuted cases rose significantly only in 1992 (see table 4). In fact, statistical data on corruption cases depict the emergence of this crime, due to successful prosecution activity, rather than its actual diffusion. In a social survey in 1985, pollution ranked third on the list of the main problems for a national sample of Italians, just after criminality and corruption, and before unemployment and public deficit (Calvi, 1987). Thereafter, ecological awareness increased and fostered more environmentally friendly behaviours. The public authorities conduct more inspections to prevent and punish crimes against the environment and special legislation was introduced, but offences and fines have been diminishing (see table 5).

Table 3 Opinions on familistic behaviours, 1976 (%)*

Family honour is more important than the rights and interests of its individual members It is always better to foster the career of a relative than that of an outsider If an outsider offends a family member family members must defend him, even with violence The unity of the family must be defended under all circumstances *Multiple responses possible. Sample size: 1,500. Source: Calvi, 1977.

Total sample

Northwestern regions

Southern regions














Social Relations

Table 4 Numbers of prosecutions of corruption cases, 1976-92 Year

Number of cases

1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

55 58 23 16 23 18 25 85 84 51 48 65 63 52 58 74 268

Source: Cazzola, 1994.

Table 5 Inspections, offences, and fines levied concerning ecological crimes, 1987-91 Inspections

1987 1988 1989 1990 1991

19,156 21,057 22,762 25,174 22,925

Offences 4,627 3,622 2,663 2,379 2,221

Source: Rapporto ISPES 1992.

REFERENCES Banfield, E. 1958 The Moral Basis of a Backward Economy. Glencoe, ILL: Free Press. Calvi, G. 1977 Valori e stili di vita degli italiani. Milan: Isedi.

Fines 5,649 3,390 2,945 3,585 2,544


7.4 Authority

Calvi, G. (ed.) 1987 Indagine sociale italiana. Rapporto 1986. Milan: F. Angeli. Cazzola, F. 1993 "Storia e anatomia della corruzione in Italia." // Progetto, no. 74. Cesareo, V. (ed.) 1990 La cultura dell'Italia contemporanea. Turin: Edizioni della Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli. ISPES

1992 Rapporto Italia '92. Rome: Coine Edizioni. La Palombara, J. 1967 Clientela e parentela. Studio sui gruppi di interesse in Italia. Milan: Comunita. Pizzorno, A. 1967 "Familismo amorale e marginalita storica, ovvero perche non c'e niente da fare a Montegrano?" Quaderni di Sociologia, no. 3. Tullio Altan, C. 1986 La nostra Italia. Milan: Feltrinelli.

7.4 Authority The 1970s saw an erosion of authoritarian social relations within traditional institutions such as the family, in both gender and child-parent relations, and the school and the workplace, where negotiation became widespread at different levels. In the 1980s, there seems to have been an increasing need for authority, especially by the young, and a recognition of the functions that efficient public institutions can play for the benefit of collective well-being. This was accompanied, however, by an increasing lack of faith in the honesty and competence of politicians. The traditional self-image of Italians depicts them as dependent on parents' and priests' authority, while the role played by public institutions is officially tolerated but not completely acknowledged, mainly in southern regions. This was especially true during the first 20 years after World War Two, but changes in culture and customs in the 1970s quickly reshaped common ideas about authority, recognition of authority, and the sphere of individual freedom toward independence and tolerance. According to civil law before 1975, the husband was the head of the family and his wife had to follow him to wherever he decided to establish the family home. In a


Social Relations

new family law introduced in 1975, authority was recognized in principle as pertaining to both husband and wife. In practice, husbands still enjoyed a dominant position, but wives acquired some freedom, especially because of their increasing educational level and improved working condition since the 1970s (see chapter 3). In the 1970s, most elderly people still shared the notions of submission to the older generation and wives' submission to husbands. Young people, on the other hand, were mainly in favour of sexual freedom and did not feel that wives should make unilateral sacrifices to comply with their husband's decisions (see table 1). Interestingly, women (27.6%) were less tolerant than were men (37.9%) about sexual freedom for women. Authority at school was also challenged after the student unrest of 1968, which involved both university and high-school students. From then on, conditions were favourable to traditional authoritarian behaviour being swept out of the classrooms. Although complete opinion trends do not exist, in the 1980s the young increasingly complained about teachers' inability to relate to them and their degree of professional competence, rather than their severity (Cavalli and de Lillo 1993) (see table 2). Table 1 Opinions about authority in the family according to age of respondent, 1976 (%)*

We must follow the advice and experience of the elderly Children should leave home to live alone before the age of 20 Women can have any kind of sexual experience they want, before marriage If needed, it is the wife's duty to make sacrifices in order to comply with her husband Sexual desires should be freely satisfied

















29.4 60.0

37.8 56.4

40.1 44.5

48.7 33.8

57.7 29.1

* Multiple responses possible. Source: Calvi, 1977.

Table 2 Opinion of young people about their relationship with teachers, 1983-92 (%) Year

1983 1987 1992 Source: Cavalli, de Lillo (1993).

Unsatisfied or not very satisfied

27.5 31.3 37.6

Teachers are too severe

12.3 9.8 6.5


7.4 Authority

In 1969, authority in industry and in the work place in general was questioned. One year later, the Workers' Statute was passed in Parliament (see section 7.2), recognizing a number of rights in the work place, both at the individual level and in terms of collective representation. In large firms, managerial prerogatives were restored only a decade later, after the traditional authoritarian style had been replaced by diffuse negotiation attitudes and practices. In general, Italian society was affected in the 1970s by the declining authority of traditional institutions such as the Catholic church, the judiciary, and the police, while trade unions and intellectuals gained increasing authority and influence. In the 1980s, confidence increased in specialists, experts, professionals, technology, and the creed of technological and scientific power. At the same time, social surveys on youth revealed evidence of an increasing need for authority and their search for it through mass-media models and images (Cavalli and de Lillo, 1993). Trust in priests has risen again (see table 3), while opinions regarding government and politicians have followed a long-run trend toward mistrust (see table 4). The young are more trusting than is the total population in this respect. Mistrust in political authority is accompanied by a desire for strong and efficient government and more resolute and vigorous leaders (see table 5), which indicates a desire not for dictatorship, but for social order. For this reason, trust in the police has been always high, as has favour for the death penalty for the most serious crimes (see table 6).

Table 3 Level of trust in selected institutions by young people, 1983-92 (% of high and medium satisfaction)

Police Priests Judges Government Politicians Source: Cavalli, de Lillo (1993).




69.5 43.5 52.7 25.8 17.4

71.4 50.1 51.3 38.4 20.7

68.7 51.4 45.4 20.2 12.4


Social Relations

Table 4 Opinion about honesty and competence of politicians, 1963-80 (%) Satisfied

33.6 21.7 3.3 3.0 3.5

1963 1967 1974 1976 1980 Source: Guidorossi (1984).

Table 5 Agreement with selected statements about different kinds of authority, 1976, 1986 (%) 7976 We need political leaders who are more resolute and vigorous Priests know human nature better than do others We shouldn't believe in advertising, which is often completely false In some circumstances a dictatorship is better than democracy


90.8 40.9 79.1 16.3

Sources: Calvi, 1977; Calvi, 1987.

Table 6 Opinion about the introduction of death penalty, 1949-82


1949 1953 1975 1976 1977 1978 1980 1981 1982 Source: Guidorossi (1984).

% of respondents who agree: Males Females

69.0 53.0 63.0 64.5 52.6




55.0 67.1 49.6


64.0 46.0 58.0 65.8 51.0 59.5 58.0 53.0 58.0


7.5 Public Opinion

REFERENCES Anfossi, A. 1967 "Funzioni della parrocchia e partecipazione dei parrocchiani alia vita religiosa in comuni agricoli della Sardegna." Quaderni di Sociologia, no. 2. Barbagli, M. 1984 Sotto lo stesso tetto. Mutamenti della famiglia in Italia dal XV al XX secolo. Bologna: II Mulino. Barbagli, M., and Dei, M. 1969 Le vestali della clase media. Bologna: II Mulino. Calvi, G. 1977 Valori e stili di vita degli italiani. Milan: Isedi. Calvi, G. (ed.) 1987 Indagine sociale italiana. Rapporto 1986. Milan: F. Angeli. Cavalli, A., and de Lillo, A. (eds.) 1993 Giovani anni 90. Bologna: II Mulino. Donati, P. 1978 "La crisi deH'autorita tra pubblico e private: il simbolo del padre nel capitalismo avanzato." Sociologia, no. 3. Guidorossi, G. 1984 Gli italiani e lapolitica. Milan: F. Angeli. Parsons, A. 1962 "Autorita patriarcale e autorita matriarcale nella famiglia napoletana." Quaderni di Sociologia, no. 4. Ricolfi, L., and Loredana, S. 1980 Senza padri ne maestri. Bari: De Donato. Various authors 1971 "Gli atteggiamenti verso la societa industriale: 1'emancipazione della donna e 1'autonomia dei giovanissimi in un campione milanese." Ricerche demoscopiche, nos 4-6.

7.5 Public Opinion There has been increasing recourse to elections, not only as a common feature of a mature democracy, but also as a consequence of unstable governments. Opinion polls and social surveys are increasingly used as a means of information


Social Relations gathering by the government, replacing in part traditional sources such as police reports, campaign rallies, demonstrations, and strikes.

The frequency of elections has been increasing since the 1950s. There are a couple of reasons for this: the introduction of the European Parliament and of regional governments during the 1970s, and the Italian tradition of unstable governments. The constitutional mechanism of referendum was first used in 1974, but since then recourse to referenda has been increasingly frequent. Voter turnout at different types of elections has been decreasing, although it remains high compared with that in other European countries (see table 1). The lowest rate of voter absenteeism is in political elections, where it grew from less than 10% in the 1980s to almost 20% during parliamentary elections in 1994. Absenteeism also doubled in European Parliament elections. On the other hand, voter turnout varied very widely for referenda, depending on the importance of the issues at stake and their political relevance. Table 1 Absenteeism rates at political elections and referendums, 1968-94 (%)


1968 1970 1972 1974 1975 1976 1978 1979 1980 1981 1983 1984 1985 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

National parliament

Local government

European Parliament


10.6 13.0 9.8

13.9 11.9 9.2

23.9 13.1

16.6 17.1 26.7

16.0 20.5 16.3

24.5 43.6

15.6 24.3 19.9

40.2 17.3


27.0 19.8

Source: Corbetta and Parisi (1994).



7.5 Public Opinion

Table 2 Proportions of nonvoters at Parliament elections by sex, 1953-94 (%) Year

1953 1958 1963 1968 1972 1976 1979 1983 1987 1992 1994



6.3 6.4 7.3 7.0 6.6 6.0 8.8 10.0 10.0 11.2 12.2

6.1 6.0 7.0 7.4 7.0 7.2 10.2 11.9 12.2 14.1 15.6

Source: Corbetta and Paris! (1994).

Trends in voter absenteeism have been different for men and women. In the 1950s and early 1960s, women turned out to vote more often than did men. This anomaly was explained by the role played by Catholic organizations in motivating women politically (Dogan, 1963). Secularization and the decreasing effectiveness of Catholic organizations in orienting voting behaviour have been considered explanatory factors for the increase of female voting absenteeism to a higher rate than that of men. In the 1980s, the sharp decrease in voter turnout at political elections was related to the crisis of the traditional mass party system. The progressive disruption of the organizational and propaganda structure of the parties weakened the relationship with the electorate. According to a recent study, the increase in proportion of nonvoters is due mainly to disinterest, but is also a kind of protest against the political class (Corbetta and Parisi, 1994). Electoral campaigns are increasingly influenced by the mass media, especially television (see section 13.2). The mass media are increasingly using opinion polls and surveys, in order to know the relevant changes in public opinion and to some extent to influence it through presentation of and comments on relevant results. Each election is preceded by an increasing number of surveys on voting intentions, and special attention is paid to the estimated proportion of those who are uncertain. In the 1980s, exit polls progressively replaced electoral forecasts.


Social Relations

Political leaders rely more and more on survey results about their popularity and mass consent, instead of using the traditional means of political communications like campaign rallies. The style of political communication has been heavily affected by use of the mass media and has become a kind of sophisticated entertainment in which the choreography and the presentation techniques are as important as the content of the political agenda (Livolsi and Volli, 1995). The public is increasingly exposed to the mass media in general, but television has taken over from radio as the primary source of information, in terms of both amount of time used and numbers of people (see table 3). On the contrary, newspapers' influence on public opinion has been constantly limited to a minority, in spite of the increasing level of education. Table 3 Selected statistics on use of various media Daily radio listeners (%)

1980 1983 1984 1985 1986 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

Daily newspaper readers (%)

Mean minutes of TV watching

Daily TV watchers (%)

49.5 56.3 97.4 54.7


51.5 52.5


129 166 158

42.5 44.3 43.4 42.7

Sources: Censis, various years.

REFERENCES Barbagli, M., and Macelli, A. 1985 La partecipazione politica a Bologna. Bologna: II Mulino. Caciagli, M., and Scaramozzino, P. 1983 // voto di chi non vota. Milan: Comunita. Caciagli, M. and Spreafico, A. (eds.) 1990 Vent'anni di elezioni in Italia 1968-1988. Padua: Liviana.

158 149 139 155



7.5 Public Opinion

Corbetta, P., and Parisi, A.M.L. 1987 "II calo della partecipazione elettorale: disaffezione dalle istituzioni o crisi dei riferimenti partitici?" Polls, no. 1. 1994 "Smobilitazione partitica e astensionismo elettorale." Polis, no. 3. Dogan, M. 1963 "le donne italiane tra cattolicesimo e marxismo." In A. Spreafico and J. La Palombara (eds.), Elezioni e comportamento politico in Italia. Milan: Comunita. Guidorossi, G. 1983 Gli italiani e la politica. Milan: F. Angeli. Livolsi, M., and Volli, U. (eds.) 1995 La communicazione politica traprima e seconda repubblica. Milan: F. Angeli.

8 State and Service Institutions

In the decades after the Second World War, the economic and social roles of the state expanded in all western European countries. This intervention had two basic aims: regulating fluctuations in the economic cycle and sustaining employment through an expansion in aggregate demand, and providing basic welfare services and meeting people's claims to social citizenship - that is, equal access to welfare. This expanded role of the state, which could be called the Keynes-Beveridge model, has been performed in different ways and to varying degrees in different nations, but it has been a widespread common feature. In the 1970s, however, the growth of state functions contributed to increasing government expenditures and state budget deficits, leading to a serious crisis in the very notion of a welfare state. The Italian welfare state was no exception. It started, in the late nineteenth century and in the period before the First World War, with social-insurance schemes for workers, and it grew slowly until the end of the Second World War; then it grew more rapidly, accelerating further in the 1970s. Between 1960 and 1990, Italy's social expenditures - those for health, education, social security, and social assistance - increased by more than 13% of the GNP, more than the average among the largest Western European countries. In the 35 years covered by our study, several changes contributed to the great increase in Italy's social budget. The most important were: - The school system grew as a result of the increase in compulsory education, the effect of the baby boom in the postwar decades, the shift from elite universities to mass universities, and rising expectations of educational attainment. - The health system also developed steadily, extending coverage first to autonomous workers, and then - after the 1978 law that established a national health system - to all citizens; in addition, costs for hospital care and equipment, doctors' fees, and pharmaceutical products rose and use of medications increased. - After the 1960s, the social-security system - formerly limited to employed workers - began to include the various categories of autonomous workers (farmers, artisans, retailers, independent professionals); the amount of money paid out in


8.1 Educational System

pensions rose; after the 1970s, there was an impressive increase in the number of people receiving disability pensions. - The recurrent threat of unemployment gave rise to various income-maintenance policies (Cassa integrazione guadagni), worker-training programmes, and programmes for young workers entering the labour market. The explosion in welfare provision was due to the joint effect of growing claims by organized social groups and the government policy of controlling social protest through public spending. As argued in the introduction, welfare has been one of the basic mechanisms of integration, control of tension and consensus formation in contemporary Italian society. It has also been identified as the major factor in the huge state budget deficit, even more than the mismanagement of state-controlled industrial and financial institutions. For many years, the entrepreneurial role of the state has been a distinctive feature of the Italian economy, extending from steel, energy, and chemicals to major banks (see chapter 0). State ownership and control of businesses was justified on various grounds: as a way to develop industries that required huge starting capital and provided slow returns on investments, as an anticyclical device, and as a way to foster the development and modernization of backward regions. As explained in the introduction, the state-controlled sector became a major source of political power for government parties, and managers of public firms were party-affiliated and dependent on the political elite for their careers. This led to mismanagement, resulting in an increasing burden on the government budget, which had to cover the losses. As a reaction to this state of affairs, major political parties have demanded a number of privatizations in recent years, but only a few have taken place to date. The basic consensus on extension of the welfare system has been questioned in recent years, and the public debate has focused on more effective ways to reduce the national deficit and redefine the role of the state, such as privatization of state-controlled firms, revitalization of the market, fostering the "third sector" (providing social services neither through the state nor through the maket, but through voluntary action) and transforming the welfare state into a "welfare society" (in which voluntary action by associations of concerned citizens provides social assistance to the needy).

8.1 Educational System Italy's education system is predominantly public. The transition from elite to mass education took place a few decades later than in most other Western


State and Service Institutions countries. In 1962, a compulsory and unified eight-year school curriculum was introduced; secondary schools continued to fall into three different types, largely along class lines. Numbers of both students and teachers grew; teachers' role, wages, working hours, and social prestige changed. Higher education expanded dramatically over the last 25 years in terms of students and graduates, but much less in terms of personnel, finance, infrastructure, and research facilities.

Italy's educational system underwent significant changes after 1960. Between 1960 and 1993, the student population grew from 8 million to 10.8 million. The number of teachers increased from 442,458 in 1960 to 986,149 in 1992. Total public expenditures on education and culture amounted to 5.7% of GDP in 1991 (see table 1). These increases are due to demographic changes (see chapter 0), pressure by families for more education, demand by the business class for more educated workers, and the willingness of government to include expansion of education among its main goals and to consider educational policy a basis of consensus, given the large number of teachers and their status as a special-interest group. Table 1 Public expenditures for education and culture (%ofGDP) Year

% of GDP

1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990

5.7 5.6 5.5 5.6 5.8 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.8 5.9 5.8 5.5



Source: Ministero del Bilancio e della Programmazione, Relazione g enerale sulla situazione economica del Paese, various years.


8.1 Educational System

In 1962, at the beginning of the period under consideration in our study, a law introduced a compulsory and unified eight-year school curriculum. Previously, the educational system had been unified only in the five years of elementary education, and then bifurcated in two segments, one for bourgeois students preparing for high school, the other preparing workers' and peasants' children for work. Thus the transition from elite education to mass education took place a few decades later in Italy than in other major Western countries. The proportion of people with no formal education is still higher than in most Western countries because of the numbers of older people who did not go to school. Although compulsory unified education was instituted for the first eight years of schooling, secondary education was never reformed in spite of a 30-year parliamentary debate. As a result, secondary education was still sharply divided between three different school types: five-year high schools (licei) providing a general education and university preparation; four- or five-year "technical" schools (istituti tecnici) with a curriculum combining general and work-oriented courses, preparing students for the lower professions, such as primary-school teacher, bookkeeper, and surveyor; and three- or four-year "professional" schools (istituti professional!) with a predominantly work-oriented curriculum. The Italian school system is not very efficient: it spends much on teachers' salaries (too low salaries for too many teachers) and little on other educational resources (new teaching technologies, professional training, educational welfare services such as food and lodging, transportation, health care, fellowships, etc.). Innovations in teaching and in school organization exist and are widespread, but they are not widely valued or diffused. There are many laws and regulations, but they are inadequately implemented. Education has seldom been a national priority, capable of arousing serious intellectual debates and the concerns of public opinion and the political class. The law was passed in spite of staunch opposition by the political right - not only because it was a longstanding aim of the newcomers into government, the Socialists, but because expanding education and greater educational opportunities were widely seen as requirements of modernization and economic growth. As a consequence of the compulsory-education law and the postwar baby boom, the school system had to face the very difficult tasks of teaching an increasing number of children for longer periods and adapting pedagogical methods and course content to a larger and more socially heterogeneous student body. These challenges were met through a major recruitment of new teachers. Increases in numbers of teachers tended to follow closely increases in numbers of


State and Service Institutions

students, but they were not reduced when the number of students dropped because of demographic changes (see table 2). As a consequence of these trends, the teacher-student ratio did not change significantly in the first half of the period under study, but it improved substantially in the second half. The ratio in elementary schools went from 22.1 pupils per teacher in 1960 to 20.7 in 1972, when the highest number of students was reached, then dropped to 13.0 in 1985. On the other hand, the ratio in high school slowed more constantly and moderately, from 11.2 in 1960 to 10.0 in 1985. The role of teachers also changed: wages, working hours, social prestige, and the image of the profession also changed in some important respects. Two national surveys on teachers' condition and attitudes made in 1967 and 1990 (Barbagli and Dei, 1969; Cavalli, 1992) showed that teachers were predominantly women, tended to earn less and work fewer hours a day than other professionals, and had a lower perceived social prestige, income, and work satisfaction. Significant differences existed among teachers. A typology made on the basis of 1990 national survey data (Martinelli, 1992) identified three different conceptions of the teacher's role (as a professional, as an employee, and as a socially oriented worker) and measured the gap between the desired role and the actual perceived role: whereas about four fifths of the teachers interviewed perceived their role either as that of a professional and an education specialist or as a fundamental social function, more than 55% of the secondary-school teachers and more than 40% of the elementaryschool teachers were convinced that their actual condition was that of an employee oppressed by a pervasive bureaucracy. Relations between teachers and students varied widely in different areas of the country and from one type of school to another, but on the whole, about 60% of the teachers in the above-mentioned national survey expressed uneasiness and various problems in their relations with students, and about 70% of the students said that their teachers did not understand them. Significant differences existed among educational systems in different regions of the country in terms of buildings, equipment, quality of education, and percentage of drop-outs, with poorest performances in several areas of the Mezzogiorno. Over the past 25 years, higher education expanded dramatically in terms of students enrolled, and much less in terms of institutions, research facilities, personnel, and financing. Between the early 1960s and the early 1990s, the number of students enrolled more than quadrupled and the number of graduates increased accordingly, with a much higher increase for women (by a factor of seven). The rate


8.1 Educational System

Table 2 Numbers of students and teachers, 1960-93 Kindergarten: Students Teachers (000)

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

1,154 1,195 1,233 1,268 1,305 1,335 1,365 1,409 1,435 ,560 ,587 ,620 ,686 ,735 ,768 ,823 ,866 ,894 1,917 1,902 1,870 ,805 ,757 ,696 ,639 ,633 1,621 1,587 1,575 1,565 1,553 1,539 1,585 1,578

31,441 32,977 34,068 35,419 36,749 39,820 42,512 43,939 46,158 51,409 53,935 59,985 65,558 69,472 73,364 78,165 80,757 85,811 103,275 108,451 113,972 114,050 113,053 112,935 112,822 111,590 109,578

107,049 116,589 117,273 118,943

Elementary: Students Teachers (000)

4,418 4,421 4,391 4,420 4,469 4,520 4,556 4,620 4,674 4,750 4,857 4,926 4,974 4,970 4,934 4,835 4,735 4,649 4,562 4,507 4,423 4,333 4,204 4,063 3,909 3,716 3,531 3,371 3,229 3,139 3,056 2,985 2,939 2,863

199,907 201,286 204,633 205,126 206,230 207,151 209,830 213,005 216,000 219,535 224,458 230,348 239,762 250,110 254,324 255,575 271,307 271,747 269,279 275,199 273,744 279,082 276,716 281,311 276,553 273,800 267,065 277,670 270,539 282,198 283,762

Secondary: Students Teachers (000)

1,414 1,539 1,594 1,685 1,732 1,795 1,821 1,891 1,982 2,064 2,168 2,287 2,422 2,530 2,629 2,779 2,870 2,939 2,923 2,900 2,885 2,856 2,850 2,816 2,798 2,765 2,714 2,619 2,506 2,395 2,266 2,151 2,057 1,997

117,962 133,005 139,397 143,719 147,172 150,911 156,178 162,112 168,127 178,303 197,553 208,666 225,920 235,429 238,074 249,767 247,675 256,978 261,944 270,829 275,003 279,987 282,006 282,135 282,268 282,100 294,602 293,135 280,579 270,922 264,473 259,244 249,604

High school: Students Teachers (000)

762 838 927 1,030 1,155 1,259 1,372 1,434 1,501 1,569 1,656 1,732 1,820 1,916 1,991 2,097 2,198 2,270 2,347 2,397 2,423 2,444 2,470 2,509 2,547 2,608 2,659 2,719 2,779 2,853 2,861 2,865 2,821 2,779

67,551 75,668 78,679 82,432 90,718 97,596 104,503 109,113 113,935 124,039 134,786 144,946 158,613 167,002 173,129 183,090 215,477 224,720 231,569 239,930 244,125 247,315 250,258 251,842 255,143 261,300

310,796 318,733 326,620 324,200

Sources: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche, 1926-1985, Rome; ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, various years; ISTAT, Statistiche della scuola matema ed elementare, Annuario n.5, 1995; ISTAT, Statistiche delta scuola media inferiore, various years; ISTAT, Satistiche delle scuole secondarie superiori, various years.


State and Service Institutions

of increase was particularly high until the mid-1970s and then slowed down. In 1994-95, enrolment dropped for the first time, by 5.2%. The proportion of students aged 20-24 years enrolled in the higher-education system rose, but it was still lower than the average in OECD countries. Enrolment data tend, however, to overestimate the Italian student population, since there are a large number of drop-outs and first-year "phantom students" who do not take exams or attend classes, for a variety of reasons ranging from postponing military service to increasing their chances of finding a better job. In 1993-94, the total number of students enrolled was 1,575,358 (802,061 of them women), of whom 353,739 (182,742 women) were first-year students. There were 481,508 (233,720 women) "late" students (students who did not complete their studies in the standard period of time required to obtain a degree). There were 92,539 degrees granted in 1993 (47,971 to women). The increase in numbers of students was due to a combination of factors: demographic changes (the turning point in the birth rate was around 1970 and the effect of the demographic decline on university enrolments recently started to be perceived); a growing and varying demand for an educated labour force in different work areas, according to different degrees and patterns of economic growth and social transformation; rising expectations of upward social mobility and changing perceptions of the opportunities for educated labour by young people and their families; increasing participation of women in the labour market as part of a more general process of more freedom for women; and the passage of laws, such as the 1969 Codignola Law, which liberalized access to higher education, and the later law on medicine, which introduced a selective admission policy. As mentioned above, the number of institutions and the amount of human financial resources did not grow in parallel. This caused overcrowding of universities in the largest cities, especially Rome, Milan, and Naples. Students were very unevenly distributed among the various institutions and among various subject areas, partly because admission policies differed significantly. (It is one of the peculiarities of Italian higher education that in a centralized system there is no central planning and control of the flow of students.) The crowding was more serious in Rome, where 182,040 students were concentrated in one institution in the academic year 1993-94 (plus a few thousand in three smaller ones), than in Milan, where a more articulated and diversified system of higher education with five academic institutions exists (92,952 at Universita degli studi, 47,793 at Politecnico, 27,237 at Cattolica, 11,123 at Bocconi, and 4,220 at lulm).


8.1 Educational System

The Italian higher-education system is predominantly public. In 1994, there were 48 public universities and 20 private ones. Public and private universities do not differ significantly in terms of quality of teaching and research. Nevertheless, there is a definite hierarchy of prestige, with the universities, both private and public, of major cities such as Milan and Rome, the oldest medieval universities of Bologna, Pavia, and Padua, and a few first-class campuses, such as Pisa's, at the top. Admission policy is governed by national legislation. According to the Codignola law, the only requirement is a secondary-school diploma. Since tuitions are generally low, access is easy. This does not mean, however, that graduation is easy. In 1994, only about 37% of the students enrolled graduated, in spite of the fact that there were no requirements for completing courses in a fixed period of time, so that there were one and a half times as many late students as first-year students. The proportion of students from lower-class families in the second year and beyond is lower than that among first-year students, and the gap is even larger if we consider senior students who perform very well academically. There are high proportions of drop-outs in pre-university education as well, although there is a downward trend. The proportion of youngsters finishing the eight years of compulsory education was 95.7% in 1994; 87.5% entered some kind of high school; 55.2% obtained a high-school diploma; 43.0% enrolled in some institution of higher education; about 11.0% got a degree. In recent years, a growing number of institutions introduced selective admission policies. The first were private universities, like Bocconi University and Catholic University in Milan, which set the number of first-year students to be accepted through an entrance exam and set tuitions according to the student's family income. At the beginning of the 1990s, the proportion of the total budget covered by students' fees in state universities ranged from 2% to 38%. Then, faculties of dentistry, medicine, and veterinary medicine introduced numero chiuso (number quotas) for first-year students through a legislative device: a law was passed that required a set number of classroom, laboratory, and training hours for future graduates. On the basis of these requirements and given the size of the teaching staff and of teaching facilities, the maximum number to be accepted was calculated. Other faculties, such as engineering, computer sciences, and architecture, in large universities such as the State University and the Polytechnic of Milan, introduced aptitude tests and tried to lower expectations through counseling. The general trend is toward introduction of admission policies of some kind, but the process is slow because of fears of student protests. Progressive


State and Service Institutions

integration of the higher-education systems of the European Community countries will favour this process, since completely open access is an Italian peculiarity that could block mutual recognition of degrees with other European universities. Until the end of the 1970s, Italian higher education granted one type of academic degree, the laurea, that was an official requirement for access to the civil service and for taking the exams that regulate admission to professions such as medicine, law, engineering, architecture, accounting, and so on. In 1980, a law was passed that introduced three other degree levels: the two- or three-year diploma universitario, the post-laurea degree granted by scuole di specializzazione (master's degree) and the dottorato di ricerca (Ph.D.) The dramatic increase in student population (see section 15.1) was accompanied by a much smaller increase in teaching staff. After a significant increase between 1960-61 and 1970-71, there was a decrease in the following decade, followed by an increase in the 1980s that brought teaching staff only slightly above the level of 1970-71. If we disaggregate these data per qualification, we find that although the numbers did not change, a major qualitative change took place in the composition of teaching staffs between 1970 and 1987 that can be defined as a process of consolidation and institutionalization. In 1970-71, there were only 3,472 full professors, while the number of non-tenured teachers of various kinds was more than double that number; in 1993-94 the number of full professors had more than tripled to 12,109 (plus 743 fuori ruolo - tenured professors in the last five years before retirement) and the total number of full and associate professors (17,754 plus 1,004 incaricati - non-tenured associate professors) accounted for more than half of all teaching staff. There were 16,303 tenured assistant professors (ricercatori), 1,706 former tenured assistant professors (assistenti), 1,433 nontenured teachers of foreign languages (lettori), and 5,560 contract professors, for a total teaching staff of 56,264. The price of this consolidation, however, was paid by the new generation of teachers, who found a reduced number of new academic positions, as is shown by the decrease in number of faculty members in the 1970s. Finally, with the partial exception of some professional schools, the educational system is too separated from the labour market and world of work; there is little orientation and counseling for young people who are starting work.


8.1 Educational System

Table 3 Numbers of students and teachers in private and public elementary schools, 1960-93 Public: Students (000)

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

4,025 4,035 4,011 4,042 4,091 4,142 4,186 4,259 4,319 4,397 4,501 4,572 4,619 4,618 4,585 4,504 4,412 4,318 4,225 4,171 4,085 4,002 3,878 3,752 3,607 3,428 3,247 3,107 2,984 2,890 2,810 2,742 2,703 2,632

Teachers 181,331 183,335 186,953 188,847 190,003 190,745 194,047 197,917 201,311 205,114 210,141 216,153 225,805 236,519 240,985 242,866 258,842 258,777 256,039 262,145 260,502 265,859 263,346 268,276 273,373 273,432

Private: Students (000)

393 386 380 378 378 378 370 361 354 353 356 354 355 352 342 331 323 331 337 336 338 331 326 311 302 288

Teachers 18,576 17,951 17,680 16,279 16,227 16,406 15,783 15,088 14,689 14,421 14,317 14,195 13,957 13,591 13,339 12,709 12,465 12,970 13,240 13,054 13,242 13,223 13,370 13,035 12,709 12,700

264 248 250 244 231

Source: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche, 1926-1985, Rome; ISTAT, Statistiche delta scuola materna ed elementare, Annuario no. 5, 1995.


State and Service Institutions

Table 4 Numbers of students and teachers in private and public secondary schools, 1960-93 Public: Students (000)

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

Private: Students (000)


1,257 1,389 1,451 1,553 1,611 1,682 1,711 1,784 1,877 1,961 1,156 2,186 2,319 2,426 2,523 2,669 2,755 2,813 2,795 2,771 2,755 2,723 2,721 2,686 2,669 2,640

102,475 118,045 126,264 131,130 134,569 139,632 145,096 151,627 157,787 167,885 187,154 198,593 215,781 224,958 228,211 239,264 237,295 245,553 250,150 258,534 262,460 267,357 269,808 269,551 269,281 269,520

157 150 143 132 121 113 110 107 105 103 102 101 103 104 106 110 115 126 128 129 130 133 129 130 129 125

2,500 2,390 2,288 2,170 2,055 1,963 1,910

282,357 280,784


252,655 247,579 238,402

108 105 97 89 87

15,487 14,960 13,133 12,589 12,603 11,279 11,082 10,485 10,340 10,418 10,399 10,073 10,139 10,471 9,863 10,503 10,380 11,425 11,794 12,295 12,543 12,630 12,198 12,584 12,987 12,580 11,423 11,320 11,235 10,952 10,846 10,437


1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

Source: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche, 1926-1985, Rome; ISTAT, Statistiche delta scuola media inferiore, various years.


8.1 Educational System

Table 5 Universities, university students, and teachers, 1960-93

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993




Female students (%)

Fuori corso students *



29 29 29 32 32 35 36 36 37 41 42 43 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 44 45 45 45 46 47 47 47 47 49 49 49 52 52 51

206 207 207 208 216 221 227 231 253 256 271 277 281 288 288 288 288 288 288 291 295 295 302 309 314 314 318 326 335 345 345 347 348 372

268,181 287,975 312,344 334,681 360,407 404,938 456,476 500,215 549,783 616,898 681,731 759,872 802,603 840,497 886,894 935,705 981,348 996,162 ,032,559 ,035,876 ,047,874 ,024,681 ,022,282 ,054,768 1,106,167 1,113,159 1,085,900 1,153,295 1,222,665 1,291,991 1,381,361 1,474,719 1,564,569 1,628,715

28 29 30 32 34 36 37 38 38 39 38 38 39 39 40 40 40 41 43 44 44 45 45 46 47 46 47 48 48 49 49 50 51 51

76,391 82,010 86,548 94,447 101,069 107,155 117,960 130,139 134,134 128,546 121,126 128,722 144,987 165,321 178,137 199,492 219,280 233,337 254,791 268,157 283,831 300,142 304,914 309,798 339,924 350,000 302,265 349,821 376,276 394,103 420,634 455,481 490,239 493,169

21,864 23,019 23,976 26,114 27,927 29,054 31,243 40,194 48,793 47,520 56,895 60,651 64,570 62,944 66,200 71,157 72,076 76,015 77,160 76,061 74,118 74,012 74,458 74,096 73,194 72,148 78,810 77,569 81,266 87,714 89,481 90,669 96,153 98,961

25,597 27,578 27,156 28,561 29,547 33,092 36,519 36,606 40,888 35,124 36,116 35,823 37,383 38,619 38,889 41,824 43,277 43,120 42,769 43,220 43,270 47,636 47,844 49,015 50,154 50,593


* Students who take more time than the minimum required in order to obtain a degree. Sources: Sommario di statistiche storiche, 1926-1985, Rome; ISTAT, Statistiche dell'istruzione universitaria, Collana d'lnformazione, various years.


State and Service Institutions

REFERENCES Barbagli, M., and Dei, M. 1969 Le vestali delta classe media. Bologna: II Mulino. Bottani, N. 1994 Professoressa addio. Bologna: II Mulino. Catalano, G. 1995 "New policies of Financing University Education." Paper presented at the Seventh Annual eaie (European Association for International Education) Conference, Milan, 28 Oct., Bocconi University. Cavalli, A (ed.) 1992 Insegnare oggi. Bologna: II Mulino. Cobalti, A., and Schizzerotto, A. 1994 La mobilita sociale in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. De Mauro, T., ed. 1995 Idee per il governo della scuola. Bari: Laterza. Martinelli, A. 1992 "The Italian System of Higher Education." In B. Clark (ed.)., Encyclopedia of Higher Education, vol. 1. Oxford: Elsevier, Science. 1992 "L'immagine della professione", in A. Cavalli (ed.), In segnare oggi. Bologna: II Mulino.

8.2 Health System The Italian health system expanded over the last 35 years. Numbers of health facilities, doctors, and health workers multiplied, while hospital care, doctors' fees, and pharmaceutical products became more expensive. The system was financed largely through health-insurance plans, with different amounts paid by workers in different employment categories. In 1978, a national health system was instituted. Public expenditures account for almost 80% of total health expenditures. Italy has the highest percentage of doctors among oecd countries, but significant regional differences exist. In light of the three major types of health system - the market model (as exemplified by the United States), the social insurance model (as exemplified by Germany), and the national health model (as exemplified by Britain before the reforms


8.2 Health System

implemented by the Thatcher government) - we may characterize the Italian system as a mixed one, at first predominantly based on a wide and complicated array of compulsory workers' insurance plans (mutue); after 1978, when the law instituting a national health system was passed, predominantly oriented toward universal coverage. As a result, the health system expanded in terms of facilities, doctors, and other health workers, and its costs rose in terms of hospital care and equipment, doctors' fees, and consumption of increasingly expensive pharmaceutical products. A specific feature of Italian health care is that it is largely financed through health-insurance plans managed by different insurance agencies with quite varying amounts of money paid for different types of workers, rather than through income taxes. These insurance agencies provide about 60% of the total resources. Postfascist Italy actually inherited from the previous regime a system of compulsory health workers' insurance in 1943, and greatly extended its coverage within the various categories of employed workers. In the late 1930s, compulsory health insurance covered only 46% of industrial workers, 24% of agricultural workers, and 17% of people employed in the trade sector. In the postwar decades, the coverage of the largest mutua (the insurance plan provided by the National Health Insurance Institute, INAM) grew from 13 million people in 1946 to almost 31 million, over 60% of the Italian population, in 1975. Health coverage extended to various categories of autonomous workers as well, such as farmers, artisans, retailers, independent professionals. The amount of money paid per worker varied significantly among employment categories: it was higher for employed than for autonomous workers; among employed workers on average higher in industry than in the retail trade and banks, and lowest among people active in agriculture; and within the industrial sector it was higher for blue-collar than for white-collar workers. Between the end of the war and the institution of the national health system in the late 1970s, the contributions paid by different types of workers were raised (on average from 4.5% to about 10% of the wage), but to different degrees: from 5% to 12.1% for blue-collar workers in industry, from 3% to 9% for those employed in the banking system. These differences in contributions were partly compensated for by a greater use of hospital facilities by blue-collar workers compared to white-collar workers and managers; but, on the whole, since services were equal for all while contributions were different, some social groups paid more than they received while others did the reverse. In 1978, to compensate for this unequal treatment and, mostly, to implement the constitutional principle of health as a collective good with the related principle of citizens' right to health care, a law was passed instituting a national health service


State and Service Institutions

with coverage for all citizens. The law called for a general reorganization and rationalization of health services, greater responsibility for regional and local governments, a policy of prevention and health education, a greater consideration for professional autonomy in work organization and for professional competence in the wage scale, and a reduction of regional inequalities in the provision of health services. The organizational base of the system was the local health unit (unita sanitaria locale), the new institutional device for financing and managing health services in place of the previous vast and confused health-insurance network. Local health units were intended to assure greater organizational co-ordination and responsiveness to local demands for health services. The ambitious goals of the law ran against the increasing state budget deficit and were hampered by the inherent contradictions between centralized financial control and decentralized operations and by increasing conflicts of interests on health policy among the main social and political actors - national and local bureaucrats, public and private health institutions, actual and potential patients, taxpayers, doctors and other health workers, pharmaceutical and health-industry firms. The result was that the process of approval of the national health plan was long, painful and confused, while health costs continued to rise. In 1992, a new law was passed to reorganize local health units, which became legally autonomous regional agencies with their own budget and management accountable both for the effectiveness and quality of the services provided and for economic results and organizational efficiency. Administrative boards, generally controlled by political parties, were eliminated. Various indicators of workloads per type of therapy and performance-evaluation measures were introduced as criteria for determining the financial contributions to different types of health services. Wage incentives related to productivity for health workers were introduced. As mentioned above, about 60% of the total financing of health care comes from compulsory insurance schemes; less than 5% of the total price of drugs and health services comes from families' partial payments; and the rest is provided by public funds as anticipation on future insurance contributions to cover the huge indebtedness of local health units. While state expenditure for health constantly increased as a proportion of the GNP, from 3.3% in 1960 to 5.6% in 1980 and to 6.3% in 1990, it diminished as a proportion of total expenditure on health from 81.1% to 77.8% over the same period. This reduction was the result of government policies aiming at controlling costs through the introduction of "coupons" for drugs and medical care. Public expenditures on health are on average equal to those of other OECD countries: they


8.2 Health System

are higher than in France (74.4%) and Germany (71.6%), but lower than in the United Kingdom (83.5%) and Spain (80.5%). In 1992, about three fifths of state expenditure for health went to hospital care and prevention (see table 1). Currently, the national health service directly provides most health care through public institutions: 65% of all hospitals (with 83% of total hospital beds), almost all consultori familiari (medical centres for couple counselling), 72% of comunita terapeutiche and residenze protette (residential communities where mental-health patients can live and work freely with the assistance of doctors and nurses), and 91% of socialhealth centres (presidi socio-sanitari) are public. In 1992, The remaining 40% of total state expenditures for health went to general practitioners (13%) - who mostly work in their private offices, but also in public clinics - private clinics (7.4%), drug provision (about 15%), and to other types of care, mostly thermal cures (5%) - the only item that shows a major increase in recent years. Italy has the highest proportion of doctors per total population of all OECD countries: 5.22 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants. The number of medical students ros constantly until the mid-1980s, when the law limiting access was passed. After that, the number of medical students dropped rapidly; their proportion among total students enrolled fell from almost 12% in 1985-86 to 4.7% in 1991-92, and their Table 1 State expenditures for health care and services, 1980-92 (%)

Administrative services Health services - prevention and public health - nursing assistance - other assistance Total collective services Social benefits - drugs - general practitioners - specialists - private clinics - prostheses and thermal treatments - other Total health care and services Total (billion lire)





7.7 54.6 4.3 46.6 3.7 62.3

6.7 53.4 4.4 45.3 3.7 60.0

6.4 51.6 4.4 43.6 3.7 58.1

6.5 53.8 4.6 45.4 3.8 60.3

37.7 14.2 6.3 8.2 6.9 1.6 .4 100.0 18,480

40.0 16.7 6.8 6.7 7.4 1.9 .4 100.0 41,536

41.9 16.4 6.6 8.1 7.3 3.0 .5 100.0 79,011

39.7 14.3 5.9 7.1 7.4 4.2 .8 100.0 91,647

Source: Ginsberg (1994) ISTAT, national accountancy data.


State and Service Institutions

Table 2 Number of beds in hospitals per 1,000 inhabitants, 1960-90

1960 1970 1980 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990

8.9 10.5 9.7 8.4 8.2 7.9 7.7 7.4 7.0 7.2

Source: ISTAT, 1993.

Table 3 Number of inhabitants per doctor, 1961-79

1961 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979

800 539 522 502 495 451 428 407 376 346

Source: ISTAT, Statistiche sociali, Rome, 1981.

proportion among first-year students fell from 5.3% to 2.7%; but there were still too many. The number of doctors and other health workers rose constantly from 1960 to the early 1990s, but it now shows a reverse trend. The number of hospitals and mean days of hospital stay, on the other hand, declined constantly from 1960 to the 1990s, and the number of hospital beds did so from 1980 onward (see table 4). The numbers of hospital admissions rose until the mid-1980s and then dropped in the public hospitals, while remaining about constant in the private ones. On the other hand, the average length of hospital stay fell by almost half between 1970 and 1990 in public institutions (from 19.2 to 10.7 days), while remaining about the same in private health clinics (Geddes, 1994).


8.2 Health System

Table 4 Numbers of hospitals, beds, doctors, and nurses, and mean days of hospital stay, 1960-92 Year





Mean days of stay

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

2,507 2,518 2,532 2,563 2,553 2,518 2,484 2,451 2,414 2,390 2,318 2,253 2,189 2,144 2,073 1,976 1,931 1,893 1,864 1,832 1,837 1,826 1,824 ,813 ,804 ,798 ,752 ,760 ,756 ,681 ,900 ,886 ,926

450,539 459,950 472,314 485,336 493,563 503,110 515,607 528,276 542,834 560,336 568,459 572,304 575,162 576,744 583,646 588,103 582,003 573,923 562,329 554,595 542,260 529,221 515,407 500,828 481,413 470,579 450,377 440,187 424,417 399,700 410,026 385,691 389,457

27,034 28,602 30,082 31,308 32,840 34,301 35,730 36,980 38,281 40,507 43,414 45,325 49,085 52,314 56,170 56,912 58,326 61,738 65,421 68,951 74,230 77,805 80,454 81,445 82,803 83,961

54,939 57,866 61,322 65,833 69,132 73,130 77,131 83,641 90,423 100,310 114,608 131,670 143,722 158,004 173,469 191,743 202,276 208,331 218,571 227,050 234,831 238,150 241,703 237,409 239,262 241,841

86,902 89,620 87,211 97,776 109,721 93,845

249,725 255,110 249,704 264,414 264,230 231,639

27 26 25 24 23 22 21 21 20 19 19 19 18 18 17 16 16 15 15 14 14 13 13 13 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 11

Sources: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche, 1926-1985; ISTAT, Compendia statistico italiano, various years.

The reduction in the length of hospital stay is common to many developed countries and shows an effort to improve the cost-effectiveness ratio in health care: according to OECD data, between 1970 and 1990 it dropped from 25.7 days to 14.5 in the United Kingdom, from 25.7 to 16.5 in Germany, from 18.3 to 12.3 in France,


State and Service Institutions

and from 18 to 8 in Denmark. In general, in Italy there was a shift from longer and less expensive hospital treatment to shorter and more expensive care involving more personnel, both medical, health, and administrative. There are remarkable regional differences in health expenditures, facilities, and personnel. In 1992, per capita state expenditures on health were below average for all southern regions and, to a lesser degree, northwest Lombardy and Piedmont, while they were above average for central and northeastern regions (see table 5). The number of hospital beds per one thousand inhabitants is more unevenly distributed. It is on the whole much lower in the southern regions than in the central and northern regions, but with significant differences among areas in the same region, ranging, for instance, from 4.8 for Naples to 7.3 for Bari, both in the south, Table 5 Selected regional health-provision parameters, 1990-92*

Region Piemonte Valle d'Aosta Lombardia Trentino A.A Veneto Friuli V.G. Liguria Emilia Romagna Toscana Umbria Marche Lazio Abruzzo Molise Campania Puglia Basilicata Calabria Sicilia Sardegna Italia

Per capita expenditures (000 lire)

Doctors per 1,000 i nhabitants

Employees per 1,000 inhabitants

Nurses per 1,000 i nhabitants

Beds per 1,000 i nhabitants

,634 ,707 ,628 ,684 ,705 ,774 ,990 1,996 1,752 1,785 1,846 1,770 1,589 1,571 1,616 1,593 1,438 1,582 1,620 1,558 1,692

4.23 3.91 4.67 3.79 4.38 4.52 6.36 5.77 5.51 5.86 4.90 7.77 5.83 5.09 5.42 4.49 4.09 5.77 5.63 5.32 5.22

11.74 15.01 10.16 13.29 13.43 15.37 15.94 14.28 12.98 12.30 13.75 9.80 12.67 11.69 9.41 9.49 9.99 11.76 9.54 12.20 11.42

4.07 5.00 3.72 5.22 5.60 6.19 5.52 5.47 5.36 4.88 5.23 3.45 5.05 3.93 3.37 3.29 3.56 3.58 3.35 4.29 4.22

5.77 4.68 6.82 6.97 7.82 7.72 7.50 7.02 6.42 5.46 7.43 7.54 8.31 5.13 4.81 7.37 6.25 6.03 5.43 5.39 6.57

* Columns 1, 5 are from 1991; column 2 is from 1992; columns 3, 4 are from 1990. Source: Geddes (1994).


8.2 Health System

and from 5.7 in Piedmont to 7.9 in the province of Trento, both in the north. There are also significant differences in numbers of doctors, with all central regions except one above average - and the region of Rome well above average - and all northern regions - except Liguria, with a high proportion of old people in its population - well below average. Differences in per capita expenditures, hospital beds, and numbers of doctors, however, do not tell the whole story, since significant inequalities exist in numbers of extra-hospital structures - which are lacking in the south - and in the quality o health care - which is higher in the northern regions - as is shown by the ratio between those who go to and those who leave a given region for hospital care (see table 6). On the whole, the Italian health system is a study in contrasts: on the one hand, there are an oversupply of doctors and an undersupply of certain paramedical workers, significant regional inequalities in terms of cost-effectiveness of health care, and insufficient attention to prevention policy; on the other, in large parts of Table 6 Emigration and immigration at regional level out of total hospital admissions (1991)

Piemonte Valle d'Aosta Lombardia Trentino A.A Veneto Friuli V.G. Liguria Emilia Romagna Toscana Umbria Marche Lazio Abruzzo Molise Campania Puglia Basilicata Calabria Sicilia Sardegna Source: Geddes (1994).



Attraction index


7.1 16.6 4.2 9.5 4.1 4.1 6.4 4.3 4.2 5.1 7.4 6.5 7.8 15.3 8.0 5.6 21.1 16.8 7.5 4.1

5.5 1.0 6.8 8.4 7.3 8.6 12.2 9.5 7.0 10.8 7.0 7.2 6.7 17.5 1.9 3.8 7.6 4.1 1.2 1.2

1.03 0.71 2.23 1.10 2.48 2.30 2.50 3.31 1.91 2.02 1.04 1.15 0.72 0.89 0.19 0.46 0.30 0.18 0.11 0.27

11 14 5 5 3 4 2 1 7 6 10 8 13 12 18 15 16 19 20 17


State and Service Institutions

the country (the Milan area, for example), an effective health system has been developed that combines public, market, and nonprofit private institutions, provides good-quality care, and is marked by some centres of excellence in clinical medicine, surgery, and research. REFERENCES CNEL

1993 Rapporto Italia 1992. Rome. Geddes, M. (ed.) 1994 La salute degli italiani. Rapporto 1993. Rome: Nuova Italia Scientifica. Gramaglia, E. 1990 "La politica sanitaria." In B. Dente (ed.), Le politiche pubbliche in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Martinelli, A. 1985 "Salute e sistemi sanitari occidentali." Economia Pubblica, no. 6. Paci, M. (ed.) 1993 Le dimensioni delta diseguaglianza. Bologna: II Mulino. Piperno, A. 1984 "La politica sanitaria." In U. Ascoli (ed.), Welfare state all'Italiana. Bari: Laterza.

8.3 Welfare System In recent decades, the cost of social security grew faster than did total state expenditures except for interest paid - not only because of lengthening life spans, the growing proportion of old people, and growing rates of unemployment, but also because of the progressive extension of coverage to previously excluded social groups. In 1995, a reform was passed that introduced significant changes in the retirement age and in the calculation of pensions, putting capitalization schemes alongside the pay-as-you-go system.

In the three and a half decades covered in this book, the cost of social security as a percentage of the GNP grew faster than did total state expenditures (see table 1). Contributions and benefits were higher than expenses for the seven major socialsecurity funds (including those of employed workers, public-sector employees, fanners, artisans, and people active in the trade sectors) until 1964, after which


8.3 Welfare System

Table 1 Selected financial statistics on social security, 1960-80 (billion lire) Deficit/surplus of the 7 major social- security funds

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980

-29 25 131 153 142 -510 -639 -521 -518 . -996 -733 -521 -1,434 -1,414 -1,611 -2,397 -2,699 -3,746 -5,474 -5,782 -8,090

State contributions

302 344 472 521 526 530 568 582 623 665 729 923 976 1,228 1,401 1,625 1,799 2,308 2,646 4,556 4,438

Contributions by local governments

64 69 69 89 102 110 139 154 175 185 220 283 322 444 460 571 820 915 1,055 1,303 1,697

Total costs

395 388 410 457 486 1,150 1,346 1,257 1,316 1,846 1,682 1,727 2,732 3,086 3,472 4,593 5,318 6,969 9,175 10,641 14,225

Total costs as % o/GNP

1.70 1.50 1.41 1.38 1.34 2.94 3.18 2.69 2.60 3.30 2.67 2.52 3.64 3.44 3.14 3.66 3.39 3.67 4.13 3.95 4.22

Source: Regonini (1984).

expenses overtook contributions and benefits by an increasing ratio. Pensions are by far the most important type of family income support by the state, a very delicate policy matter for governments, which relied on the extension of social security to an increasing number of beneficiaries of different social belongings as a tool of consensus formation. The factors accounting for the increase in social-security expenditures were related partly to demographic and economic changes and partly to political decisions, partly to changes common to other Western countries and partly to changes specific to Italy. Demographic changes, such as lengthening life spans and declining birth rates, increased the retirement-age population and modified, coeteris paribus, the ratio between financial resources and benefits in the pay-as-you-go pension system. The


State and Service Institutions

Table 2 Personal pensions paid by social security funds, 1981-93 (billion lire)

1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993


Work accidents and professional diseases

Old age and invalidity


2,064 2,347 2,767 1,963 2,112 2,329 2,541 2,361 2,461 2,996 2,794 3,045 2,754

2,114 2,166 2,892 3,801 4,213 4,415 4,837 5,260 5,713 6,123 6,697 7,288 7,035

35,627 44,202 55,082 60,623 69,056 78,431 85,365 95,282 105,691 119,711 133,752 151,368 157,501

6,543 8,219 10,690 11,906 14,015 15,797 17,724 19,833 22,055 25,358 28,157 31,657 33,561


748 878 ,024 975 [,095 [,213 ,182 ,564 751 ,351 ,673 ,868 ,853



3,730 3,745 4,163 4,342 4,202 3,967 3,932 4,700 6,598 6,722 5,328 5,438 5,007

2,589 3,673 4,658 5,349 5,703 5,681 5,008 4,657 4,330 4,907 5,595 6,836 8,673

Sources: ISTAT, Compendia statistico italiano; ISTAT, Italian Statistical Abstract, various years.

steady unemployment rate - which in recent years has characterized Western economies even in the upswing phase of the economic cycle - and the growth of various forms of informal and underground economies also helped to reduce the contributions paid by workers and entrepreneurs for social security. But alongside these general causes, other, more specific, factors were at work in the Italian situation. Between the 1950s and the end of the 1970s, about three fourths of the increase in expenditures on retirement pensions was due to the progressive extension of coverage to previously excluded categories of autonomous workers (farmers, artisans, people active in the trade sector, independent professionals), and causing an increase in average pension level. Later on, demographic changes played a more important role, but in a system already compromised by the policy strategies previously adopted. The result has been a huge and growing deficit, worsened by the very limited role played by private insurance and by capitalization schemes. In spite of its high cost, the Italian social-security system has been plagued by a lack of co-ordination and unequal distribution of burdens and benefits to different social categories - as in the case of health care - in terms of privileges for special groups with regard to retirement age and criteria for calculating the pension amount (100% of the last wage for journalists, local government employees, health personnel, etc.).


8.3 Welfare System

Table 3 Selected statistics on pensions, 1961-93

1961 1966 1971 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

Number of pensions (000)

Annual outlay (billion lire)

8,036 9,919 14,074 15,713 16,076 16,239 16,766 16,973 17,306 17,172 17,680 17,815 17,832 17,981 18,280 18,588 18,844 19,138 19,619 19,948 20,311 20,755 21,037

1,407 3,234 5,831 10,197 13,221 16,370 20,903 26,356 31,730 42,686 54,947 65,637 79,597 89,385 100,841 113,934 124,323 137,896 155,544 172,917 194,135 214,926 228,883

Sources: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche 1926-1985', ISTAT, Compendia statistico italiano, various years.

Another distinctive character of the Italian social-security system is the high number of disability pensions, which increased impressively after the 1970s, especially in southern regions, where they provide a major example of patronage welfare politics. The seriousness of the financial deficit and the worsening of the situation made social security a kind of time bomb and induced governments in the 1990s to try to reform the system. In 1995 a reform was passed, with the consent of trade unions, that introduced significant changes in the calculation of pensions and retirement age and favoured capitalization schemes alongside the pay-as-you-go system. The law represents a turning point in social-security policy, but it calls for very slow implementation - coming into full effect only in 2015 - and has thus been criticized for being too mild and gradual.


State and Service Institutions

A major feature of the reform is the distinction between social security and social assistance: the former concerns pensions for working people, while the latter includes disability pensions, subsidies to the unemployed, integration to the minimum pension level, and family allowances. In the late 1980s, the National Institute of Social Security (INPS) still accounted for more than 50% of all public expenditures for social assistance, although it was rapidly diminishing, while public expenditures of various other departments (the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Treasury, the Ministry of Labour) grew as a proportion of the total to 30%, and those of local administrations and related agencies amounted to more than 10% of the total. On the whole, state expenditures for social assistance remained rather constant - almost 4% of the GNP in the 1980s. About 90% of expenditures were income transfers to families, while the remaining 10% financed social services to the needy. REFERENCES Pizzuti, F.R., and Rey, G. 1990 // sistema pensionistico: un riesame. Bologna: II Mulino. Regonini, G. 1984 "II sistema pensionistico: risorse e vincoli." In U. Ascoli (ed.), Welfare State all'Italiana. Ban: Laterza. 1990 "La politica delle pensioni." in B. Dente (ed.), Le politiche pubbliche in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Somaini, E. 1996 Equitd e riforma del sistema pensionistico. Bologna: II Mulino.

8.4 Presence of State in Society The presence of the state in Italian society grew constantly during the period under study, in terms both of expenditure and taxation as percentage of GNP and of personnel employed. Over the last ten years, in spite of an increasing state deficit and widespread sentiment against state intervention, none of these indicators diminished; in the 1990s direct intervention in the economy was still heavy through state-owned enterprises.

The extension of citizenship from legal and political rights to the right to have access to an increasing number of public services and welfare, such as pension plans,


8.4 Presence of State in Society

free education, health care, and unemployment insurance, was organized and financed in Italy through a constant increase in the number of functions played by the public sector (national state agencies, local governments, state-controlled enterprises, etc.)- Since the beginning of the 1960s, the historic economic imbalance between the northern industrialized regions and the southern underdeveloped ones has been behind increasing direct intervention by the state in the economy through the ownership of firms not only in basic industries, but also in transformation and consumer-goods sectors. Although the performance of the state as an entrepreneur dates back to the first attempts at industrialization at the end of the nineteenth century and was institutionally established especially during the fascist period through the invention of the state share-holding formula, the 1960s and 1970s had the highest rate of expansion of direct intervention by the state in the economy in terms of production yielded, investments made, employees hired, and salaries paid (see table 1). Between 1967 and 1975, the contribution of state-owned firms to the formation of gross national revenue increased from 13.9% to 24.3% (see table 1). Government investments grew from 30.1% to 47.4% of total fixed investments. The proportion of salaries in industry paid by the government grew from 21.3% to 28.5% of the total, and the proportion of industrial jobs for which the government was responsible more than doubled from 11.2% to 23.7%. At the beginning of the 1970s, the creation of regional governments contributed to a further expansion of the presence and functions of the public sector in society. The party system encouraged overall expansion of the state as a way of controlling and broadening political consent. Table 1 State-owned firms: absolute values and as % of national data on annual gross income, fixed investments, salaries, and employees


1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975

Gross income (billion lire) (%) 3,311.0 3,530.6 3,861.4 4,360.1 4,782.3 5,404.3 6,747.3 8,240.2 9,914.4

13.9 13.5 13.3 13.1 13.5 13.8 14.7 23.0 24.3

Source: Cassese (1977) from ISTAT data.

Fixed investments (billion lire) (%) 1,285.9 1,444.7 1,677.0 2,227.0 2,824.4 3,256.0 3,540.9 4,097.6 4,704.2

30.1 30.1 30.9 34.2 39.7

43.6 47.4

Salaries (billion lire) (%) 2,588.9 .2,741.3 3,003.2 3,578.4 4,282.2 4,941.5 6,146.8 7,578.9 9,168.6

21.3 20.8 20.4 20.3 21.6 22.6 23.2 28.5 28.5

Employees (000) (%) 873.9 870.4 696.7 964.9 1,031.4 1,091.9 1,157.3 1,213.6 1,265.3

11.2 11.1 11.1 11.6 12.5 13.2 14.1 22.8 23.7


State and Service Institutions

Table 2 Various kinds of state revenues as % of gnp (average values per period)

1960-69 1970-79 1980-89 1990-92

Security contributions

Sales taxes

Income taxes

9.5 10.9 12.1 13.1


6.0 6.6

9.1 9.2 10.9

12.4 14.5

Source: Banca Commerciale Italiana, Ufficio Studi 1993.

The expansion of the welfare state and of the number of functions fulfilled by the government forced the state budget to grow as a percentage of GDP. This is partly because the role of central public administration has traditionally been prominent in Italy compared with the functions played by local authorities and administrations. Although the creation of regional governments has decentralized some functions since the early 1970s, the role of the central administration is still predominant. State outlays increased constantly over the period under study, both as a percentage of GNP (see table 3) and in absolute terms (see table 4). While during the 1960s total outlays accounted for 32.4% of GNP on average, they exceeded 50% in 1983 and reached their highest level in the 1990s. This means that since the mid-1980s most resources have been allocated through the state, while the role of the market as an allocative mechanism has been minor. Revenues increased quite constantly over the period, with the exception of the 1970s, when they had a modest average decrease as percentage of GNP, though in monetary terms the increase has been constant (see table 5), due to high levels of inflation in the 1970s. The result was deficit spending that caused increasing sums to be spent on servicing the debt. While the primary deficit (the difference between total deficit and expenses related to interest paid on the accumulated debt) was progressively reduced since the 1980s, the share of interest paid increased to 10.4% of GNP on average during the 1990s (see table 3). In terms of revenues, the share of sales taxes was quite constant (about 10% of GNP), while the share of income tax more than doubled, from an average of 6.0% in the 1960s to 14.5% in the 1990s (see table 2). The increase was particularly intense during the 1980s. The proportion of social security contributions has been increasing, although at a moderate pace. Contracting of loans through issuing of Treasury bonds and other forms of financing of the state debt, which comprised 11.1% of total taxation in 1965, had grown to 64.5% by 1993 (table 5).


8.4 Presence of State in Society

Table 3 Total revenues and expenditures as % of GNP (average values per period)

1960-69 1970-79 1980-89 1990-92



32.8 37.3 49.3 54.4

30.5 29.7 37.7 43.1

Total deficit

Primary deficit

Interest paid

2.1 5.6 4.9 .8

1.5 3.3 7.6

3.5 8.9 12.5 11.2


Source: Banca Commerciale Italiana,Ufficio Studi 1993.

Table 4 State budget: expenditures, 1965-93 (billion lire)


Current expenditures

Investments in capital

Repayment of loans

Total expenditures

1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

6,354 7,032 7,377 8,488 10,088 10,873 12,821 14,462 17,651 23,178 28,656 35,923 48,766 65,436 86,521 119,190 140,905 166,121 209,245 247,807 297,969 314,477 334,782 407,376 392,375 464,203 506,537 545,144 544,786

1,863 2,021 2,537 3,228 3,179 2,993 3,802 4,218 5,396 5,473 9,813 11,062 13,391 17,931 17,426 23,567 37,839 42,696 50,905 49,126 60,955

247 464 408 125 666 448 307 423 761 907

8,464 9,517 10,322 11,841 13,933 14,314 16,930 19,103 23,808 29,558 40,202 48,541 63,296 85,836 116,255 155,964 186,645 235,167 279,166 347,883 395,249 424,166 424,460 528,385 492,625 658,803 683,058 718,762 715,286

1,733 1,556 1,139 2,469 12,308 13,207 7,901 26,350 19,016 50,950 36,325 46,003 22,426 53,797 27,975 123,549 107,728 110,042 95,776

Source: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storlche; ISTAT, Italian Statistical Abstract, various years.


State and Service Institutions

Table 5 Total state revenues, 1965-93 (billion lire)


1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

6,452 6,958 7,848 8,704 9,421 10,252 11,244 12,075 14,277 18,627 19,721 27,675 35,863 44,637 52,068 71,789 89,728 115,496 143,760 161,887 177,941 206,680 223,871 255,278 282,741 323,693 355,927 409,312 422,340

Sales and depreciation

Contracting of loans

143 446 152 334 364 258 233 228 216 170 223 135 209 161 171 149 452 624 514 655 600

719 1,643 912 1,476 2,186 1,456 1,978 1,969 3,167 3,127 8,239 2,602 12,683 21,503 20,392 13,006 17,776 50,932 88,001 115,237 129,367 134,143 86,700 125,669 101,153 201,155 227,063 203,532 272,712

Other revenues


410 496 561 606 592 744 925 1,291 981 1,007 4,130 8,125 8,212 10,508 16,443 21,641 23,288 33,897 40,313 42,833 48,510

7,724 9,543 9,473 11,120 12,563 12,710 14,380 15,563 18,641 22,931 32,313 38,537 56,967 76,809 89,074 106,585 131,244 200,949 272,588 320,612 356,418 395,512 369,106 437,317 446,302 605,911 666,734 697,548 743,442

Source: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche, 1926-1985; ISTAT, Italian Statistical Abstract, various years.

The increasing role of the state in both direct economic intervention and total expenditures was accompanied by a constant growth in numbers of civil servants and other personnel (see table 6). In this respect, however, it does not seem that Italy is different from the other major European countries. Positions in the civil service of various central and local public administrations comprised 12% of all jobs in 1970, in line with West Germany (11.2%) and France (12.9%) and below


8.4 Presence of State in Society

Table 6 Employees in the civil service, 1970-94 Year

1970 1975 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

Number of civil servants (000)

% of all jobs

3,193 3,260 3,303 3,323 3,391 3,439 3,471 3,544 3,602 3,622 3,628 3,643 3,659 3,639 3,615

12.0 14.2 14.7 14.9 15.0 15.1 15.3 15.4 15.4 15.6 15.6 15.7 15.6 15.5 15.7 16.1 16.2

Source: Ministero del Bilancio e della Programmazione, Relazione generate sulla situazione economica del Paese, Rome; Istituto poligrafico dello Stato, various years.

Denmark (16.8%) and Great Britain (18.0%). Seventeen years later, in 1987, Italy was among the countries where the increase in civil service was smaller (15.6%), along with Germany (15.4%), while France (23.1%), Great Britain (21.8%), and Denmark (29.4%) saw an enormous increase (ISTAT, 1990). Due to the centralized organization of public administration, an unduly large proportion of civil servants live in Rome, so that while most economic activities are carried out in northern regions, control over them is exerted in Rome. On the other hand, one feature that has traditionally characterized the Italian civil service is the high proportion of personnel from southern regions. D'Orta and Diamanti (1994) have estimated that while the population in southern regions comprises 36.7% of the total, the proportion of civil servants from those regions is 51.6% of the total. REFERENCES Banca Commerciale Italiana, Ufficio studi 1993 L'economia italiana. Struttura e tenderize: 1960-1992. Milan: Centro stampa della Banca Commerciale Italiana.


State and Service Institutions

Cassese, S. 1977 "Mutamenti nella pubblica amministrazione." In A. Martinelli and G. Pasquino (eds.), La politico. nell'Italia che cambia. Milan: Feltrinelli. 1978 Burocrazia ed economia pubblica. Cronache degli anni '70. Bologna: II Mulino. Cassese, S., and Franchini, C. (eds.) 1994 L'amministrazione pubblica italiana. Bologna: II Mulino. D'Orta, C., and Diamanti, E. 1994 "II pubblico impiego." In S. Cassese and C. Franchini (eds.), L'amministrazione pubblica italiana. Bologna: II Mulino. ISTAT

1990 Statistiche sulle amministrazioni pubbliche, 1987-88. Rome. Martinelli, A. 1981 "The Italian Experience: A Historical Perspective." In R. Vernon and Y. Aharoni (eds.), State-Owned Enterprises in the Western Economies. London: Croom Helm.

9 Mobilizing Institutions

Political parties have been the major mobilizing institutions in Italy. Until the mid-1990s, they dominated the public sphere, influencing many citizens' Weltanschauung, defining common goals, building collective identities and loyalties, and distributing selective incentives through various kinds of services and patronage. Although sharply divided in their ideologies and strategies, political parties helped to establish democratic values and practices and develop a unified political culture. On the other hand, they became increasingly powerful to the point of taking over government institutions and controlling important sectors of society, and were to various degrees involved in political corruption. Labour unions and business associations were also important actors, but their mobilizing role can be better understood in connection with the strategy and organization of major parties, to which they were generally been subordinated. For several years after the 1969 "hot autumn," labour unions led the collective workers' movement and performed functions usually played by political parties. Unions then lost part of their mobilizing and symbolic function and gained more independence from political parties. The Catholic church was very important in influencing attitudes and behaviours. It relied on the very extended network of parishes, the skilful bureaucracy of the Vatican, the powerful religious orders, and the web of Catholic associations involved in daily life. Military forces played a very limited role. The army was active in socializing young draftees at a time when interregional mobility was rare, local cultures and dialects were strong, and military service presented, for many youngsters, the only opportunity to leave their town or village and find out about other people and places. After the mass migrations of the 1950s and 1960s and the enormous growth of television, with its deep impact on attitudes and behaviours, the army's mobilizing role diminished. The diminishing influence of political parties, labour unions, and religious institutions, along with the continuing low impact of military institutions, left more and


Mobilizing Institutions

more room for the impact of the mass media, especially television. The influence of television is clearly perceived in shaping models of mass consumption, life styles, cultural attitudes, and political choices.

9.1 Labour Unions Union membership was substantially stable during the 1960s and increased in the 1970s. The slight decline during the 1980s was due to tertiarization of the economy and the constant downsizing in large industrial firms, which traditionally were the most unionized. The increasing proportion of retired workers among overall union members compensated for this loss.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, unions were very ideologically oriented. CGIL, the largest confederation, was traditionally inspired by the Communist Party (and to a lesser degree the Socialist Party), and many of its militants and members were backed by and even organized through the party apparatus. The second largest confederation, the Christian Democrat-inspired CISL, was founded in 1948, during the cold war, as a mean of opposing the hegemony of labour interests represented by CGIL. The third confederation, UIL, was established later as a joint initiative of minor center-left parties. The strong relationship between unions and political parties has been explained by the political weakness of the unions themselves and by the lack of official recognition by the employers. Until the end of the 1960s, union membership rates were relatively low and stable, while the economic factors leading to the developments of the following decade were already at work. The period of dramatic labour unrest that started in the autumn of 1969 was, in part, a reaction to worsening working conditions due to the massive introduction of Fordist-Taylorist organization of production in industry, and to a situation of full employment, which put workers in an advantageous position on the labour market. Other reliable explanations have been identified in the characteristics of the specific industrial-relations model that had been established since the end of the war. This model, which has been called "labour exclusive" (Lange, Ross, and Vannicelli, 1982), comprises weak unions that are not officially recognized by their counterparts and the lack of a welfare system capable of exerting a redistributive function that betters working-class living conditions. As other industrialized countries, at the beginning of the 1970s, Italy was involved in a period of exceptional labour conflict and a high degree of worker mili-


9.1 Labour Unions

tancy (see section 7.1) that the unions themselves were not able to control. Although, especially at first, the workers were protesting also against their traditional union representatives, the unions succeeded in transforming the protesters' demands into negotiable issues and organized spontaneous demonstrations into forms of effective conflict. Thus, unions succeeded both in obtaining political recognition and influence and in increasing their membership throughout the 1970s (see table 1). During the second half of the 1970s and the early 1980s, union strategy was oriented toward moderating workers' demands in exchange for benefits in the political arena in terms of official recognition by the state, consulting rights, veto power, and direct participation in implementation of economic policies. On the other hand, the government and business associations were forced to accept union participation as a second-best solution because of their need for political consent in fighting inflation and unemployment at the same time (Martinelli, 1994). The unintended result was an increasing preoccupation by the unions with maintaining power and avoiding the macro-economic consequences of excessive demand. During a period of co-operation between unions, government, and entrepreneurs, some political benefits were exchanged, and relations with other political institutions became the central problem, replacing that of relations with the workers, which had been the principal issue of the previous decade (Regini, 1995). From 1978 to 1984, membership in CGIL remained steady, while that in the other two confederations increased moderately (see table 1). Overall membership, however dropped from about 49% to 43%. In the second half of the 1980s, the picture changed again. The economy regained productivity through the introduction of post-Fordist organization of production, which involved job reductions in large firms, development of small, nonunionized businesses, flexibility in management of the work force, and large dismissal of semi-skilled workers. Most new jobs were clerical and in the tertiary sector and were more diversified in terms of skills, market position, and worker attitudes. Diversification of the labour force and flexibility of labour relations deeply influenced union activity and strategy (Accornero, 1992). After the fall of the Berlin wall and in a situation of increasing acceptance of market mechanisms by public opinion, it was more difficult for the unions to unify the interests of a more heterogeneous base and appeal to the traditional socialist-inspired ideology, while the co-operation that had provided them with legitimacy and power was abandoned because of the more favourable situation for the employers, who could invoke the market forces of competition and productivity. The rules and practices of co-operation were now considered a useless constraint by employers.


Mobilizing Institutions

Table 1 Membership in union confederations, 1960-93


1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

2,583,170 2,531,354 2,610,843 2,625,580 2,711,842 2,542,933 2,457,945 2,423,480 2,460,961 2,626,388 2,942,517 3,138,396 3,214,965 3,435,576 3,826,622 4,081,399 4,313,131 4,475,436 4,527,962 4,583,474 4,599,050 4,584,611 4,570,252 4,556,052 4,546,335 4,592,014 4,647,038 4,743,036 4,867,406 5,026,851 5,150,376 5,221,791 5,231,325 5,236,571


1,324,398 1,398,864 1,435,626 1,503,555 ,515,154 ,467,990 ,490,807 ,522,864 ,626,786 ,641,289 ,807,586 1,973,333 2,184,279 2,214,099 2,472,701 2,593,545 2,823,780 2,809,802 2,868,837 2,906,230 3,059,845 2,988,813 2,976,880 2,953,411 3,097,231 2,953,095 2,975,482 3,080,019 3,288,279 3,379,028 3,508,391 3,653,116 3,796,986 3,769,242

- Indicates that afigurewas unavailable. Sources: Romegnoli and Delia Rocca (1989); Censis (1994).



780,000 825,000 842,912 901,916 965,051 1,032,605 1,104,888 1,160,089 1,284,716 1,326,817 1,346,900 1,357,290 1,358,005 1,351,514 ,344,460 ,306,250 ,305,682 ,351,716 ,457,183 1,541,404 1,560,436 1,659,410 1,709,502 1,727,526

Membership rate out of all workers (%) 28.49 28.15 28.17 28.63 29.68 28.50 27.99 27.72 28.66 29.42 38.48 41.12 43.24 44.64 47.24 48.54 48.72 49.02 48.87 48.41 48.66 47.89 46.47 45.03 43.45 42.11 40.10


9.1 Labour Unions

Although the 1990s brought several weakening factors for union activity, which could be seen in falling membership rates, the number of unionized people did not seem to be affected by this (see table 1). Even CGIL, the most ideological trade union, saw an increase in members, though at a lower rate than that of the other confederations. The reason for this was that the proportion of retired workers quickly and constantly increased in all confederations (see table 2). This was especially true for CGIL, the majority of whose members became retired workers in 1993. Another explanation is that while co-operation and bargaining at the central level became more difficult and less effective, bargaining at firm level played an increasing role, because of the need to manage flexibility in production and to obtain consent regarding restructuring (see section 7.2). However, official data cannot give a clear picture of the recent developments in new kinds of unionism, which were often in competition with the three historical confederations. Difficulties in representing increasingly heterogeneous working conditions and interests contributed to the development of a number of small unions whose aim was to defend or to restore the privileges of specific working categories (Baldissera, 1988). Such corporatist unionism found its membership among the growing numbers of workers in the tertiary sector, and its weapon was strikes against users and customers (see section 7.1).

Table 2 Percentage of union members who are employed, 1980-93 Year




1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986

76.1 73.9 71.7 69.0 66.9 64.3 61.1 58.7 56.4 54.3 53.2 52.1 50.7 49.1

85.4 91.9 80.8 79.8 77.9 74.6 71.4 68.7 66.7 64.3 63.0 61.3 61.4 59.1

94.2 93.5 92.4 91.2 90.2 88.8 87.7 86.1 81.9 77.8 78.0 82.4 81.2 79.3

1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

Source: Rapporto Censis, various years.


Mobilizing Institutions

REFERENCES Accornero, A. 1992 La parabola del sindacato. Bologna: II Mulino. Baglioni, G. 1989 "II sistema delle relazioni industrial! in Italia: caratteristiche ed evoluzione storica." In G. Cella and T. Treu (eds.), Relazioni industrials manuale per I'analisi dell'esperienza italiana. Bologna: II Mulino. Baldissera, A. 1988 La svolta dei quarantamila. Dai quadri Fiat ai Cobas. Milan: Edizioni di Comunita. Carrieri, M., and Donolo, C. 1986 // mestiere politico del sindacato. Rome: Editori Riuniti. Cella, G. 1989 "Criteria of regulation in Italian industrial relations: a case of weak institutions." In P. Lange and M. Regini (eds.), State, Market and Social Regulation. New Perspectives on Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chiesi, A.M. 1988 "Declino dei sindacati e fiducia nei rapporti diretti con i capi." Sviluppo e Organizzazione, no. 108. Lange, P., Ross, G., and Vannicelli, M. 1982 Unions, Change and Crisis: French and Italian Union Strategy and the Political Economy 1945-1980. London: Allen & Unwin. Martinelli, A. (ed.) 1994 L'azione collettiva degli imprenditori italiani. Milan: Edizioni di Comunita. Negrelli, S., and Santi, E. 1990 "Industrial Relations in Italy." In G. Baglioni and C. Crouch (eds.), European Industrial relations. The Challenge of Flexibility. London: Sage. Regalia, I. 1994 "Italy: The Cost and Benefits of Informality." In J. Rogers and W. Streeck, eds., Employee Participation and Works Councils. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Regini, M. 1995 "L'evoluzione dell'azione sindacale in Europa." In A.M. Chiesi, I. Regalia, and M. Regini (eds.), Lavoro e relazioni industriali in Europa. Rome: Nuova Italia Scientifica. Romagnoli, G. 1983 "Una proposta per I'analisi del sindacato come organizzazione." Prospettiva sindacale, no. 2.


9.2 Religious Institutions

Romagnoli, G., and Delia Rocca, G. 1989 "II sindacato." In G. Cella and T. Treu (eds.), Relazioni industriali: manuale per I'analisi dell'esperienza italiana. Bologna: II Mulino.

9.2 Religious Institutions Over the last 35 years, the role played by the Catholic church has changed considerably. Growing secularization was manifested in various ways: laws on divorce and abortion, a falling number of vocations to the priesthood and other religious callings, a marked decline in church attendance and private ceremonies, the declining political influence of the church, and the fragmentation of the Christian Democratic Party. And yet, the secularization of beliefs and practices did not entail a complete detachment of religiously inactive people from their religious heritage; there was a sizable minority of devout Catholics; the church still had authority in several areas; and church-related associations comprised a huge and complex social network.

Catholicism has had a privileged status in Italy since the 1929 concordat between the state and the church. The concordat was revised and adapted to the needs of a more culturally diversified society - but was not substantially changed - in 1984. Nevertheless, Italy became a recognizably secular state in the 1970s, when laws on divorce and abortion were enacted: in a 1974 referendum, almost 60% voted to maintain the divorce law, and in a 1981 referendum, 67.5% voted to maintain the abortion law. As mentioned in the introduction, the Catholic church was a major integrating and mobilizing institution in postwar Italian society, but the secularization that accompanied growth and modernization deeply changed the context of religious institutions, somewhat limiting their influence. The new challenges facing the church in an increasingly secularized society stirred up the traditional confrontation between conservatives and innovators; Pope John XXIII made a bold response regarding religious doctrine and institutional arrangements with the Second Vatican Council. In recent decades, the numbers of religious vocations and private religious ceremonies, along with attendance at church services, declined constantly. Secularization did not, however, cause religiously inactive people to become completely


Mobilizing Institutions

Table 1 Catholic church structure and organization, 1961-88




294 26,358 45,471 21,836 9,322

290 28,007 43,422 22,987 14 4,984

291 28,613 39,212 21,120 246 2,913

224 26,045 37,728 20,226 597 3,093

28,245 160,573 5,580 4,417

32,532 154,659 4,833 4,417

28,577 135,409 4,464 11,857

27,765 133,937 4,710 12,067

1961 Dioceses Parish churches Diocesan priests Religious priests Deacons Seminarians Members of religious orders: Men Women Charitable institutions Educational institutions Source: Annuario Pontificio, 1988.

detached from their religious heritage. Family religious tradition remained a major component of personal identity. Religious marriages and funeral services continued to be much more widespread than in other Catholic developed countries (the proportion of civil weddings rose from a negligible 2.3% in 1970 to a still relatively low 16.4% in 1988). The Catholic church still claimed to exert moral authority over all citizens. Moreover, church-related voluntary associations - strictly devotional, charity oriented, and educational - constituted a huge and complex network contributing to social integration and collective identity. The declining influence of religious institutions was clear, however, and took three forms. First, though a majority of Italians regarded themselves as Catholic, many of them were less attentive to the church's teachings and fulfilled requirements such as attendance at Christmas mass or funeral services more out of respect for tradition than religious conviction. Second, a growing minority considered themselves agnostic. Third, there was a growing trend toward religious pluralism, not only because of immigrant Muslims, but also because of availability of an increasing number of "new" religions - Jehovah's Witnesses and Eastern religions and because more people were tending to choose religions based on personal opinion rather than traditional heritage (Riccardi, 1994). Nevertheless, although Italian society was becoming increasingly secular, the Catholic church continued to play an important role because of its powerful organization, its awareness of societal change, and its attempts to cope with them.


9.2 Religious Institutions

Data regarding parishes reflect the extensive presence of the church; 1988 figures show a church for every 2,200 people in Italy. The trend is toward the church maintaining a loyal and compartmentalized presence in society, emphasizing its direct influence on all aspects of the local community. The number of parishes remained remarkably stable: 26,550 in 1960 and 26,000 at the end of the 1980s (see table 2), while the structure of dioceses was rationalized, bringing the total down from 294 to 224. Almost every parish is run by a juridical figure belonging to the "diocesan clergy" (parish priest). The figures in table 3 qualify a commonly held belief about the clergy in contemporary Italian society. The ratio of one priest to every 1,500 inhabitants is still, per se, a rather high ratio in comparative terms, and it does not seem to reflect the situation of an increasingly secular society. However, if this is compared with previous data, a clear decline in the number of priests is obvious (over the last 25 years, the number of diocesan priests fell by 16.3%), and there was an even more dramatic decline in seminarians, from 9,322 in 1961 to 3,097 in 1988.

Table 2 Religious staff at Catholic churches, 1988 Number of staff Diocesan Religious Total Number of inhabitants per priest Diocesan Religious Total Members of religious institutions Men Female Total Number of inhabitants per religious Men Women Total Total members of religious institutions Total density of religious institutions members* * number of inhabitants per each religious. Source: Annuario Pontificio, 1988.

37,313 20,028 57,341 1,558 2,903 1,014 27,765 133,937 161,702 2,094 434 360 199,015 292


Mobilizing Institutions

Table 3 Structure and organization of the Catholic church, 1970-86

Dioceses: parish churches priests priests ordained priests died Deacons Religious congregations and orders priests religious women religious





27,835 42,912 698 761 9

28,287 41,883 425 731 91

28,618 40,110 347 576 210

26,234 38,439 465 640 608

22,423 6,763 153,762

21,047 6,446 147,286

23,080 6,629 146,182

21,259 5,534 137,431

Source: Annuario Statistico delle Chiese del Triveneto, a cura dell'Osservatorio Socio-religioso del Triveneto.

In 1988, in addition to 20,000 priests, there were 7,700 members of religious orders and 134,000 nuns, for a total of around 200,000, or one member of a religious order for every 292 Italians. Thus, there remains a marked presence of religious institutions in Italian society, with their own identities, values, and behavioural patterns, and therefore a significant influence. Despite the fact that the ecclesiastical institution is composed primarily of women (in 1986, women comprised almost 80% of all members of religious institutions; see table 3), the church has been historically dominated by men, with the women's role being almost exclusively supportive (with little decision-making power); they continue to be excluded from the priesthood. No recent figures are available for sociobiographical aspects of the diocesan clergy. A 1982 study (Brunetta, 1982) showed that the clergy was ageing (almost 64.8% were over 50), there was a declining number of vocations, and there was a negative balance between the number of new priests ordained and the loss of priests (through death or leaving the priesthood). The growing generation gap between the majority of priests and young people poses a problem for the church in the context of today's society. A major indicator of the church's influence in secular society is the fact that in recent years, the church has devoted considerable resources to social and welfare issues (it runs an estimated 5,000 social and welfare assistance centres). Particular attention has been paid to the elderly, children and young people in difficulty, people with disabilities, drug and alcohol abusers, and immigrants. There is an extensive network of Catholic associations; estimates for the late 1980s suggested


9.3 Military Forces

that some 4 million Italians were members of such organizations. The church is also very active in the education system; there are some 1,600 Catholic schools, from nursery schools through to universities, attended by some 7% of all Italians. Financial resources to support the clergy and the various activities of religious institutions come from the church's own properties, the government, and charities. REFERENCES Allum, P. 1976 Istituzioni e potere in Italia. Milan: Feltrinelli. Berzano, L. 1990 Differenziazioni e religione negli anni 80. Turin: Grappichelli. Brunetta,G. 1983 "L'eta del clero." La rivista del clew italiano, no. 1, p. 55. Bussetti, G., and Corbetta, P. 1974 Religione e periferia. Bologna: II Mulino. CISM 1988 / religiosi in Italia. Annuario Statistico. Rome: Centro Studi USMI. Dani, L. 1975 Istituzione e identita religiosa. Bologna: Dehoniane. Garelli, F. 1991 Religione e chiesa in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Macioti, M. I. 1974 Religione, chiesa e struttura sociale. Napoli: Liguori. Riccardi, A. 1994 "La Chiesa di fronte a una societa secolarizzata." In P. Ginsburg (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: Mondadori. Secretaria Status Rationarium Generale Ecclesiae. 1987 Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae. Vatican City.

9.3 Military Forces Since the end of the Second World War, Italy's military forces have been organized for integration within the NATO alliance and for control of domestic public order. Overall expenditures for the various military forces decreased moderately as a percentage of GNP and considerably as a percentage of total


Mobilizing Institutions government expenditures, but the proportion devoted to police forces was still high compared with other European countries. The proportion of professional soldiers has been constantly increasing compared with that of conscripts.

After the postwar period, Italy experienced the longest period of peace since its formation as a country after the Risorgimento movement during the second half of the last century. After the defeat in the Second World War, the role and the prestige of the army in the society at large diminished, although the military forces and their organizations did not officially back the fascist regime, remaining loyal to the monarchy. The republican rhetoric, stressing anti-authoritarian attitudes, democracy, and peace was not fully compatible with the traditional values of the military organization such as discipline, obedience, and patriotism. Since the 1960s, the role of the army has been more to supply jobs for the middle classes of the lessdeveloped southern regions than to provide an efficient organization to defend the country's borders in the age of the cold war. During the period under study, there was a progressive decrease in the proportion of government expenditures for the military forces; defence expenditures comprised about 2% of GNP in 1992 (see table 1), a proportion below that of comparable countries, such as Germany, France, and Great Britain, but above that of Japan. On the other hand, the number of military personnel is comparable to or

Table 1 Selected defence expenditures, 1972-92


1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1992

US$ million

US$ per head

% of total government expenditure

% of GNP

3,715 4,131 4,132 4,220 4,335 5,137 6,246 7,785 9,578 8,681 8,924 24,550

68 75 75 76

11.3 10.1 10.3 8.6

2.9 3.1 3.0 2.8




152 156 136

6.4 5.6

Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance, London.

2.6 2.0


9.3 Military Forces

even larger than that of the above-mentioned countries, so the effectiveness and quality of weapons is probably at a lower level of efficiency because of a smaller budget per head (Rochat, 1994). During the first four decades after the Second World War, the strategic mission of domestic military forces, within the NATO treaty, was to defend, by means of conventional weapons, Italy's eastern frontiers against the threat of the Soviet army. The recent collapse of the Communist bloc and the increasing need to address the state deficit led to a reorganization of the military forces both in numbers, internal composition, and location within Italy. The need for sophisticated armaments and highly qualified personnel, without affecting the budget limits, has caused changes in the proportion between professional soldiers and conscripts, whose period of military service was reduced from 18 to 12 months since the beginning of the 1970s and whose numbers dropped considerably in the 1980s (see table 2). The change of strategic perspective in order to confront possible crisis on Italy's southern borders, to allow systematic use of the army for law and order against organized crime in southern regions, and to form task forces to participate in multinational operations moderately affected the balance between the three main forces, reducing total personnel numbers in the army, maintaining steady numbers of personnel in the navy, and increasing personnel numbers in the air force. Because there was traditionally little relationship between the technological needs of the military forces and those of domestic industry, a true military-industrial complex able to influence military policies was never established (Rochat, 1994). This is because expenditures on armaments were always below a sufficient threshold and the most sophisticated devices were dependent on foreign patents. Table 2 Military personnel, 1971-92 (000)

1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1978 1982 1983 1992




Air force

414.0 427.6 427.5 421.0 421.0 362.0 370.0 373.1 354.6




258.0 233.3

44.5 43.6

70.6 77.7

Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance, London.


239.0 207.9


Mobilizing Institutions

Moreover, the decrease in weapons exports during the 1990s provoked a serious need for conversion of an industrial sector that was mainly state owned and partially involved in the privatization process. Italy had a relatively higher proportion of paramilitary forces within its overall military personnel than did other NATO countries. The Carabinieri, State Police, and Guardia di Finanza accounted for 41.3% of total military and paramilitary personnel in 1992 (see table 3). Although the Carabinieri were directly dependent on the Ministry of Defence and provided with war weapons like tanks and aircraft, their role was traditionally to keep domestic law and order, similar to the State Police, which was recently reformed with the introduction of women and the transformation from military to paramilitary corps. On the other hand, the Guardia di fmanza, whose aim was fiscal control and prevention of tax evasion, retained a military organization. According to a number of scholars, the reasons for the dominance of the paramilitary corps are to be found in Italy's international position during the cold war and in the presence of its communist party, the largest in a Western democracy. Nevertheless, the proportion of paramilitary corps out of the overall labour force continued to increase after the end of the cold war. On the other hand, salary ratio between the military and paramilitary forces was quite constant, at least since 1977, at about 1:1.8 in favour of the latter (see table 4). Although Italy's constitution states that the military forces are based on conscription, the need for efficiency and the introduction of new technologies bestowed increasing importance upon professional soldiers, most of whom are to be found in the paramilitary corps, followed by the air force and the navy, which are more technologically oriented. Professional soldiers were recruited partly within a family tradition, as 27.6% of officers were sons of professional soldiers (Prandstraller, 1985). As anti-authoritarian and pacifist attitudes increased among young people (see section 10.3), conscripts became less and less convinced of the efficacy of their military service, although forms of refusal and collective protest subsided since the Table 3 Paramilitary personnel, 1983-92

1983 1991 1992

State Police


Guardia di Finanza


90,521 95,814

93,706 94,919

57,202 58,388

206,600 241,429 249,121

Sources: International Institute for Strategic Studies; ISTAT, Rapporto Annuale 1992, Rome.


9.3 Military Forces

Table 4 Military and paramilitary salaries, 1967-94 Military (billion lire)

1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

Para-military (billion lire)

% of state personnel expenditures

1,532 1,872 2,451 2,908 3,434 4,365 4,696 5,685 5,880 6,315 8,217 9,366 9,943 11,098 12,126 12,666 14,489 15,237

22.5 21.8 21.2 22.2 23.3 23.3 23.3 21.1 21.3 20.5 22.5 22.2 21.9 23.1 21.5 23.2 21.4 22.9 22.3 21.6 23.9 24.0 24.2 23.6 24.1 23.5 26.1 29.3

552 571 596 675 928 978 1,186 1,249 1,478 1,685

853 929 1,158 1,631 1,891 2,616 2,819 3,289 3,590 3,754 4,604 5,346 6,086 7,118 7,776 7,431 8,155 8,643

Source: Bilancio dello Stato, Relazione generale sulla situazione economica del paese, Rome.

1970s. Obiezione di coscienza (status of conscientious objector) was introduced by law in 1972, but the alternative of an organized and widespread servizio civile (alternative duty) has not yet been instituted, in spite of the efforts of some religious movements. An important component of the military forces is the secret services, whose consistency and efficacy is difficult to define. Their ambiguous role emerged repeatedly in many dramatic episodes in Italian political life (see the introduction).


Mobilizing Institutions

REFERENCES Battistelli, F. 1980 Arm/: nuovo modello di sviluppo? L'industria militare in Italia. Turin: Einaudi. 1990 Marte e Mercuric: sociologia dell'organizzazione militare. Milano: F. Angeli. Caligaris, L. 1990 "La politica militare." In B. Dente (ed.), Le politiche pubbliche in Italia, Bologna: II Mulino. Ministero della Difesa 1977 Libra bianco della Difesa. La sicurezza dell'Italia e i problemi delle Forze Armate. Rome: Ministero della Difesa. Ostellino, P., and Caligaris, L. 1983 I nuovi militari. Milan: Mondadori. Pasquino, G. 1977 "Militari e politica: una rassegna di studi." Rivista italiana di Scienza politica, no. 2. 1976 "The Italian Army. Some Notes on Recruitment." Armed Forces and Society, no. 2. Prandstraller, G. 1985 La professione militare in Italia. Milan: F. Angeli. Rochat, G. 1972 "L'esercito italiano negli ultimi cento anni." In Storia d'ltalia, vol. 5. Turin: Einaudi. 1974 "Dove vanno le Forze armate italiane." Inchiesta, no. 14. 1991 L'esercito italiano in pace e in guera: studi di storia militare. Milan: Rara. 1994 "Le forze armate: un nuovo ruolo per gli anni novanta." In P. Ginsborg (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: II Saggiatore.

9.4 Political Parties Political parties have been a core institution in contemporary Italian society. They helped to create the conditions for economic and social development and to institutionalize the values and attitudes of a modern democracy, but they did not prove equally effective in managing the tensions and contradictions stemming from modernization and governing the complete transformation of Italy, which took place from the end of the 1950s onward. They were also responsible, to different degrees and in different ways, for serious pathologies in the Italian political system that emerged in recent years, the most serious of which were widespread corruption and a staggering state deficit. Both corruption


9.4 Political Parties and the debt were the result of a "blocked democracy," a political system in which parties' turnover in the government and opposition roles was very limited. This blocked democracy conflicted with the rate of change in the economy and the cultural realm.

Italian political parties have played a multifaceted role in Italian society, from the production of ideology to the representation of collective interests, from mass mobilization to selection of political representatives, from jobs in state institutions through a spoils system that extended from government parties to the major opposition party, to "patronage welfare" such as transfer payments to selected groups of citizens in exchange for political support. Political parties were the main organizing principle of Italian society in the period of economic reconstruction and political democratization, and they helped to integrate a sharply divided society and institutionalize democratic values and behavioural patterns. They remained major actors as growth and modernization ensued, building a system of political power and cultural influence that lasted for decades and are still present today, though sharply reduced and transformed through the emergence of new political actors. According to the "genetic" approach to the study of political parties (Rokkan, 1970), the party system created in Italy at the end of the Second World War ideologically elaborated the main cleavages that had marked the country's history: that between the bourgeoisie and the working class, which was at the basis of the political cleavage between right and left; that between religious and secular values and attitudes; and that between democracy and fascism. The latter cleavage separated all democratic parties, which wrote the constitution of the Italian republic, from the neo-fascist party. Of the other two cleavages, the major role in defining people's political identities, shaping the political discourse and mobilizing the electorate was the right-left polarization, which to some extent overlapped with the religious-secular one. The former, informed by the international confrontation between the US-led Western bloc and the USSR-led Soviet bloc, took on the meaning of "a synthesis of attitudes and positions on controversial matters" for both citizens and political leaders (Sartori, 1982). The right-left and, to a lesser extent, the religious-secular cleavages provided the basis for the ideological polarization between the two major parties. The party system was in fact defined as a "polarized pluralism" or an "imperfect two-party system," since it was dominated by the Christian Democrats (DC), the main government party, and the Communist Party (PCI), the main opposition party. The third largest party, the Socialist Party (PSI) and the smaller centrist parties (PRI, PSDI, PLI;


Mobilizing Institutions

see tables in section 11.1 for abbreviation key) were allies of the two major parties, while the right-wing minority of the monarchists (PNM) and the neo-fascists (MSI), remained in opposition. The DC's ideology was a blend of Catholicism and market economy, traditionalism and reform, continuity with the authoritarian past and sincere participation in the democratic process. It emerged as the leading political force, claiming to be the party of both all Catholics and all moderates, presenting itself as the bastion against communism, and playing a mediating role between the Catholic masses and the bourgeois state and culture. This successful performance gained the DC a permanent spot in the government until the 1994 elections. The DC'S organization was built mostly in the 1950s as a complex federation of party factions headed by national leaders with their strongholds in different parts of the country, and it relied on the assistance of the Catholic church and a huge network of supporting organizations. The Communist Party also developed a strong ideological subculture - a coherent, sometimes dogmatic and sometimes original interpretation of MarxismLeninism, elaborated mostly by Gramsci and Togliatti - a powerful network of supporting organizations (labour unions, co-operatives, the Union of Italian Women, the Youth Federation, etc.), and an extensive network of active centres of community life and political indoctrination (the "people's houses"). The large parties were built on grassroots local sections, provincial party organizations - the intermediary tier, which played a significant role in selecting candidates for local government - and the national assembly, which elected the party secretary and the central committee or governing board and defined strategies, which were approved in periodic party conventions. Since the 1960s, the two major parties and, to a lesser extent, the other parties consolidated their power in terms of membership, financial resources, access to power and participation in policy making, and control of relevant sectors of the economy and civil society. The Christian Democrats and the Socialists both increased their membership up to 1990; then, with trials for political corruption in full swing, membership dropped to very low levels (see table 1). The Communist Party followed a less linear trend: membership reached a peak in the years immediately after the end of the Second World War, then constantly declined, slowly until 1990, and then more quickly. At present, however, the post-communist PDS is still the largest party in terms of members, while the post-fascist AN is the fastest-growing. Since the 1950s, the ideological gap between the main government party and the main opposition party narrowed. The increasingly weak centre-left coalition


9.4 Political Parties

Table 1 Membership in political parties, 1950-94

1950 1960 1965 1970 1975 1985 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

Rifondazione Comunista"



112,278 119,094 121,055 120,000

2,112,593 1,792,974 1,615,296 1,507,047 1,730,453 1,595,281 1,264,790 989,708 769,944 690,414 700,000

855,291 1,470,923 1,613,314 1,738,996 1,732,501 1,444,568 1,959,735 1,390,918 813,753 233,377

Lega Nordb

Forza Italia0

RepuMSI-AN Liberali blicani Radicali

141,623 142,347 150,157 140,000 181,243 202,715 300,000 324,344

61,818 44,732 83,498 50,327 72,175 18,731 71,866 20,916


700,000 489,337 437,458 506,533 539,339 2,968 516,265 4,287 669,003 4,296 10,474 42,676 5,281

a. Established in 1991. b. Established in 1991. c. Established in 1994. Source: Ignazi and Katz, 1995.

governments began to discuss policy decisions with the PCI and granted it a considerable share in managing posts in public institutions (banks and state-controlled firms and, later, a television channel). In this situation of polarized pluralism, smaller parties found life difficult. The largest of them, the Socialist Party (PSl), tried to capitalize on its coalition power by allying itself with the Christian Democrats in the national government and with the Communist Party in many local administrations (after the 1983 election, the Socialists led the government coalition). As mentioned in the introduction, the political parties have had their high and low moments. They helped to create the conditions for economic development and political democratization, but they did not prove equally effective in managing the tensions and contradictions stemming from those processes and in governing the transformation of the country that took place from the end of the 1950s onward. In addition, they were responsible, to various degrees and in different ways, for the recently revealed pathologies in the Italian political system, the most serious of which were widespread corruption and a staggering deficit. At present, after decades of "unstable stability" (the average length of governments has been less than a year in the last 50 years), Italian politics is undergoing


Mobilizing Institutions

profound changes. As a result of the collapse of communism and domestic popular reaction to political corruption, the political equilibrium based on the complementary-conflictual relations between the two major parties is over. In the 1994 national elections, the former Christian Democratic Party lost almost two thirds of the vote, its membership sank to the lowest point in its history, and a few months later it split into opposing political formations. The other former government coalition parties, such as the PSI and the PRI, almost disappeared completely. The Partito Democratico della Sinistra (PDS), the former communist party, also lost votes and members and suffered a secession to the left. The political void was filled by new political formations, including the Northern League, which based its appeal on staunch opposition to the corruption of Rome's centralized government, and Forza Italia, the party led by Sylvio Berlusconi, a successful mass-media entrepreneur, who relied on his financial and media resources to build a loosely organized political organization. Alleonza nazionale (AN), the post-fascist party, also increased its electoral support. The 1994 elections - the first to take place with the new electoral law, which was a compromise between the people's demand for clear-cut majorities and more stable governments and the old parties' efforts to maintain their power and influence - were won by a mixed coalition composed of Berlusconi's party allied with the Northern League in the north and the post-fascist AN in the south, which captured most of the moderate and conservative votes. But this alliance broke down after a few months, with the Northern League joining the centre-left opposition parties in supporting a temporary government made up of nonparliamentary ministers and headed by the former director of the Bank of Italy and former Treasury minister in Berlusconi's government. The 1994 elections brought about a major turnover in members of Parliament: first-time members comprised 71%, while only 12% had served in at least three legislatures. Given that the 1992 elections had a 44% turnover, it is possible to state that after decades of stability and continuity Italy's political class underwent a profound change. This involved some changes in political attitudes and behaviours, but also less professional competence, since almost a third of the new members had no previous political experience (Cotta and Verzichelli, 1994). Such a complete changeover in representatives did not, however, bring about the muchdesired government stability. The Italian political system is searching for a new configuration, but the transition is difficult and likely to last longer than many would expect. Electoral reforms were supposed to reduce fragmentation of parties, but fragmentation actually increased: the DC, the PSI, and the smaller government parties "exploded" into many


9.4 Political Parties

fragments. The transformation of the PCI into the PDS and of the MSI into the AN also caused the rise of a medium-sized communist party to the left of the PDS and a tiny fascist party to the right of the AN. Alongside the two new major political formations, the Northern League and Forza Italia, are several smaller formations. Large sectors of the old "political class" and strong interest groups linked to them are resisting changes to the rules of the game and the power systems that provided them with so many benefits, while at the same time seeking compromises with the new political elite. Old and new economic and administrative elites are busy battling and compromising. In addition, some members of the new elite are not new at all, but "recycled" members of the old one, and many of the new political actors show a remarkable tendency to imitate the old ones, assimilating their practices in the exercise of power and consensus formation. Political parties became weaker. Membership dropped, with a few exceptions (see table 1), as did their financial resources, due both to the drop in membership and to tighter controls over illegal financing. Statements of revenues and expenditures of the main parties in the late 1980s and early 1990s revealed huge deficits (see table 2). This precarious situation forced parties to sell their properties, fire party officers and employees, and drastically reduce many activities that had been designed to win consensus. Parties now depend on public financing, distributed according to their popular vote obtained, for both electoral and general expenses.

Table 2 Statements of revenues and expenditure of the main political parties, 1987-93 (lire)

DC: 1987 1990 1993 PCI-PDS: 1987 1990 1993 PSl: 1987 1990 1993



Net balance for fiscal year

90,233,021,138 91,074,806,443 23,437,893,107

91,311,204,737 88,857,145,198 42,695,276,238

(1,078,183,599) 2,217,661,245 (19,257,383,131)

106,185,293,403 110,233,306,159 31,528,208,101

110,489,462,071 113,501,775,990 31,872,581,145

(4,304,168,668) (3,268,739,831) (344,373,044)

41,966,999,948 60,034,532,537 13,003,450,631

46,857,663,590 63,825,663,055 17,517,850,384

(4,890,663,642) (3,791,130,158) (4,514,390,753)

Source: Ignazi and Katz, 1995.


Mobilizing Institutions

Although Italians are still comparatively interested in politics, as shown, among other things, by their rate of participation in elections, political parties score low on the "prestige scale" in public-opinion surveys, mostly because of political corruption. The increasingly important role of television in winning support has made traditional strategies for gaining consensus largely obsolete. Electoral competition is increasingly based on personal confrontation among leaders than on an appraisal of policy proposals. That political parties will continue to play a role in Italy's representative democracy is beyond question, but they are trying to change their strategies and organizational structures to maintain their influence and to counteract and adapt to the appeal of "videocratic" democracy. The main problems in the Italian political system - fragmentation of parties, instability of governments, ineffectiveness of public policies, linkages between private and public interests - continue to exist, but the social and cultural contexts have changed, and so the political parties must change as well if they hope to survive. REFERENCES Allum, P. 1991 Democrazia reale. Stato e societa civile nell'Europa Occidentale. Padua: Liviana. Bartolini, S., and D'Alimonte, R. (eds.) 1995 Maggioritario, ma non troppo. Bologna: II Mulino. Caciagli, M., and Spreafico, A. 1990 Vent'anni di elezioni in Italia, 1968-1987. Padua: Liviana. Cotta, M., and Verzichelli, L. 1994 "The Ciris of Partitocrazia: The Italian Earthquake from the Political Elites' Point of View." Paper presented at Meeting on Political Parties: Changing Roles in Contemporary Democracies. Madrid. Galli, G. 1975 Ipartiti politici in Italia, 1861-1973. Turin: UTET. Hine, D. 1993 Governing Italy: The Politics of Bargained Pluralism. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Ignazi, P., and Katz, R. 1995 Politica in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Rokkan, S. 1970 Citizens, Elections, Parties. New York: MacKay. Sartori, G. 1982 Teoria dei partiti e caso italiano. Milan: Sugargo.


9.5 Mass Media

9.5 Mass Media The role of mass media increased in terms of both audience and time devoted to them and contributed to the cultural integration of a nation traditionally partitioned into different subcultures. A rapid change in information technologies affected the balance of power and influence between the variety of disposable media devices, fostering the increasing centrality of real-time and visual media over those based on the written word. Nevertheless, a complete substitution of traditional media by new media did not take place.

Over the last 40 years, Italians experienced not only increasing exposure to a growing number of mass media, but also various waves of technological change among the media. These waves affected the relative importance of the different media and their balance in term of audience and/or readers. Generally, the development of real-time information diffusion eroded the presence of more traditional information devices based on recorded information. Although a complete substitution of traditional media with new technological ones did not take place, the balance between them changed. For example, there is strong evidence that public opinion and mass culture are based increasingly on images and less on written messages. Moreover, educational levels seem to affect access to media more than does income or whether people live in the city or the country. Over the period under study, the mass media helped to transform popular culture from fragmented and locally based to unified and national (see introduction). The domestic mass media became more pluralistic as the number of newspapers and radio and television networks rose, although control over advertising agencies, the most important source of budgets for the mass media, did not. According to the first national survey on time budgets, Italians spent 43% of their free time listening to or watching mass-media devices in 1989, an average of more than two hours per day (ISTAT, 1995). On the other hand, daily newspapers were read by a minority of the adult population and most people over 65 years old never read newspapers (ISTAT, 1989). The number of newspapers increased moderately only during the first part of the 1990s, although the trend has not been constant, reaching moderate peaks in 1974, 1979, and 1982 (see table 1). Circulation was rather limited compared with that in other industrialized countries, and very unstable. The greatest circulation was reached in 1969, with a daily average of fewer than 8 million copies, for about


Mobilizing Institutions

Table 1 Circulation of daily newspapers and weekly magazines, 1963-93 (millions of copies per year)

1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993


Newspapers: Circulation

93 102 117 113 106 105 104 110 107 111 112 122 108 111 104 106 121 119

2,872 2,680 2,693 2,552 2,341 2,597 2,324 2,444 2,011 1,907 2,002 2,079

128 111 110 108 111 110 111 116 118 123 125 125

1,826 2,020 2,155 2,433 2,227 2,311 2,400 2,442 2,476 2,298 2,369 2,275


529 516 523 594 520 623 617 583 603 608 602 627 636 626 614 643 633

Magazines: Circulation

1,147 1,151 1,098 1,116 895 1,064 948 958 1,128 912 1048 1034 1078 1019 1051

Sources: ISTAT, Annuario di statistiche cultural!; Censis, Rapporto.

one copy per two households. The lowest circulation was registered in 1982, with one copy per 3.8 households. Daily newspapers are mainly local; only a tiny minority have national circulation. Target readers of Italian newspapers have an above-average education level, partly because the role usually played elsewhere by popular, cheap daily newspapers has been taken by periodicals in Italy. While no daily newspaper has ever had


9.5 Mass Media

a circulation of over one million, several weekly magazines have a circulation of two or three million and more. According to Censis (1994), the average number of readers of weekly magazines was about twice that of daily newspapers in 1993. The number of magazines increased in the late 1970s and then remained rather steady at around 600 titles (see table 1). Since the mid-1970s, overall circulation has varied from year to year, with a constant average of a little under 20 million copies weekly. Data are not available for the 1960s and early 1970s because weekly magazines were not desegregated from the total number and circulation of periodicals. Book production increased constantly over the last 30 years, in terms of both titles and copies published. At the beginning of the 1990s, the number of titles was around six times that of the early 1960s. As the number of copies published less than tripled over the same period, the average print run per book fell (see table 2). This was made possible because of diminishing publishing costs with the introduction of new technologies, such as word processors, and of a market for Italianlanguage books limited to within Italy's borders that could expand only in relation to the educational level of an increasingly educated population. Although a number of publications are printed in foreign languages, especially in English, the market for books is structurally domestic. Motion pictures were most heavily affected by the advent of television. While production and exports of movies fell, imports of movies increased, so that in 1992 almost half (48.1%) of the movies in the theatres were imported from the United States, while domestic production provided only 26.5% of the total. Broadcasts of movies also increased: in 1988, there were 5,400 film broadcasts; in 1993, there were 10,504 (Censis 1994). Moreover, the number of movie theatres dropped dramatically, especially once colour television sets became popular in the 1980s (see table 3). The number of movie tickets sold also dropped, from more than 800 million in the mid-1950s to a low of 83 million in 1992 (see table 3); but there has been an increase in recent years. Radio had been the main broadcasting medium since the 1920s and it did not suffer from its competition with television. Data reported in table 3 show the decreasing number of families who do not own a television who pay radio tax; these figures give only an indication of the changing relative importance of radio compared to television. The end of the economic boom in 1964 coincided with the definitive rise of the television over the radio in the Italian households. Nevertheless, since the end of the 1970s the hours of radio programming broadcast increased (see table 4), as did the number of transmitters, especially local ones. As a result, the radio audience had grew to 33 million people daily by 1993.


Mobilizing Institutions

Table 2 Books Published and Copies Printed (000) Year

Books published

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

8,111 7,401 7,539 7,478 9,476 8,953

Copies printed

Average print run per book

102,392 105,619 93,299 108,605 99,873 107,452 118,241 141,480 144,582 153,678 132,639 141,721 140,447 167,123 155,743 148,199 147,783 132,802 140,773 140,621 160,971 171,574 200,415 220,956 215,648 223,656 251,066

6,772 6,736 6,716 7,046 6,821 6,823 7,333 8,180 8,723 9,039 7,574 8,044 7,873 8,490 7,596 7,208 7,066 6,305 6,206 5,796 6,010 5,687 5,913 5,848 5,372 5,324 5,738

15,119 15,680 13,892 15,414 14,641 15,749 16,124 17,295 16,575 17,001 17,512 17,618 17,838 19,684 20,504 20,560 20,915 21,063 22,683 24,262 26,785 30,171 33,895 37,780 40,142 42,007 43,757

Source: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, various years.


9.5 Mass Media

Table 3 Radios and televisions owned and movie audiences, 1951-93 (000) Radios

1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

3,683 4,228 4,800 5,391 5,637 5,869 6,009 6,042 6,014 5,882 5,726 5,580 5,279 4,886 4,571 4,196 3,844 2,553 2,197 1,823 1,506 1,253 1,022 825 715

533 464 420


89 182 377 694 1,128 1,619 2,213 2,866 3,592 4,448 5,382 6,175 6,995 7,817 8,560 9,265 9,979 10,643 11,269 11,800 12,254 12,490 12,749 13,094 13,416 13,708 13,983 14,075 14,225 14,376 14,460 14,521 14,605 14,687 14,717 14,851 15,002 15,094 15,267 15,675

Colour TVs

605 1,275 2,042 2,922 3,707 4,599 5,469 6,293 7,319 8,111 8,856 9,824 10,787 11,873

Movie theatres

Tickets Sold

10,393 10,441 10,508 10,392 10,410 10,517 10,456 10,141 9,874 9,770 9,439 9,390 9,324 9,089 8,823 8,730 8,558 8,096 7,475 9,326 8,453 7,726 7,014 6,361 5,628 4,885 4,431 4,143 3,871 3,587 3,293 3,338 3,522 3,567

696,740 737,915 768,223 800,732 819,424 790,152 758,364 730,412 747,904 744,781 741,019 728,572 697,480 682,985 663,080 631,957 568,926 559,933 550,884 525,006 535,733 553,666 544,800 544,356 513,697 454,501 373,893 318,609 276,265 241,891 215,150 195,356 162,019 131,569 123,113 124,867 108,838 93,133 94,786 90,660 88,588 83,562 92,213

Sources: 1ST AT, Statistiche storiche dell'Italia 1861-1975, Rome; Rai Radio Televisione Italiana, Annuario, Turin: Nuova Eri, various years since 1976.


Mobilizing Institutions

Table 4 Television programming, 1990 and 1993

State-owned TV 1990 1993 News and culture (%) Entertainment (%) Films (%) Sport (%) Fiction (%) Cartoons (%) Other (%) Total (%) Total hours

35.8 15.2 16.4 12.3 15.2 2.8 2.3 100.0 18,012

35.1 21.5 15.1 9.8 14.3 1.8 2.4 100.0 26,020

Main private network (Fininvest) 1990 1993 9.3 21.8 14.5 4.4 42.4 7.5 0.1 100.0 20,954

15.9 29.8 20.0 3.8 21.5 4.5 4.5 100.0 26,277

Source; Censis, Rapporto sulla situazione sociale del Paese.

The first television broadcasts began in 1954, when ownership of a television set was limited to well-to-do families and was an important status symbol. Ordinary people could watch television in pubs and bars, so that exposure to this new medium was at first mainly collective. In 1962 a second channel was introduced, but it was also owned by the state. The number of those paying the television tax grew at an increasing rate in the 1960s (see table 1), although the data underestimate the real amount of TV watching because a large number of people did not pay their television tax. During the 1970s, black-and-white sets were progressively replaced by colour sets, and the state's broadcasting monopoly was ended by law in 1976. This led to the creation of several local networks. The presence of a television set in every household since the end of the 1970s definitively changed mass culture, contributing to the spread of the Italian language among family members and an abandonment of local dialects among lower social strata - at least in the younger generation. After a period of mergers and acquisitions, the development of a dominant private network in the 1980s created a kind of duopolistic competition with the state-owned network and introduced a new style of mass communication more focused on fiction and entertainment and heavily dependent on advertising, in contrast to the state-owned network's concentration on news, sports, and culture, - although there has been a converging trend (see table 4). Broadcast time on the public network has more than quadrupled since 1976 (see table 5) to keep up with the competition. The role of television has been emphasized by political ob-


9.5 Mass Media

Table 5 Hours of radio and television broadcasting per year, 1976-93 Year

Public radio

Public TV

Private TV (Fininvest)

1976 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

5,951 6,820 6,860 9,225 10,754 11,067 12,094 12,850 13,223 14,604 15,606 17,065 17,658 18,377 19,589 25,083 26,020


18,946 18,933 18,987 18,942 18,934 18,923 18,965 18,925 18,919 18,934 19,023 19,043 19,033 18,984 19,098 19,219

19,500 20,281 20,263 20,689 20,954 24,480 26,237 26,277

Sources: Rai Radio Televisione Italiana, Annuario, Torino: Nuova Eri; Censis, Rapporto sulla situazione sociale del Paese, Milan: Angeli.

Table 6 Advertising expenditures by type of media, 1979-93 (%) Year 1979 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993




Public TV

Private TV

Other media

30.4 23.2 22.4 22.8 22.9 23.2 24.3 25.0 24.0 23.5 23.5

31.2 19.8 19.3 20.0 20.5 19.7 19.4 18.2 16.9 16.4 16.0

7.3 4.1 3.8 3.6 3.5 3.5 3.4 3.4 3.3 3.2 3.3

12a2 14.a3 15.9 14.2 12.8 14.1 14.1 14.1 14.3 14.7 15.0

9.1 32.5 33.3 34.2 34.7 33.7 33.5 34.1 36.6 37.7 38.3

9.8 6.0 5.4 5.2 5.6 5.3 5.2 5.2 4.9 4.5 3.9

Source'. Censis, Rapporto sulla situazione sociale del Paese, Angeli, various years.


Mobilizing Institutions

servers and by the other mass media since the owner of the main private network was elected as prime minister in 1993. This election also raised for the first time the issue of the relationship between personal control over the media and the exertion of political power in a democratic regime. The degree of competition among the mass media is evident in some ways in table 6, which shows the advertising budgets devoted to each kind of media. The television networks increased their share at the expense of the other media, especially radio and magazines. Between the television networks, while the public one has maintained its relative position, the highest increase has been in favour of the private one. REFERENCES Censis 1994 Rapporto sulla situazione sociale del Paese. Milan: F. Angeli. Doglio, D., and Richeri, G. 1980 La radio, origine, storia, modelli. Milan: Mondadori. Dorfles, P. (ed.) 1993 Atlante della radio e della televisione, Quarant'anni di TV. Turin: RAI-VQPT. ISTAT

1989 "Indagine multiscopo sulle famiglie. Primo ciclo. Primi risultati." Notiziario ISTAT, April. 1995 Indagine multiscopo sulle famiglie italiane - L'uso del tempo. Rome. Livolsi, M. (ed.) 1992 Ilpubblico dei media. Florence: La Nuova Italia. Rath, C.D., et al. (eds.) 1990 Le televisioni in Europa. 2 vols. Turin: Edizioni della Fondazione Agnelli. Richeri, G. 1993 La TV che conta. Bologna: Baskerville. Silva, F, Gambaro, M., and Bianco, G.C. 1992 Indagine sull'editoria. Turin: Edizioni della Fondazione Agnelli. Wolf, M. 1985 Teorie delle comunicazioni di massa. Milan: Bompiani.

10 Institutionalization of Social Forces

Most social movements in postwar Italy were protest movements, backed or quickly taken up by socialist political forces. A prime example was the labour conflict that engendered the major movement of the 1960s and 1970s. A lack of institutionalization of union organization and recognition during the 1950s and the early 1960s, together with a policy of low wages, yielded a period of dramatic social unrest that resulted, in the late 1960s, in new, nontraditional forms of social conflict, a new leadership, and new kinds of alliances between social groups, such as workers and students. As stated in the introduction, the weakness of reform policies contributed to the radicalization of protest. Over the following decade, the unions partly assimilated this movement and made it more compatible with existing macro-economic and political constraints. The political system also reacted, so that the unions became deeply institutionalized and officially recognized as important components of a modern democracy. At the same time, new protest movements arose, similar to those in other industrialized countries. The women's, peace, and anti-nuclear movements are prime example of such movements, which were less influenced by the traditional left-wing ideology that was hegemonic till the end of the 1970s, although they sometimes used fairly radical forms of conflict. The end of ideological confrontation between the two international blocs therefore directly affected the behaviour, mobilization techniques, and ideological production of social movements. The postwar evolution of the union movement has suggested a more general theory of the cycle of interest representation according to which, when a social movement is founded, there are both internal trends toward bureaucratization that tend to establish specific interests of the apparatus, and external forces that tend to integrate it into the political system. The result, however, does not seem to be that foreseen by the "iron law of oligarchy," because the more members feel unrepresented by the apparatus, the more likely a new political entrepreneur will be in a position to organize a new movement that monopolizes unexpressed protest. This was the case for the emerging unionism of the 1980s.


Institutionalization of Social Forces

REFERENCES Melucci, A. (ed.) 1976 Movimenti di rivolta. Teorie e forme dell'azione collettiva. Milan: F. Angeli. Pizzorno, A. 1983 "Sulla razionalita della scelta democratica." Stato e mercato, no. 7.

10.1 Dispute Settlement There was a steady increase in litigiousness since the beginning of the 1970s, but it did not bring a proportional increase in the number of lawyers or of personnel in the justice system. The diminishing efficiency of court activity fostered the development of two kinds of complementary modes of dispute settlement: committees in which organized interests and different levels of the civil service can make decisions through official mediation, and arbitration, used increasingly in commercial and financial matters. The diffusion of material well-being and private ownership of cars and houses; the increasing level of mass education, bringing new awareness of personal legal rights; and the increasing complexity of social and economic relations among individuals and between citizens and the state were all important factors behind the steady increase in litigiousness in Italian society over the last 30 years. The number of civil cases brought before the courts more than doubled between 1966 and 1991, and the number of appeals grew by even more (see table 1). While during the 1960s and early 1970s, the number of cases remained constant at around half a million, the introduction of new proceedings in labour matters in 1973 and, to some extent, the introduction of the divorce law in 1970 are considered to be the main reasons for the booming use of the justice system by citizens over the last 20 years (Ronfani, 1988). This phenomenon was not accompanied by a similar increase in personnel in the justice system (see table 2). Between 1965 and 1985, the number of lawyers grew by 23% and the number of judges grew at a lower rate, exacerbating inefficiency in the administration of justice. As the number of cases that reached final judgment did not follow the increase in number of new civil lawsuits, the administration of justice had to confront increasing inefficiency throughout the period under study. Because of the constant


10.1 Dispute Settlement

Table 1 Numbers of civil cases in district courts, 1960-93


1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

Lower court cases: completed pending

495,585 459,296 439,673 472,028 482,701 459,091 438,897 455,901 447,765 471,557 502,585 521,188 551,056 524,097 569,429 660,848 655,960 652,238 607,051 759,288 803,421 812,062 868,919 755,332 847,080 810,612 837,912 933,090 962,182 1,019,298 1,137,245 1,159,140 964,648 990,298

477,909 413,480 418,191 413,342 418,191 446,655 428,719 448,265 459,949 454,006 438,106 466,844 482,163 441,907 580,664 585,077 602,266 627,683 581,769 751,980 781,237 773,581 802,830 656,780 777,591 776,743 767,207 807,200 820,318 842,654 944,963 997,839 779,381 912,284

594,006 639,822 661,304 719,990 784,500 796,936 807,114 815,114 802,930 812,693 873,144 921,129 977,180 909,815 975,312 1,127,017 1,149,318 1,172,395 ,094,658 ,282,815 ,301,080 ,446,653 ,403,632 ,372,087 ,514,250 ,547,864 • ,581,612 ,638,073 1,814,303 1,921,712 2,225,496 2,372,141 2,190,375 2,442,770

Source: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano, various years.

initiated 39,967 35,653 37,674 36,364 37,646 34,703 38,616 37,826 42,084 43,244 44,169 45,641 48,553 47,539 52,437 62,438 62,070 67,922 64,544 70,668 71,663 71,498 74,102 71,717 72,239 72,562 76,380 82,093 80,987 90,700 94,193 106,292 96,853 90,813

Court of Appeal: completed pending 38,735 33,919 35,593 34,219 33,654 33,990 35,017 34,045 38,554 39,551 40,466 40,076 41,241 40,115 54,543 59,618 61,731 65,930 59,687 65,748 68,259 65,816 70,829 64,424 62,924 64,089 66,350 68,763 66,749 65,364 76,74 87,914 78,530 88,306

59,760 61,494 63,575 65,720 69,712 70,425 74,024 77,581 81,111 84,804 88,507 92,562 98,220 45,780 99,631 104,530 105,110 105,511 101,183 116,786 118,879 125,167 127,388 132,712 139,208 148,016 155,932 166,444 183,499 203,855 229,058 245,680 255,728 266,464


Institutionalization of Social Forces

Table 2 Numbers of selected personnel in the justice system, 1965-92 Lawyers 1965 1985 1992

39,290 48,327


Court clerks

7,439 7,903


Source: Tousijn (1987); ISTAT, Rapporto annuale. La situazione del Paese, 1992.

increase in pending cases, which more than quadrupled over the last 30 years, the time span between the beginning of a case and the final judgment rendered was constantly over three years on average (see table 3). The inefficiency in the supply of justice was also related to inadequate regional distribution, because court districts were established before the postwar demographic transformations and the urbanization of the 1960s (Campigli, 1977). Two complementary mechanisms of dispute settlement and consent formation stepped in to counterbalance the increasing inadequacy in the justice system. One, which deals with the relationship between the civil service and society at large, consists of a proliferation of different kinds of committees whose function is official representation and mediation of organized interests within the civil service itself. According to the law that allowed for their creation, their main tasks are management, consulting, control, dispute settlement, and policy formation. There were about 22,000 of such committees at the end of the 1970s, well above the number of analogous bodies in other European countries (Cammelli, 1980). Many of them were established during the 1960s, as a consequence of the intense reform activities of the first centre-left coalition governments. Over time, the number of temporary committees dropped in favour of permanent ones. A more recent example of this phenomenon was the establishment of public agencies in the field of collective agreements and labour disputes, often related to efforts to reform labour relations in the civil service and control illegal strikes in the public utilities and the welfare sector. The other mechanism, developed in the 1980s in line with similar trends in other industrialized countries, is usually involved with disputes between corporate actors. It emerged through the organization of paralegal authorities and various forms of private arbitration, the time and cost of which are known in advance and whose judgments were quicker and cheaper than those in public courts. Moreover, arbitration can follow more flexible rules, the referees can be chosen by the contending parties according to specific competencies, and the trials are more confi-


10.2 Institutionalization of Labour Unions

Table 3 Average duration of trials, 1981-91 (days)

1981 1990 1991


Court of Appeal

Supreme Court

901 1,220 1,236

1,031 972 1,020

1,161 1,242 990

Source: ISTAT, Rapporto annuale. La situazione del Paese, 1992.

dential than those in public courts. For this last reason it is also impossible to gather precise data about this trend. All of these advantages are highly appreciated in industrial and financial litigation, where delays involved in traditional court judgments can entail serious losses for the plaintiff. The practice of private arbitration in Italy was fostered by the Italian Arbitration Association, founded in 1958, whose primary aim was to bring domestic legislation up to date with that of more advanced countries, in order to conform to the rules of international arbitration. However, it was only in 1983 that this was codified in law. REFERENCES Cammelli, M. 1980 L'amministrazione per collegi. Bologna: II Mulino. Campigli, L. 1977 Domanda e offerta di giustizia. Milan: Centre nazionale di prevenzione e difesa sociale, Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche. Ronfani, P. 1988 "Aspetti della giustizia civile." In ISTAT-AIS (ed.), Immagini della societa italiana. Rome: Poligrafico dello Stato. Tousijn, W. (ed.) 1987 Le libere professioni in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino.

10.2 Institutionalization of Labour Unions Institutionalization of labour unions increased throughout the period under study, starting in the period that culminated in the "hot autumn " at the end of the 1960s. It has meant centralization of bargaining and control over the labour


Institutionalization of Social Forces movements. Tertiarization of the economy and the need for flexibility in industry brought a new phase of decentralized bargaining activity in the 1980s.

The history of postwar unions is a good example of institutionalization of labourrelations movements at the national level. In the 1950s, labour relations at the firm level were not officially recognized and were conducted informally only in the largest plants. Labour relations at the national level were officially acknowledged, but the unions' position was very weak due to low membership rates and the absence of organization in most plants. At the beginning of the 1960s a new phase began because of workers' improved position on the labour market as a consequence of the rapid economic development of the previous decade (see chapter 4). The boom years coincided with the first timid attempts to modernize industrial relations through bargaining at sector level, especially in export-oriented sectors, and at firm level. With the agreements of 1962 and 1963, so-called articulated negotiation began to be used, by which sector agreements at the national level defined the issues to be specified in negotiation at the firm level. Shop stewards did not yet exist and union representatives at the local level played a major role in bargaining (Cella and Treu, 1989). During this period, the number of agreements at firm level was higher than at any other time in the 1960s (see table 1), although Table 1 Labour agreements at firm level in industry

1962 1963 1965 1967 1968 1971 1984-85 1985-86 1986-87 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

Number of agreements (estimate)

Number of employees covered (estimate, 000)

3,200 3,500

2,700 2,500 700 500 1,500 1,630

700 3,870 7,567

Sources: Cella and Treu (1989); CESOS, various years.

% of sampled firms signing agreements

36.7 40.0 33.9 38.6 35.6 30.8 18.8 23.7


10.2 Institutionalization of Labour Unions

data are not completely reliable because they are based only on educated guesses by unions leaders and not on systematic statistical findings. In spite of this development, union organizations were not rooted in the work place and the rate of union membership remained low (see section 9.1). A new phase began in 1968, characterized, as in other European countries, by very high levels of strikes and protests, at their most intense during the "hot autumn" of 1969, but continuing up to 1973. A new strong collective actor was created to fight not only for better economic and working conditions for employees, both blue- and white-collar workers, but also for recognition of its role and power from its counterparts (Accornero, 1992). In this phase, bargaining reached its highest degree of decentralization and its lowest level of institutionalization, because the new workers'-interests organizations inside the factories were replacing traditional union organizations at the local level. In the 1970s, trade unions had to face the effects of a dramatic economic crisis on employment levels. Starting in the mid-1970s, there was a notable reduction in available jobs, especially in large and medium-sized firms, where unions were more established. Restructuring strategies also affected the composition of the labour force, which was less and less centred on semi-skilled workers, who were the most widely unionized. As a result, bargaining was mostly defensive, in terms of both job levels and the purchasing power of wages in a period of high inflation. At the same time, union strategies became more collaborative and less demanding. Increased centralization of bargaining was the result of the crisis. Inside union organizations, the bottom level of representation in the firms lost power in favour of the external bureaucratic apparatus, whose bureaucrats were also divided according to the major parties' political cleavages. In the 1970s, the government urged that the unions moderate and centralize in exchange for political recognition and benefits (Cella and Treu, 1989). Bargaining was most centralized during the first half of the 1980s, when trilateral agreements were signed with Confindustria, the employers' association, and the government itself. During the second half of the 1980s, decentralization once again took place, not only because of the shortcomings of the centralized agreements, which caused unions to be increasingly dependent on political parties, but also because the emerging difficulties of representing an increasing differentiation of workers' interests, due to development of the service sector and the need of flexibility in industry at the central level (Regalia, 1995). Table 1 reveals the high level of institutionalization of unions at the firm level through the trend in the negotiation rate, which is the percentage of sampled firms in which agreements are signed in a given year. This rate is a more accurate indicator than is the number of agreements,


Institutionalization of Social Forces

because some firms may sign several single-issue agreements during the year, while others, usually larger ones, sign a smaller number of agreements, each covering several issues (De Sanctis, 1992). Available data show that at the beginning of the 1990s the negotiation rate was declining in industry and increasing in other sectors, such as services, banking, and transport (CESOS, 1992). REFERENCES Accornero, A. 1992 La parabola del sindacato. Bologna: II Mulino. Baglioni, G. 1989 "II sistema delle relazioni industrial! in Italia: caratteristiche ed evoluzione storica." In G. Cella and T. Treu (eds.), Relazioni industriali. Manuale per I'analisi dell'esperienza italiana. Bologna: II Mulino. Cella, G. 1989 "Criteria of Regulation in Italian Industrial Relations." In P. Lange and M. Regini (eds.), State, Market and Social Regulation: New Perspectives on Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cella, G., and Treu, T. 1989 "La contrattazione collettiva." In G. Cella and T. Treu (eds.), Relazioni industriali. Manuale per I'analisi dell'esperienza italiana. Bologna: II Mulino. CESOS 1992 Le relazioni sindicali in Italia. Rome: Edizioni Lavoro. De Sanctis, A. 1992 "Contrattazione aziendale." In cesos, Le relazioni sindacali in Italia. Rome: Edizioni Lavoro. Regalia, I. 1995 "Rappresentanza del lavoro e contrattazione in Europa." In A.M. Chiesi, I. Regalia, and M. Regini (eds.), Lavoro e relazioni industriali in Europa. Rome: La Nuova Italia Scientifica.

10.3 Social Movements The evolution of social movements was constantly affected by their strong relationship with left-wing parties, which gave a traditional connotation of protest to collective action. After an "incubator" phase in the early 1960s came a rev-


10.3 Social Movements olutionary phase during which the highest level of mobilization was reached. The subsequent drop in activity has been explained by an upsurge of terrorism and widespread disappointment in the efficacy of collective action. The 1980s saw a progressive integration of new movements into the political sphere, coinciding with the decline of traditional parties.

It is difficult to trace a clear-cut distinction between liberation and protest movements in Italy. By definition, the aim of the former is mainly to raise the status of a disadvantaged social category, while the aim of the latter is mainly to fight for a different governmental policy or even a different political and institutional regime. This analytical partition cannot be applied easily to changes in a complex phenomenon over a 30-year period, especially because liberation movements were usually backed by the traditional opposition parties and were therefore substantially affected by the ideology of the left and shared the features of a protest movement, especially from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. A good example of this is the peace movement, which was mainly aligned with the Communist Party during the period of international confrontation between the two blocs. For these reasons, protest movements were more important than liberation ones in postwar Italy. If we look at the evolution of an entire family of movements that have been often closely related and sometimes officially linked, such as the workers', students', women's, environmental, and peace movements, we can see a transformation that has been summarized into four phases (della Porta and Rucht, 1992). The evolution is evidence of the slow transformation from increasing radicalism to progressive integration into the political sphere. The first phase, lasting from 1960 to 1966, has been called the "incubator of protest." During this period, unions received their first institutional acknowledgment, and when the Socialist Party gained power in the government a more permissive attitude toward social dissent was developed. Radical and elite opposition to the traditional leftist parties emerged in some large factories and in intellectual circles in universities. The leaders of the subsequent revolutionary phase (1967-76) came from these circles; they organized the first social movement in postwar Italy: the student protest. The fact that this was not a liberation movement was evident in its purpose of melding anti-authoritarian claims with a "revolution of the working class." The alliance between students and workers was the target of the nation-wide unrest of 1968, when there was a dramatic variety of actions, among which strikes become a less important way of expressing dissent, and the protest movement had the typical bell shape, with a peak around 1969-70 (see table 1).


Institutionalization of Social Forces

Table 1 Strikes and other collective actions, 1966-73

Public display (march, meeting) Workplace assembly Routine action (e.g., petition) Confrontation Violent encounter Attack on property Attack on persons Total strikes Total other collective actions Ratio of other actions to strikes









31 10 13 32 20 12 2 127 120 0.94

28 15 15 15 5 4 3 117 85 0.73

78 40 37 52 3 13 4 196 257 1.31

107 69 59 118 18 28 19 306 418 1.36

97 84 88 72 23 19 9 319 392 1.22

110 59 77 70 34 12 10 416 372 0.89

78 43 87 31 16 3 4 269 262 0.97

74 33 14 33 15 8 6 224 183 0.82

Source: Stefanizzi and Tarrow (1989).

The women's rights movement, which began a few years later, was also strongly related to traditional left-wing parties, and for this reason it turned very early from an organization of self-help groups concerned with issues such as contraception and health to a strong movement in which women's problems were seen as structural contradictions of capitalism, such as exploitation of women in the work place, and the imperialism of male values (Ergas, 1982). During this period, while the emergent social movements considered the Communist Party to be their natural ally, the party tried to integrate the protest into a political strategy of social reforms. This was not successful because of the increasing radicalization of social conflict, which brought major street clashes with the police, and often clashes with the emerging neo-fascist counter-movements. The climate was further poisoned by recurrent terrorist attacks, the perpetrators of which remain unknown after long trials charging right-wing terrorists and members of the secret service with the crimes. In the following period (1977-83), mass movements diminished their activity, with the exception of a broadly based but short student protest in 1977 and the birth of the anti-nuclear and peace movement (protest against the installation of the American missile base in Sicily in 1983). As has been empirically demonstrated (Tarrow, 1989), behind this declining mobilization was an upsurge in terrorist activity by clandestine organizations, culminating with the kidnapping and assassination of the president of the Christian Democratic Party by the Red Brigades in 1978. In that year, there were more than 200 terrorist acts. On the other hand, a campaign of terrorist attacks in public places against common people began in


10.3 Social Movements

1969, when a bomb exploded in a bank in Milan, and culminated in 1980, with the slaughter at the Bologna railway station in which 85 people were killed (see table 2). This situation seriously inhibited any protest activity at the collective level (della Porta and Rucht 1992). Most social movements were affected by a kind of mass disappointment over the result of collective activity and mobilization, while a number of leaders of extreme-left movements joined clandestine organizations to fight the system. It was said that among militants in the early 1980s there was a widespread belief in a possible civil war alongside the mistrust in the efficacy of progressive reforms (Melucci, 1984). In the last phase (since 1984), there were deep changes in left-wing libertarian movements. The decline of the student movement and the collapse of the socialist bloc left room for a more pragmatic and integrated collective behaviour. The most important feature was the growth of ecological movements, which reached their highest level of mobilization in 1986, when 150,000 persons demonstrated in Rome against the Chernobyl disaster. Since 1983, membership in these movements boomed (see table 3): membership in the World Wildlife Federation increased from 30,000 in 1983 to 120,000 in 1987, while that in the Lega dell'ambiente doubled from 1983 to 1986. In the 1985 election, the Greens got 2.1% of the votes; they entered Parliament in 1987, when their share of the vote reached 2.5%. Five years later, the movement received 2.8% of the vote in the election for the

Table 2 Number of persons killed and injured by terrorism, 1969-81 Persons killed

Persons injured

21 11 6 10 11 33 21 17 23 38 36 135 24

628 432 507 394 221 613 312 173 247 407 272 334 n.a.

1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 Source: della Porta (1990).


Institutionalization of Social Forces

Table 3 Membership in environmental organizations, 1983-91 Members (000)

1983 1986 1988 1991

9T~ 192 322 282

Source: Diani (1995).

Chamber of Deputies. During the 1990s, in spite of a diminishing rate of membership increase and a propensity to split into different groups according to ideological cleavages, the environmental movements succeeded in having a ministry for the environment established. Ecological issues are now part of the official programme and propaganda of different political parties. The same is true for the women's movement (see table 4). Although the movement began in the 1970s, its development in terms of membership and impact on civil society was more recent and coincided with the emancipation of the movement from the traditional left-wing parties. Nevertheless, its most important accomplishments were in the 1970s, as a part of a more general modernization of Italian society. Until the mid-1970s, the civil code, approved during the fascist regime, stated that the husband was the chief of the family and the wife was obliged to follow him wherever he wanted to establish his dwelling. The massive entry of women into the labour market (see section 3.4), made the traditional family relationships outdated, and a new family law was passed in 1975 that mandated juridical equality of husband and wife. Moreover, the introduction of divorce, which gave rise to the counter-movement of an abrogation referendum inspired by the Catholic movement, and the introduction of legal abortion, which was long debated in subsequent years, were all important stages in this transformation. In the 1980s the women's movement focused on the introduction of positive actions not only on the job (Pari e dispari, 1992), but also in politics. In spite of these efforts, only 8.1% of those elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1992 and 9.5% of those elected to the Senate were women (Rossi Doria, 1994). Finally, a recent and specific kind of social movement is represented by the organization of demonstrations against organized crime in southern regions, as a mean of resisting the Mafia upsurge on social and cultural grounds. In this field of collective action, a central role is played by the Catholic movement.


10.3 Social Movements

Table 4 Main advances in women's rights 1945 1960 1963 1970 1974 1975 1978 1977 1991 1993

Voting rights Equal pay Women can become judges Divorce Defeat of anti-divorce referendum Husbands are no longer "chief of the family" by law Legal abortion Equal opportunities on the job Introduction of affirmative action in the working place Introduction of gender quotas in the election of candidates for mayor

Source: author's compilation.

REFERENCES Battistelli, F. 1990 / movimenti pacifisti e antinucleari in Italia. 1980-1988. Gaeta: Rivista militare. Catalini, P. 1993 Uguali, anzi diverse, i nuovi obiettivi legislativi oltre le pari opportunita. Rome: Ediesse Cella, G. 1979 // movimento degli scioperi nel XX secolo. Bologna: II Mulino. Delia Porta, D. 1990 // terrorismo di sinistra. Bologna. II Mulino. 1992 "Movimenti sociali e sistema politico. Un confronto tra Italia e Germania." Rivista italiana di scienza politica, no. 3. Delia Porta, D., and Rucht, D. 1987 "I militanti delle organizzazioni clandestine di sinistra in Italia" Rivista italiana di scienza politica, no. 1. Diani, M. 1995 Green Networks. A Structural Analysis of the Italian Environmental Movement. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Ergas, Y. 1982 "1968-1979. Feminism and the Italian party System. Women's Politics in a Decade of Turmoil." Comparative Politics, no. 2-3. Franzosi, R. 1994 The Puzzle of Strikes: Class and State Strategies in Postwar Italy. Rutgers University Press


Institutionalization of Social Forces

Lange, P., Irvin, C., and Tarrow, S. 1990 "Mobilization, Social Movements and Party Recruitment: the Italian Communist Party since the 1960s." British Journal of Political Science, no. 1. Lodi, G. 1984 Uniti e diversi. La mobilitazione per la pace nell'Italia degli anni '80. Milan: Unicopli. Melucci, A. 1984 "La sfida della pace." In G. Lodi, Uniti e diversi. La mobilitazione per la pace nell'Italia degli anni '80. Milan: Unicopli. Pari e dispari (ed.) 1992 Donne, azionipositive, la nuova legge italiana, I'esperienza Italtel. Milan: F. Angeli. Rossi Doria, A. 1994 "Una rivoluzione non ancora compiuta." In Paul Ginsborg (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: II Saggiatore-Bruno Mondadori. Stefanizzi, S. 1988 "Alle origini dei nuovi movimenti sociali: gli ecologisti e le donne in Italia, 19651973." Quaderni di Sociologia, no. 36. Stefanizzi, S., and Tarrow, S. 1988 "The Regulation of Protest: The Interaction of State and Social Regulation in the Cycle of 1966/73." In P. Lange and M. Regini (eds.), State, Market and Social Regulation: New Perspectives on Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tarrow, S. 1989 Democracy and Disorder. Protest and Politics in Italy 1965-1975. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1990 "The Phantom of the Opera: Political Parties and Social Movements of the 1960s and the 1970s in Italy." In R.J. Dalton and M. Kuechler (eds.), Challenging the Political Order. New Social Movements in Western Democracies. Cambridge: Polity Press.

10.4 Interest Groups In spite of a centralized state apparatus and a system of popular political parties and large unions, Italian political life continued to be traditionally influenced by highly fragmented interests that exerted profoundly, and often insidiously, influenced state actions. The composition of interest groups was affected by transformations of the economy. The diminishing importance of agriculture has progressively weakened the organized interest groups of small


10.4 Interest Groups farmers. The development of industrialization gave increasing power and influence to industrial employers, while the recent tertiarization of the economy favoured the emergence of new professional groups.

Although they are considered very important in influencing government decisions at both the central and local levels, little is known about the activities and organization of interest groups. This is because lobbying activity is not recognized by law, it has always been insufficiently regulated, and it is commonly viewed with suspicion by public opinion. When the first law about financial aid to political parties by the state was passed in 1974, a number of limitations were introduced regarding contributions by individuals and organizations, but these were not matched with effective control measures. The result was that influencing government decisions was usually considered an underground activity, sometimes even cloaked in secrecy and affected by corruption, as the increasing number of scandals concerning the interplay between organized interests and government decisions demonstrated (Chiesi, 1995). According to Lange and Regini (1989: 255), "The Italian system is overwhelmingly characterized by decision-making institutions that are highly permeable and/ or decision processes in which inputs are highly desegregated and outputs fragmented and relatively isolated from one another." Throughout the period under study, the system of interest representation was dominated by mass parties and relatively centralized interest organizations, which were linked to the parties. In spite of this institutional situation, the action of a centralized state was heavily influenced by fragmented interests that exerted their will either through state action or through evasions that were not impeded by, and were sometimes incorporated into, state policy. Although it cannot be proved by empirical trends, scholars agree that, following an attempt to introduce neo-corporatist relations in the second half of the 1970s, the 1980s saw an increasing fragmentation of interest representation through the emergence of new interest groups and an increase in the traditional adoption of particularistic and patronage practices (La Palombara, 1964; Paci, 1989). Apart from the unions (see section 9.1), the most influential interest groups are the employer associations. Confindustria is the leading confederation of industrial firms; over the last 30 years it amassed a rather stable membership of about 80,000 firms accounting for around 2.5 million jobs (see table 1). The largest membership was reached in 1966, in the years after the economic boom, but the subsequent period of labour unrest negatively affected the number of members, which reached its lowest point in 1982, the last year for which data are available (Martinelli, 1994).


Institutionalization of Social Forces

Table 1 Membership in Confindustria and total number of employees of members, 1960-82 Members

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982

81,055 81,102 82,565 82,837 79,821 78,060 91,179 87,615 85,356 83,245 84,584 85,924 85,098 85,281 85,375 86,025 88,208 87,612 81,155 80,452 80,600 80,829 80,082

Employees 2,343,816 2,440,716 2,549,190 2,599,053 2,501,778 2,390,632 2,468,957 2,443,013 2,420,305 2,467,799 2,506,240 2,544,681 2,556,083 2,549,517 2,594,517 2,654,084 2,862,786 2,832,749 2,737,627 2,693,201 2,696,434 2,652,015 2,589,658

Source: Confindustria, Assemblea annuale dei delegati delle associazioni aderenti. Rome.

Confindustria's monopoly on representation of business interests was challenged after the end of the Second World War by the creation of other associations that specialized in representation of more specific interests, exploiting Confmdustria's difficulty with mediating between small and big business, the latter being traditionally more influential inside the confederation. Confapi was founded in 1947 to represent only small business. Artisan firms were traditionally represented by three different confederations, politically oriented and related to the main parties. Their overall membership in 1980 was about 740,000 firms. The increasing direct intervention by the state in the economy since the 1960s (according to economic historians [Cianci, 1977] the state itself had played the role


10.4 Interest Groups

of entrepreneur in the economic development of Italy since the end of the nineteenth century) also brought the foundation of business associations representing the interests of state-owned corporations. The role of these associations was especially significant in the 1960s and 1970s, when they were keen to sign agreements with the unions for reasons of political consent, in opposition to Confmdustria's more uncompromising position. In the agricultural sector, the lack of market competition, due to the prevailing economic role played by small farmers, and state protection of the traditional middle classes in the postwar period produced a system of interest representation that was relatively well integrated between the state and the associations, which were compulsory and highly politicized (Chiesi and Martinelli, 1989). In this sector, therefore, are strong state-association relations typical of the Italian co-operative movement and of artisans in general. Classic studies on organizations such as Coldiretti (La Palombara, 1964) demonstrated not only the importance of mechanisms of social consensus and political stability, but also the possibility of influencing the political sphere through what has been called parentela (literally, "kinship"), a term used to designate a "close and integral relationship between certain associational interest groups, on one hand, and the politically dominant Christian Democratic Party, on the other" (La Palombara, 1964: 306). Nonetheless, while industrialization weakened the power and influence of farmers' associations, the increasing tertiarization of the economy in the 1980s gave rise to new professional associations. Although it is impossible to give data about this trend, it is a fact that interest groups in the professions increased in both number and membership. The reason for this was their increasing role in the service economy - both traditional professions, such as lawyers, doctors, architects, and engineers, and new ones, such as business, tax, and labour consultants, psychologists, social workers, sociologists, nurses, and even astrologers. The latter groups have been lobbying for the official recognition by the state through institution of a register for the profession. REFERENCES Chiesi, A.M. 1995 "I meccanismi di allocazione nello scambio corrotto." Stato e mercato, no. 43. Chiesi, A.M., and Martinelli, A. 1989 "The Representation of Business Interests as a Mechanism of Social Regulation." In P. Lange and M. Regini (eds.), State, Market and Social Regulation. New Perspectives on Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Institutionalization of Social Forces

Cianci, E. 1977 Nascita dello stato imprenditore in Italia. Milan: Mursia. Lange, P., and Regini, M. (eds.) 1989 State, Market and Social Regulation. New Perspectives on Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. La Palombara, J. 1964 Interests Groups in Italian Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Martinelli, A. (ed.) 1994 L'azione collettiva degli imprenditori italiani. Milan: Edizioni di Comunita. Paci, M. 1989 "Public and Private in the Italian Welfare System." In P. Lange and M. Regini (eds.), State, Market and Social Regulation. New Perspectives on Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Schmitter, P., and Lanzalaco, L. 1988 "L'organizzazione degli interessi imprenditoriali a livello regionale." Stato e Mercato, no. 22. Zan, S. 1992 Orgamizzazione e rappresentanza. Rome: Nuova Italia Scientifica.

11 Ideology

In the half-century since the Second World War, Italy has transformed itself from a relatively poor, partially industrialized, and autarchic society into a wealthy market economy and a firmly democratic nation. The process took place through harsh conflicts and political pathologies, such as a blocked political regime, a huge state budget deficit, and widespread corruption, but it was a quite remarkable and successful change. Ideologies played an important role in the process. The constitutional pact that lies at the foundation of the Italian Republic was signed by the strongly ideological political parties that expressed the three major political subcultures, the Catholic, the Marxist, and the Liberal. Although they were in harsh competition, they helped to institutionalize the values and practices of the newborn democracy and organize the consensus necessary for economic growth and political stabilization. Although ideological differences have declined through the years, the "rightleft" cleavage is still the most important one in defining political attitudes and voting preferences. Secularization has reduced the influence of religious institutions and norms of behaviour, but Catholic values are still an important component of contemporary Italian culture. As industrialization and modernization progressed, the parties did not prove equally able to manage the resulting tensions and contradictions, while the costs of their political mediation increased. As mentioned in the introduction, pathologies of the political system such as the large state deficit and corruption were to a large extent the result of a "blocked democracy" and almost frozen roles for the government and opposition parties. Those pathologies help to explain why Italians' confidence in institutions in recent decades has been constantly lower than in other Western democracies. Italians show both less confidence in the existing institutions and higher rates of participation in elections - that is, they are deeply dissatisfied with their government's policies, but they are confident in the democratic process as presenting a major opportunity for change.



More controversial than acceptance of the values and institutional arrangements of a representative democracy has been internalization of the values and attitudes typical of a market economy. Here, the hegemonic role of the Catholic and Marxist political subcultures made overt acceptance of such liberal values as private enterprise and market competition more difficult than in other Western countries. In Italy, there has been a more widespread attitude favouring various forms of state intervention in the economy - from income policy to public control of major economic sectors - and a greater propensity to ask for more state expenditures in social welfare. However, when we observe actual behaviour rather than opinion surveys, we find that Italians have now fully accepted market institutions and values into their daily lives.

11.1 Political Differentiation From 1953 to 1992, there was "unstable stability" - weak governments coupled with a very resilient political class. Since the early 1990s, changes in the Italian political system have been particularly rapid and political subcultures have been weakened as traditional political preferences - two factors that had previously hampered voting flexibility leading to political stasis. The most interesting aspects are the appearance of new parties on the political scene and the renovation of the political class.

Since the Second World War, electoral options always included at least seven or eight parties (DC, PCI, PSI, MSI, PRI, PSDI, and PLI), covering virtually the entire political spectrum. Voters' choices were traditionally made so as to ensure a certain stability in the balance of power between political forces (see tables 1 and 2). The predictability of election results was a recurring factor throughout the postwar period in all major studies. It is worth recalling here the definition of the Italian political scene by Jane and Andrew Carey in 1958: "Unstable stability in an unstable world." In a 1966 study, Giorgio Galli concluded that "Italian elections made their only possible statement some fifty years ago." These assertions are based on the fact that in the context of observable economic development and the consequent social and cultural changes, it was difficult to understand how voting behaviour contrasted starkly with changes taking place within the country. Various interpretations have been advanced to explain the lack of correlation between voting behaviour and societal change. Some scholars felt that the continu-


11.1 Political Differentiation

Table 1 Political elections (Chamber of Deputies, Parliament), 1946-72

Votes and ballots: Voters Abstentions Valid votes Invalid votes Invalid votes, blanks Invalid votes, ballots Political parties: DC PCI PSI

1946 %

1948 %

Year of election: 1953 1958 1963 % % %

89.1 10.9 92.2













7.8 2.6 5.2

2.2 0.6 1.6

4.6 1.5 3.1

2.9 1.6 1.3

3.2 1.8 1.4

35.2 18.9 20.7

48.5 31.0

40.1 22.6 12.7

42.3 22.7 14.2

38.3 25.3 13.8

39.1 26.9 14.5

7.1 2.5 3.8 2.0 2.8 0.5

4.5 1.6 3.0 5.8 6.9 0.5

4.6 1.4 3.5 4.8 4.8 0.5

6.1 1.4 7.0 5.1 1.7 0.4

2.0 5.8 4.5 1.3 0.5

9.6 5.1 2.9 3.9 8.7 0.5

0.6 1.3


0.7 0.5

0.1 0.8

0.1 1.0

0.1 1.5


4.4 6.8


Monarchic! PPST



5.3 1.5 2.6 1.8

Partito D'Azione Other parties that obtained seats Other parties that failed to obtain seats

1968 %

1972 %



3.6 1.9

3.2 1.7

38.7 27.1

Source: Authors' calculations from istat, Elezioni della Camera del deputati e del Senate della Repubblica, Rome, 1989.

ity and stagnation in Italian politics were due to economic development having occurred too recently to have any impact on political choices (Tarrow, 1969). Others maintained that beneath the apparent political stability was an undercurrent of turbulence, the signs of which were evident in the behaviour of younger generations (Abramson, 1971). Still other scholars argued that the political stasis was due to non-economic factors such as the influence of political subcultures that fostered "Catholic" and "Socialist" loyalties (Parisi and Pasquino, 1977). In a famous study carried out at the end of 1960 on Italians' voting tendencies, the researchers wrote, Our interpretation is based on the particular influence of the Socialist and Catholic subcultures and political tradition they bring to bear on the electorate's political preferences ... It is



Table 2 Political elections (Chamber of Deputies, Parliament), 1976-92 (%)

Political parties


DC PCI PDS Rif. Comunista PSI

38.71 34.37 9.65 6.11 3.37 3.09 1.30 1.51 0.50 1.07 -



Lista Pannella Lista Referendum Fed. dei Verdi La Rete-Mov. Dem. UV-UVP-D.POP.-PLI PDUP PCI-PSI-PDUP

Associazione per Trieste Liga Veneta-P.U.a Partito Sardo d'Azione UV-ADP-PRIb

Lega Aut. Veneta Lega Lombarda CPA

Federalismo-Pens. U.V. Lega Valle d'Aosta Partito Pensionati Liste Verdi Other lists that failed to obtain seats Valid votes Invalid votes (out of total) Voters (out of total electors) a

In 1983: Liga Veneta.


In 1983: UV-ADP-DP

0.07 0.23 100.0 2.74 93.41

Years of political elections: 1979 1983 1987


38.17 30.27 9.77 5.25 3.83 3.02 1.94 0.56 3.44 0.09 1.36 0.18 0.34 1.79 100.0 4.13 90.64

31.69 17.20 5.99 14.55 5.74 2.90 4.69 3.05 0.54 1.32 0.87 2.98 1.99 0.41 9.24 0.53 0.42 0.11 0.60 0.19 1.82 100.0 5.30 87.36

32.93 29.89 11.44 6.81 4.09 5.08 2.89 1.47 0.50 2.19 0.34 0.25 0.08 2.04 100.0 5.82 88.97

34.31 26.57 14.27 5.91 2.96 3.70 2.10 1.66 0.52 2.56 0.77 0.44 0.11 0.48 2.51 1.11 100.0 4.94 88.86

Source: Authors' calculations from ISTAT, Eleiioni della Camera dei deputati e del Senato della Repubblica, Rome,



11.1 Political Differentiation

Legend of abbreviations for political parties (tables 1 and 2) ADN ADP ASS. per TS. DC Dem. Pop. DP IS MSI MSI-DN PCI PDIUM PDUP PLI PMN PMP PPST PR PRI PS d'Az. PSDI PSI PSIUP PSU RV UCI UDN UQ uv UVP

Alleanza Democratica Nazionale Alleanza Democratica Progressista Associazione per Trieste Democrazia Cristiana Democrazia Popolare Democrazia Proletaria Indipendenti di Sinistra Movimento Sociale Italiano Movimento Sociale Italiano-Destra Nazionale Partite Comunista Italiano Partito Democratico Italiano di Unita Monarchica Partito di Unita Proletaria per il Comunismo Partito Liberate Italiano Partito Monarchico Nazionale Partito Monarchico Popolare Partito Popolare Sud-Tirolese Partito Radicale Partito Repubblicano Italiano Partito Sardo d'Azione Partito Socialista Democratico Italiano Partito Socialista Italiano Partito Socialista di Unita Proletaria Partito Socialista Unificato Raggruppamento Valdostano Unione Combattenti d'Italia Unione Democratica Nazionale Fronte dell'Uomo Qualunque Unione Valdostana Unione Valdostana Progressista

in those areas where political tradition is so deeply rooted as to be an intrinsic family tradition (the white and red political groupings) where the Catholic vote and the Socialist vote are handed down from father to son ... In those areas where integration between the family and the environment - in terms of how society, behaviour models, and socialization models are perceived - is relatively high ... that the hegemonous parties have fertile soil for their hegemony. (Galli et al., 1968, pp. 49, 73, 320.) From 1975 to 1985, the first signs of more radical changes that were to affect the Italian political scene in subsequent years became apparent. Although the proportion of votes that might be described as "loyalty votes" remained extremely high, the elections held in the latter part of the 1970s showed a reversal in the trend



that had held firm in the past. This reversal was visible both in the dominance of the two major political parties and in terms of political stability. Whereas in 1976 the Christian Democrats and PCI accounted for some three quarters of the votes and more than two thirds of the entire electorate, in 1979 the predominance of the DC and PCI as the joint preferences of the voting majority began to fall away, reaching its lowest historic point ever in the 1992 elections, while the Socialist Party's (PSI) electoral support grew from 10% to 11%, exploiting its coalition power: in fact, the elections of April, 1992, brought some significant changes in Italian politics, with a few changes in electoral rules - the single preference was introduced in the place of multiple preferences - and a certain turnover of candidates. Prior to these elections, Italy was gradually moving toward consolidation of a political majority formed by the DC and the Socialist Party. In 1992, for the first time, the DC's share of the vote fell below 30% (down 4.6% from its 1987 result), while the Socialists's slightly grew (from 14.3% to 14.5). Overall, all parties of the previous government coalition lost some one third of their votes in the north and gained negligibly in the south and on the islands. The decline in "bipolarity" highlighted a dramatic loss of traditional aggregate ability on the part of the two major parties, and therefore the growing irrelevance of voting allegiances deriving from traditional subcultural political affiliations. No other party was able to take the place of the two major parties at this time, with the partial exception of the "Leagues" that had emerged in northern Italy, particularly Lombardy (see tables 1 and 2). The most relevant change in the 1992 elections was the emergence of a new party, the Lega Nord (Northern League), which successfully exploited many voters' unfocused dissatisfaction with traditional party system. Although the Lega's structure and organization were similar to those of the traditional parties, it conveyed the image of a new movement, drawing on anti-immigration, anti-southerner and the anti-centralized-government sentiments, and found broad consensus among diverse strata of the population in terms of age, social grouping, and geographic area in the northern part of the country. The increasing preference for this new party has been interpreted as the natural result of the death of the two-party system: the vacuum of "automatic political allegiance" caused by the loss of natural identity with the traditional parties (subcultures) by a part of the electorate may be filled by a political ideology that redefines the voters' collective territorial context (Mannheimer, 1991). In conjunction with the electoral decline of the DC and PCI from the 1970s onward, the number of electors who voted differently from one election to the next increased substantially. Studies of electoral swings suggest that there was a rapid rise in voting oscillations, both in the major cities and at the national level (Corbetta and


11.1 Political Differentiation

Parisi, 1988; Biorcio and Natale, 1989). This factor, allied to the declining electoral success of the DC and the PCI, led to increased fragmentation of the political spec trum. Between 1972 and 1992, there was a considerable reorganization of the poli ical field: the vote for the traditional parties declined from 87% to 68%, with the vote for the two major parties, DC and PDS, alone dropping from about 75% in 1976 to below 50% in 1992 (see table 3). On the other hand, "protest" votes for new par ties and abstentions rose from a negligible 13% to one third of the total vote. The emergence of new parties and the rising number of abstentions expressed the most significant electoral change in recent years, showing Italians' increasing dissatisfaction with traditional political methods. "Old" parties have been accused of being "undemocratic" in the way they "handed out important positions, carving up public resources at every level, incapable of representing voters' real wishes" (Caciagli and Spreafico, 1990, p. xiv). After the 1992 elections, the Northern League represented the new feature of the Italian political arena, becoming the repository, particularly in the north, of deeply felt dissatisfaction among the electorate. It was unable, however, to bring about a long-term redefinition of party alliances at the national level, mostly because its influence and votes were confined to the northern part of the country, pre venting it from being a fully national political actor. The real turning point in Italian elections took place in 1994, with the implementation of a new electoral law that limited proportional representation to only 25% of the seats. The major changes were the collapse of the DC, the almost complete disappearance of the Socialist party, the disappearance of other smaller government parties, the emergence of Forza Italia as Italy's largest party, and the great increase and transformation of the former Fascists (MSI) into a broader right-wing political force (MSI-AN), the latter's entry into the government, and fundamental

Table 3 Political elections (Chamber of Deputies), traditional parties and new parties, 1972-92 (% of voters)

Traditional political parties (PSI)

New political parties (New parties)







Change 1972 to 1992

86.7 10.0 13.3 26.4

87.8 10.1 12.2 26.2

81.0 10.5 19.0 29.8

78.1 12.3 21.9 26.4

76.0 15.9 24.0 35.8

66.3 17.0 33.7 48.4

-20.4 + 7.0 + 20.4 + 22.0

Source: Eurisko-Sinottica surveys, 1986-92.



changes within Parliament and the government itself (see table 4). The new electoral law led to significant differences between the percentage of the vote and the percentage of seats in Parliament according to the position in the political spectrum - the centre was penalized - and according to the capability of each party to form a winning coalition and to negotiate before the vote. In 1994, there was a true electoral earthquake. In this sense, 1994 can be considered the first year of the so-called Second Republic; an expression coined by the media to designate changes in political institutions and the actions of the political elite. The results of the 1994 elections confirmed the birth of a new party - Forza Italia - led by a successful and controversial entrepreneur who shared Italy's television duopoly with state television (RAI). Forza Italia gained more votes than the PDS, thereby becoming Italy's largest political party. Table 4 Political elections (Chamber of Deputies), 1994

Political party Polo delle Liberia e Buon Governo: Forza Italia Alleanza Nazionale Lega Nord Lista Pannella / Riformatori Others Total Patto per 1' Italia Partito Popolare (PPI) Patto Segni Total Progressisti Partito Democratico della Sinistra (PDS) Rifondazione Comunista (RC) Verdi Partito Socialista Italiano (PSl) La Rete Alleanza Democratica (AD) Total Others*

Seats: change since 1992 (%) of total seats

Votes (%)

Seats (%)

21.0 13.5 8.4 3.5 46.4

15.7 17.3 18.6 1.0 5.5 58.1

+15.7 +11.9 +9.9 +5.5

11.1 4.6 15.7

5.2 2.1 7.3

-27.5 +2.1

20.4 6.0 2.7 2.2

17.3 6.2 1.7 2.2 1.0 2.9 31.3 0.9

+0.4 +0.7 -0.8 -12.4 +1.0 +2.9

1.9 1.2 34.4 0.9

* Partito Popolare Sudtirolese, Lista Valle d'Aosta, Lega d'Azione Meridionale. Source: R. Koole and P. Mair (eds.), Political Data Yearbook, 1994-95, vol. 28, Dec. 1995.



11.1 Political Differentiation

In addition to the introduction of the majority electoral system and the emergence of a new party, 1994 was an important year politically because of the new "personalization" of politics. With the increasing importance of television and the declining impact of traditional ideologies, there was a growing tendency to perceive the importance of the individual as opposed to the party (as happened with Forza Italia, which rose primarily as a result of physical identification with a leader - a party created by and for its leader), and to stress personal competition more than confrontation of policy proposals. Despite the fact that Forza Italia won a plurality of votes in the March, 1994, elections (21%), the centre-right coalition that it led did not win a consistent majority in the Senate. Moreover, the heterogeneous electorate coalition put together by Forza Italia with the Northern League in the north and MSI-AN in the south lasted only a few months. The coalition's weakness prevented it from implementing a convincing economic policy. The government's attempt to put a stop to the magistrates' investigations of corruption among politicians and businesspersons known as "Clean Hands," under which the prime minister himself was under investigation, led to a wave of popular opposition. At the end of 1994, the Northern League joined the centre-left opposition parties to support a temporary government composed of non-parliamentary ministers and headed by the director of the Bank of Italy (Dini). The party system became more fragmented, instead of simpler and more solid. The new electoral law and the changes in people's expectations for more stability and effectiveness produced no effects "on either the format or the style of competition, which, rather than moderating, has again become inflamed and ideological, triggering a trend toward repolarization following years of more centrist tendencies" (Ignazi, 1995, p. 405). At the end of 1995 another round of elections were on the horizon and Italy's political transition was far from complete. REFERENCES Barbagli, M., et al. 1979 Fluidita elettorale e classi sociali in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Biorcio, R., and Natale, P. 1989 "La mobilita elettorale degli anni Ottanta." Rivista Italiana di Scienze Politiche, 3. Caciagli, M. and Spreafico, A. (eds.). 1990 Vent'anni di elezioni in Italia. 1968-1987. Padua: Liviana. Carey, J.P.C., and Carey, A.G. 1958 "The Italian Elections of 1958: Unstable Stability in a 1958 Unstable World." Political Science Quarterly, 4.



Corbetta P., et al. 1988 Elezioni in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Dalton,R.J. 1988 "Citizen Politics" in Western Democracies. Chatham, NY: Chatham House. Galli, G. 1966 // bipartitismo imperfetto. Bologna: II Mulino. Galli, G., et al. 1968 // comportamento elettorale in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. Ignazi, P. 1995 "Italy." European Journal of Political research. Political Data Yearbook, 29(3/4). Mannheimer, R. (ed.) 1991 La lega Lombarda. Milan: Feltrinelli. Mannheimer, R., and Sani, G. (eds.) 1994 La rivoluzione elettorale. Milan: Anabasi. Martinelli, A., and Pasquino, G. (eds.) 1978 Lapolitica nell'Italia che cambia. Milan: Feltrinelli. Parisi, A., and Pasquino, G. (eds.) 1977 Continuita e mutamento elettorale in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino.

11.2 Confidence in Institutions Many studies conducted in the 1960s showed a cognitive and affective distance between Italians and their political and social institutions. Since the 1970s, new trends became apparent: a new type of citizen has emerged who is less indifferent and passive and is generally satisfied with various aspects of his or her private life, but is also increasingly critical of and dissatisfied with the public sphere. The loss of confidence in the state and political institutions, together with a growing disorganization in every areas of social and political life, led to the growth of new forms of social and political involvement.

In the 1950s and 1960s, several empirical studies were carried out by American researchers on Italy's civic culture and political attitudes, using methodologies developed in the United States (Banfield, 1958; La Palombara, 1965; Almond and Verba, 1965). In these studies, Italians were described as incapable of undertaking joint action toward common objectives at the expense of immediate benefit for their families. Their political discontent was revealed through numerous indicators


11.2 Confidence in Institutions

such as lack of interest in and information on the structures and functions of the political system and low confidence in the government, political parties, and other political institutions. In Almond and Verba's comparative survey on the political culture in five countries, Italy was portrayed as a nation with "parochial" beliefs and loyalties that were totally removed from the actual political system (in comparison with the other countries, the level of pride in political institutions, government, and social legislation was extremely low). Moreover, as they were uninterested in any form of social and political involvement, Italians had become a nation of "subjects" because of their lack of trust in communication with government structures. Studies conducted in the 1980s show elements of both continuity and change in Italian political culture as compared with the situation described in the 1960s (Guidorossi, 1984; Weber, 1985; Barbagli andMacelli, 1986; Calvi, 1987; Segatti, 1990). These scholars generally agree that Italians' political culture is a blend of traditional and modern features. The feelings of passivity and indifference that seemed to characterize political attitudes in the 1950s and 1960s were replaced with more profound criticism and feelings of distaste and even anger toward the various manifestations of politics, political institutions, political parties, and party leaders (Sani and Segatti, 1990). The feeling that the state functions poorly rose from 35% to 82.4%, the lack of belief in politicians' honesty increased from 22.6% to 84.5%, and the lack of belief in their capability increased from 21.8% to 69.4%. Italians' mistrust of politicians and low esteem of government performance does not necessarily imply that the system is delegitimized; rather, it shows a gap between democratic structures and values. One indicator of "faith" in the democratic system might be citizens' trust in social and political institutions. In the 1980s, of all democratic institutions, political parties and unions were the least admired, while the constitutional court (85%), the police (80%), the judiciary (76%) and the municipal authorities (66%) were the most popular (see table 1). In the 1990s the profound crisis of confidence in traditional political parties became more acute, and they appeared less and less capable of meeting citizens' demands. The judiciary's investigations into links between politics and business had the effect of delegitimizing the Italian political class even further. Dissatisfaction rose considerably in terms of both output (complaints about inefficient services and about corruption in public institutions) and input (demands for tax cuts and for reducing the power of political parties - which, at least in theory, should represent society's needs) (see table 2). In this context of political disaffection, "depoliticization," and "de-ideologization," a new type of dialogue emerged between citizens and the political system:



Table 1 Confidence in public institutions and other organizations, 1979-86 (%)

Constitutional court Higher education Health system Education Police The judiciary Parliament Army Radio Government Television Local authorities Constitutional defence Churches Business Newspapers Political parties Trade unions







83 59 80 -

78 57 80 70 64 74 62 73 66 54 47 40 52

82 69 80 70 74 61 71 74 59 69 68 70 67 64 57 39 53

82 69 77 76 71 76 73 70 71 64 61 61 70 56 55 50 53

75 75 82 74 74 68 72 75 64 71 68 59 69 48 58 47 45

85 83 82 80 80 76 74 73 73 66 66 66 66 64 60 51 45 42

73 67 68 69 72 65 50 47 43 48

Source: Doxa, Bulletin no. 3 (Feb. 1987).

Table 2 Opinions about the institutional/political system (%) The most important thing is:





To limit the power of political parties To fight state corruption More efficient public and social services Lower taxes Sample size: 1,500.

24.4 64.9 55.8 43.4

30.0 65.7 61.5 49.2

32.3 68.4 66.5 53.0

37.4 73.7 65.8 53.6

Source: Eurisko-Sinottica surveys, 1986-92.

the "citizens' politics" model (Dalton, 1988). This model focuses on individual needs based on everyday issues such as criminality, unemployment, and corruption, which are not necessarily related to traditional political conflicts. As a consequence of this new form of political participation, politicians' power was reduced and citizens' needs and responsibilities became more important, and were the main point of reference of new political movements.


11.3 Economic Orientation

REFERENCES Calvi,G. 1987 Indagine Sociale Italiana. Milan: Franco Angeli. Guidorossi,G. 1984 Gli italiani e lapolitica. Milan: Franco Angeli. Inglehart, R. 1993 Valori e cultura politico, nella societa industriale avanzata. Padua: Liviana. La Palombara, J. 1965 "Italy: Fragmentation, isolation, alienation." In L.W. Pye and S. Verba (eds.), Political Culture and Political Development. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

11.3 Economic Orientation According to limited survey data on economic orientation in the 1980s, Italians' economic culture seemed somewhat confused, with simultaneous demands for cuts in public spending and huge public investments in health care, pensions, and job creation. In spite of widespread approval of state control of major economic sectors, market values and institutions were widely accepted by most Italians. Survey data on economic orientation should be interpreted very cautiously, first because of the methodological weakness of such opinion surveys (naive wording of many questions, questionable samples, and so on); second, because the time span these data cover is very limited. It is, however, interesting to note the high proportion of Italians who are in favour of government responsibility for social welfare and the significant proportion (more than 50%) of those who support state control of major economic sectors such as electricity, steel, public transportation, banks, and insurance. Almost all respondents felt that government should be responsible for providing health care for the sick and a decent living standard for old people, and this opinion remained steady over time (see table 1). As well, a very high proportion were in favour of government being responsible for full employment (in the 1985 survey, 87.5% of respondents felt that the government "probably should" or "absolutely should" ensure full employment levels; in 1990, this figure dropped slightly, to 84.1%), and inflation control (96.6%); around 80% supported the notion that



Table 1 Responses to question "What should government be responsible for?,"* 1985, 1990 (%)

Jobs for all Price controls Health care for sick people Maintenance of living standard for old people Help industry to grow Maintenance of living standard for unemployed Reduction income differences



87.5 96.6 98.8 98.5 80.9 82.0 80.3

84.1 95.6 99.0 99.0 80.6 76.3 77.1

* Combined responses: "definitely should be" and "probably should be." Sample size: 1,500. Source: ISSP, Role of Government, 1985-90.

government should be required to assist industrial growth, reduce income differences, and guarantee a living standard for the unemployed. On the specific areas of public expenditure, respondents felt that the government should be more active and reliable in certain areas, even though doing so would imply higher taxes (see table 2). Thus, a very high proportion of respondents were in favour of greater spending on health services (78% in 1985, 84.3% in 1990) and old-age pensions (73.2% in 1985, 79.3% 1990), and a significant majority declared themselves in favour of greater spending on education (62% in 1985, 65.3% in 1990) and environment (60% in 1985,74.1% in 1990). Over the period under study, opinions on where resources should be dedicated showed the greatest increases not only in the traditional areas of pensions, but also in the environment and in culture and arts; this seems to show a new sensitivity to quality-of-life issues. There was also a significant rise in the desire for expenditures for law and order, while favour for spending on for employment benefits dropped and and on military expenditure remained at the same very low level of 11%. Some scholars have concluded that Italians' view of the economy is based on a hostile perception of a market in which individuals are at the mercy of impersonal economic processes, and never protagonists (Radaelli, 1989) - hence the demands for action and controls by the state. The question arises of why Italian citizens would want to entrust so much power (in terms of control of the economy) to a political class that - as it appears from the sections above - is not considered trustworthy. The likely answer is that Italians have much more confidence in the market mechanism and in their own capabilities than they are willing to admit when they answer a questionnaire. Analysis of current economic conduct tells a different and more reliable story than do opinion polls.


11.3 Economic Orientation

Table 2 Responses to question "What should government spend more money on, even if it would imply higher taxes?,"* 1985, 1990 (%)

Health Old-age pensions Education Environment Law enforcement Unemployment benefits Defence/military Culture/arts



77.7 73.2 61.7 59.8 46.5 53.3 11.4 33.6

84.3 79.3 65.3 74.1 55.8 51.1 11.5 44.3

* Combined responses: "spend much more" and "spend more." Sample size: 1,500. Source: ISSP, Role of Government, 1985-90.

Table 3 Responses to question regarding government role in selected sectors, 1985, 1990 (%) Own it Electricity Public transportation Steel industry Banks, insurance Automobile industry



Control but not own 1985 1990

32.9 29.6 17.8 20.6 12.6

25.9 * 16.1 19.7 *

53.7 56.1 54.1 56.7 58.0

59.8 * 58.2 58.0 *

* Missing data. Sample size: 1,500. Source: ISSP, Role of Government, 1985-90.

REFERENCES Cer, Censis 1987 Pubblico e Privato. Milan: II Sole 24 Ore. 1986 // governo dell'economia. Milan: II Sole 24 Ore. Intersind 1980 "Cultura, lavoro, impresa." Quaderni di Industria e Sindacato 1(4). Paci, M. 1984 "II sistema italiano di welfare tra tradizione clientelare e prospettive di riforma." In U. Ascoli, Wefare State all'italiana. Bari: Laterza.



1988 "II welfare state come problema di egemonia." Stato e Mercato 22. Radaelli, C.M. 1989 "Cultura industriale e politiche economiche." In M.A. Confalonieri et al., Governo e cittadini. Milan: Franco Angeli. Salvati, M. 1982 "Strutture politiche ed esiti economici." Stato e Mercato 4.

11.4 Radicalism Since the postwar years, the left-right continuum has been the main dimension for political orientation and the fundamental axis of political competition in Italy. Right and left still are the main points of reference within the Italian political spectrum, although their relevance is somewhat diminishing and their meanings have been redefined.

The collapse of Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, greater electoral shifts, and the emergence of new political forces caused the concepts of "right" and "left" to be totally re-examined. In other words, the socio-cultural changes that have come about over the last ten years have to some extent made obsolete the traditional division of the political spectrum into right and left. Over the last 40 years, the left-right spectrum was a central feature of Italian politics. Political parties and strategies, government coalitions, and public policies were always described in terms of this frame of reference. This also applied to Italy's main social institutions (businesses, firms, trade unions, the church), which were often defined in political terms and linked to the various groupings within the political spectrum. The same demarcation applied, to some extent, to the elites. At the level of mass political attitudes, the significance of the left-right spectrum was highlighted in various studies from the 1960s onwards. Voters were cognizant of this type of terminology and placed their own ideological positions at a certain point along the left-right continuum. In the 1990s, despite constant changes in Italian society and the emergence of new groupings that could not be classified in terms of the traditional frames of reference of "left" and "right," the old rules still tended to apply. Pre-electoral polls and surveys bore out the capacity of the left-right continuum to absorb new input, although over the last 10 years, an increasing number of people have rejected the traditional definition. From 1973 to 1992, there was a constant decline in the num-


11.5 Religious Beliefs

her of voters who considered themselves "left wing," and this trend was stable, irrespective of left-right electoral swings. The most interesting data are the increasing number of Italians who rejected any type of political allegiance and the profound changes in the socio-demographic characteristics of this group. Traditionally, those who refused to answer this type of question belonged to marginal groups in society. This was also true of Italy until the end of the 1970s. Over the following decade, the number of people interviewed who specified any political affiliation increasingly mentioned "socially central," including a growing number of men, young people, and members of the educated middle classes. The most recent elections in Italy (27 March 1994) produced results that were probably the result of a shift toward the right of this sector of the electorate. A possible interpretation of this shift can be sought in the culture of the 1980s: the decline in traditional ideological commitment and political involvement, the growing acceptance of inequality, and the growth of acquisitive and individualistic values, which contributed to the breakdown of traditional political ideals and points of reference. The decline in political involvement fostered a weakening of traditional allegiances; it did not entail so much an alienation from and lack of interest in politics as a change in political preferences and in political styles. REFERENCES Bobbio, N. 1994 Destra e Sinistra. Rome: Donzelli. Revelli, M. 1990 Destra e Sinistra. L'identita introvabile. Unpublished.paper. Sani, G., and Segatti, P. 1990 "Mutamento culturale e politica di massa." In V. Cesareo (ed.), La cultura dell'Italia contemporanea. Turin: Ed.Fondazione Agnelli.

11.5 Religious Beliefs Although "religious" organizations are very powerful in Italy, and Italians still have a widespread propensity toward religion, the influence of religious structures is declining and religious belief is no longer the basic foundation on which individual and collective identity is built.



As mentioned in the above sections on political tendencies among Italian voters, considerable significance has been attached to the existence of the two main political subcultures - the "Catholic" and the "Marxist." In the 1960s, religious adherence was significant in distinguishing between different social categories. All studies on political involvement showed the extent to which religion was a decisive factor in explaining different political allegiances. Rose and Unwin's (1969) study of the main features of different Italian parties portrayed Italy as a country dominated by divisions of class and religion, with latter outweighing the former in importance. Religious practice was traditionally related to specific voting preferences at election time. Modernization gradually eroded political traditions and subcultures, as mentioned in the introduction. The Catholic subculture was clearly deeply affected by the progressive secularization of Italian society, which led to a constant decline in church attendance by large segments of the population from the 1950s and the 1980s; in the 1990s, there has been a slight reversal of the trend (see table 1). Despite this revival in religious worship, individuals' real attitude to religion is less clearly defined than might be imagined. Today, Italy is a society with a significant cultural pluralism, where multiple points of reference have contributed to a growing attitude of limited identification or selective attention (Garelli, 1992). In trying to find a answer to the problem of "meaning" in a vacuum of values within a "consumer society," an increasing number of Italians have turned to religion to fill the moral void in their lives. The resurgence of religion was helped by a church that was careful to offer itself as a point of reference for emerging problems

Table 1 Frequency of church attendance, 1975-92 (%)

Several times a week Once per week A few times a year Never Missing data Total (N) Sample size: 1,000. Source: Eurobarometer, 1975-92.





6.6 28.8 40.0 16.5 8.1 100.0 1,100 (1,110)

7.6 27.5 44.0 16.8 4.1 100.0 1,116 (1,116)

6.6 35.5 39.9 16.1 1.8 100.0 968 (968)

7.3 39.4 39.8 13.5 7.3' 100.0 955 (955)


11.5 Religious Beliefs

in social and ethnic tensions that are apparent every day. In this way, the church has made itself the vehicle for expressing certain latent and widespread attitudes, attracting different social groups. However, the overriding impression is that most Italians today are culturally far removed from a specifically religious life construct. Religion essentially plays a function of "reassurance." On the one hand, it provides a framework for symbolic orientation to deal with life's crucial episodes. On the other, it safeguards the values of social and community integration that are particularly needed in contemporary society (Garelli, 1992). REFERENCES AA.VV. 1992 La religione degli Europei. Turin: Ed. Fondazione Agnelli. Cipriani, R. 1988 La religione diffusa. Rome: Borla. Garelli, F. 1991 Religione e Chiesa in Italia. Bologna: II Mulino. 1992 "Forza della religione e debolezza della fede." Quaderni di Sociologia, 36(2). Nesti, A. 1985 // religioso implicito. Rome: lanna.

12 Household Resources

Although unequally distributed, especially from region to region, household cash incomes after taxation more than doubled at constant prices during the 25 years after the economic boom that began in the early 1960s. This increase was more or less constant in spite of an increasing tax burden. Family assets remained more unevenly distributed than incomes, although homeownership increased constantly; at the beginning of the 1990s two thirds of all families owned their home. Increased productivity in industry caused the price of home appliances to drop, so that even low-income families could afford several. In the 1980s, unofficial data on the previous decade convinced scholars that cash income did not account properly for total resources at the disposal of households. The discovery of the important role played by the informal economy and the central position of family strategies related to labour supply on the "irregular" labour market (see section 4.3) and to small business (see section 5.3), resulted in studies on nonmarket mechanisms such as reciprocity, community obligations, and off-market kinship exchanges. The official statistics can give only indirect and often misleading evidence of families' nonmaterial resources, such as the amount of disposable time of members devoted to household management. In this perspective, the family standard of living depends not only on the quantity of material resources directly owned by the household, such as the number and type of appliances, but also on the quality of kinship networks on which barter, exchange of inter-generation care, and mutual assistance are based. Moreover, in advanced industrialized countries, where modern welfare systems are still widespread in spite of recent trends toward the "marketization" of social security, the quantity of household resources depends very much on the quality and quantity of supply of public services that can be obtained through the welfare state free of charge or at subsidized prices.


12.1 Personal and Family Income

12.1 Personal and Family Income Family net incomes increased more or less constantly throughout the period except for the first part of the 1980s. Due to an increasing number of sources of income and of income earners, family income increased relatively more than did individual income. Households' labour-market strategies allow families to nullify or absorb the economic consequences of unemployment, while an increasing proportion of public transfers to families did not affect the traditional high propensity for saving as much as it did in other countries.

Two forms of income estimation are available for Italy. The first, established by the Bank of Italy in 1965, is based on sample surveys of families. Although the sample is large and accurate and has been enlarged recently, this source is affected by a systematic underestimate of income and wealth and by a progressively increasing proportion of refusals to answer the questionnaire. The second source is more recent and based on indirect computations from national account statistics. We decided to use the first source in spite of its systematic underestimation, which is around 15% compared with the second, because it enables us to desegregate the information according to main household social characteristics and is available since the mid-1960s. The differences in the two series are explained by the fact that national account statistics take into account the value of self-consumption and services in kind typical of nonmarket economy (Banca d'ltalia, 1983), whose functions and extension are discussed in the following section and in section 13.6. Although time series on family income were interrupted by the reshaping of the sample survey in 1973 and 1986, net household income at constant prices more than doubled from 1965 to 1991, increasing constantly except for during the early 1980s and, with some methodological uncertainties at the beginning of the 1990s (see table 4). Thus the long period of high inflation during the 1970s did not affect the rise in real income, nor did the increase in income tax, although since the end of the 1980s it somewhat affected families' purchasing power. The undoubted improvement of material well-being was due both to an increase in personal incomes and to an increase in the number of income earners per family (see table 1), in spite of the decreasing average number of household members (see chapter 0). Meanwhile, the average structure of family incomes became more differentiated (see table 2), because of a decline in the proportion of wages and salaries in total income, a more or less constant share of income from self-employment


Household Resources

Table 1 Individual income and average number of income earners per family, 1965-91 Income (000 current lire)

Average number of earners

964 1,024 1,120 1,210 3,537 4,089 4,700 5,412 6,929 7,779 9,701 11,067 12,902 14,416 17,383 20,338 21,410


1965 1966 1968 1969 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1986 1987 1989 1991


1.70 1.70 1.60 1.70 1.72 1.74

Source: Banca d' Italia, Bollettino statistico, various years.

Table 2 Structure of family income, 1977-91 (%)

1977 1978 1979 1980 1983 1984 1986 1987 1989 1991

Wages and salaries

Income from self-employment

Pension income

Return on investments

52.7 54.1 53.3 50.6 51.6 49.8 47.3 46.4 45.7 44.3

16.2 16.5 19.4 19.8 18.0 19.3 17.8 18.8 17.7 16.6

14.9 14.7 11.0 12.3 13.6 16.3 20.7 18.0 17.3 20.2

16.2 14.7 16.3 17.3 16.8 14.5 14.2 16.8 19.3 18.9

Source: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino statistico, various years.


12.1 Personal and Family Income

(the relative proportion of this kind of income reached its apex when the informal economy was most widespread, in the late 1970s and early 1980s), an important increase in public transfers such as pensions and compensations, and a cyclical dynamic of return on capital investments. Household resources also comprise the spread of durable goods that increase housework productivity (see table 3). The availability of some electrical appliances increased constantly: in the mid-1960s refrigerators and washing machines were typically owned only by better-off families, most of them living in the city; by the beginning of the 1990s almost every family had the main appliances, at least one car, and telephone service. On the other hand, some newer technological items, such as videotape recorders and home computers, were not so widely owned, although their spread was very rapid during the second half of the 1980s. The increasing well-being of Italian families was also evidenced by the increasing number of households whose members claim to save money during the year (see table 4). This proportion was below 30% in the 1960s and well above 40% in the 1980s. The propensity to save was traditionally high compared with other industrialized countries and increased until the end of the 1970s. Thereafter, it

Table 3 Family ownership of selected durable goods, 1966-92 (%)

Television Refrigerator

1966 1967 1968 1970 1980 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

Washing machine


59.5 66.0 69.1 73.1 90.1

59.9 67.7 71.8 76.4 95.3

32.2 39.9 45.8 50.3 83.8

1.5 2.7 4.7 5.7 15.2

93.5 95.6 94.5 95.6 95.7 95.7 96.5 96.7

95.7 96.6 95.7 96.6 96.7 96.3 97.0 97.4

87.0 89.9 89.4 90.6 92.1 92.5 93.8 94.1

16.7 17.0 16.4 17.0 18.0 19.4 20.8 22.2

Car Telephone

31.3 37.7 42.6 47.9 69.7 69.8 71.2 73.1 72.1 72.5 73.2 74.7 75.3 75.6 76.5

Sources: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino statistico; ISTAT, "I consumi delle famiglie."

72.1 76.9 78.4 81.7 84.0 86.3 88.4

Videotape recorder

Home computer

4.2 5.4 8.5 12.8 19.2 26.6 33.2 39.5

4.5 5.5 5.6 6.6 7.9 9.7 10.6 11.6


Household Resources

Table 4 Family incomes, inflation and consumption, and propensity to save, 1965-91

1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1986 1987 1989 1991

Family incomes (000 lire)

Index number at constant prices (1985=1)

,350 ,450 ,488 ,640 ,830 ,930 2,117 2,282 3,380 4,070 4,680 6,000 7,250 8,800 9,978 12,856 13,815 17,611 20,222 22,247 23,505 29,141 34,848 37,215

10,891 11,468 11,539 12,557 13,629 13,679 14,289 14,584 19,571 19,730 19,363 21,305 21,798 23,529 23,051 24,516 22,195 24,319 24,284 24,160 22,343 26,655 28,361 25,752

Income saved (%)

% of households who saved


34.4 25.0 26.3 33.6

5.6 5.3

10.5 11.6 10.7 14.4

46.7 45.0

9.6 9.5

47.4 44.5

Note: in 1973 and 1986 samples were modified to adjust the results with those of national accountancy. Source: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino statistico, author's computation.

declined moderately, according to the international trend in industrialized countries, perhaps in relation with the diffusion of welfare systems and public transfers to families. REFERENCES Banca d'ltalia 1983 "L'indagine campionaria sui bilanci delle famiglie italiane. Nota metodologica." Bollettino Statistico, no. 3-4.


12.2 Informal Economy

Carbonaro, G. 1986 "La distribuzione del reddito e della ricchezza: problem! di misura, dinamica delle diseguaglianze, effetti delle politiche social!." Atti della xxxm Riunione scientifica della Societa Italiana di Statistica. Bari: Cacucci. CNEL 1992 Rapporto sulla distribuzione e sulla redistribuzione, 1991. Rome. ISTAT 1985 "La distribuzione quantitativa del reddito in Italia nelle indagini sui bilanci di famiglia, anno 1984." Supplemento al Bollettino mensile di statistica, no. 7. Ministero delle Finanze 1989 Analisi della dichiarazione dei redditi delle persone fisiche presentate nel 1988. Rome: Poligrafico dello Stato. Moriani, C. 1988 "Redditi e consumi delle famiglie." in AIS-ISTAT (ed.), Immagini della societa italiana. Rome.

12.2 Informal Economy The informal economy has always been very important in Italian society, and it has been used to explain both the virtuous circle of the economic vitality of small business and the vicious circle of underdevelopment in regions where the criminal economy of the Mafia and the Camorra are traditionally rooted. Although reliable data are not available and the estimates are often tentative and do not offer complete time series, some indicators show that the 1970s were characterized by an increase in different types of informal activities, such as "irregular" and second jobs, while a decline in the 1980s has been explained as the result of the measures aiming at reducing tax evasion and making the labour market more flexible.

The informal economy has been a constant and significant component of Italian society, both because it shapes the economy at large, contributing to the overall productivity of the system (see chapter 0), and because it represents an important share of household activities. The decline in official employment rates since the 1970s has been interpreted as evidence of the increasing propensity of family members to work in the so-called self-service economy (Gershuny, 1978) and in nonmarket communitarian activities, where barter of good and services takes the


Household Resources

place of cash transactions. The informal or underground economy is also strongly affected by different types of illegal activities that range from tax evasion and cash transactions off the books to criminal activities such as drug dealing, gambling, prostitution, and corruption, where Mafia and the Camorra play an important role in the southern regions (see section 16.2). In this section we shall deal mainly with the demand side of informal economy - household propensity to evade indirect taxation of marketable goods and services and to substitute services offered on the market with services performed directly by household members - and the supply side of the informal labour market under-the-table and second jobs. The increasing number of officially registered agricultural workers who enjoy social security provisions without being officially employed is also related to the latter aspect of the phenomenon, although it represents a case of a fictitious formal economy that is proportional to the importance of agriculture in the most underdeveloped southern regions. The interest in the informal economy was raised by economists at the beginning of the 1970s, when the activity rate of the population fell below 36% in spite of persisting relatively high rates of increase in GDP. However, the available explanations for the phenomenon have been proposed by sociologists. Dealing with the "hidden" economy involves very difficult problems of measurement; official figures are not available and estimates of the size of the underground economy vary widely. Moreover, these estimates are not provided in time series and are concentrated in the 1970s, when the phenomenon was considered most widespread. In the following decade, a number of laws passed concerning tax evasion and labourmarket flexibility probably affected the size of informal economy, contributing to its partial re-emergence. The underground economy involved between 17% and 20% of the total labour force in the 1970s (Contini, 1982). Decentralization of production and subcontracting to small-scale business fostered work-at-home that involved at least 1.6 million workers in the manufacturing industry in 1972 (Brusco, 1973). A more recent study tried to sum up the different estimates for the 1970s, proposing an average range of between 11% and 15% of the labour force at the national level and up to 15% to 20% in some regions (Garelli, 1985). As far as the evasion of social security contributions is concerned, an estimate for 1987 posits that the value of unpaid social security payments is equal almost one third (29.7%) of payments made (Ministero del lavoro, 1991). The conclusion is that Italy has the lowest official job rate and the top job rate in the informal economy among European Union nations. According to a Bank of Italy survey (see table 1), in 1978 5.9% of the employed population held a second job; this was more concentrated in agriculture and among


12.2 Informal Economy

Table 1 Individuals claiming to hold a second job, 1977-92 (%)

1977 1978 1980 1981 1983 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

4.4 5.9 5.8 5.3 3.9 2.4 2.4 2.1 2.3 2.3

Sources: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino statistico; ISTAT, Rilevaiione delleforze di lavoro, various years.

lower income earners (18.4% among those declaring annual income of less than one million lire). In 1983, the proportion of those holding a second job declined to 3.9% but remained more concentrated among lower income earners (4.8%). As these figures are based on direct interviews, it is reasonable to posit that they are strongly underestimated, although the trend in the 1980s was constantly declining and there was a moderate increase in the beginning of the 1990s. The distribution of second jobs by sector at the beginning of the 1970s was estimated by CENSIS (1976) as follows: agriculture, 24.6%; industry 37.0%; other activities 38.4%. As far as self-service activities are concerned, the case of housing construction during the 1970s is evidence of the importance of the informal economy in households' capital formation. From 1971 to 1979, almost 1.5 million new houses were built, while the national electricity company connected more than 3.1 million new domestic consumers. Therefore, the difference between officially registered new houses and new houses electrically linked up was more than double (Del Boca and Forte, 1982). Even assuming that a proportion of the new electricity connections were related to already existing houses, the difference is astonishing. REFERENCES Bagnasco, A., ed. 1986 L'altra meta dell'economia. Napoli: Liguori. Brusco, S. 1973 "Prime note per uno studio del lavoro a domicilio." Inchiesta, no. 2.


Household Resources

Capecchi, V. 1989 "The Informal Economy and the Development of Flexible Specialization in Emilia Romagna." In A. Fortes, M. Castells, and L.A. Benton, The Informal Economy: Studies in Advanced and Less Developed Countries. Baltimore: John Hopkins. CENSIS 1976 L'occupazione occulta. Rome: Fondazione Censis. Chiarello, F. 1983 "Economia informale, famiglia e reticoli sociali." Rassegna Italiana di Sociologia, no. 2. Contini, B. 1982 "The Second Economy in Italy." In V. Tanzi (ed.), The Underground Economy in the United States and Abroad. Lexington, Ma: Lexington Books. Del Boca, D., and Forte, F. 1982 "Recent Empirical Surveys and Theoretical Interpretations of the Parallel Economy in Italy." In V. Tanzi (ed.), The Underground Economy in the United States and Abroad. Lexington, Ma: Lexington Books. Gallino, L. (ed.) 1982 Occupati e bioccupati. Bologna: II Mulino. Garelli, F. 1985 "Quanti sono i bioccupati in Italia?" In L. Gallino (ed.), // lavoro e il suo doppio. Bologna: II Mulino. Gershuny, J. 1978 After Industrial Society: The Emerging Self-service Economy. London: Macmillan. Martino, A. 1981 "Measuring Italy's Underground Economy." Policy Review, no. 16. Ministero del Lavoro e della Previdenza Sociale 1991 Report '90-'91. Labour and Employment Policies in Italy. Roma: Poligrafico dello Stato.

12.3 Personal and Family Wealth For Italians, family wealth means, above all, homeownership. Traditionally, this kind of property has represented the largest share of family assets. The high propensity to save was behind the constant increase in homeownership and the increasing quality of the dwellings. In the 1970s, there was an increase in investments family businesses and self-employed activities. More recently,


12.3 Personal and Family Wealth the enormous public deficit induced families to invest an increasing share of their assets in state bonds.

Unlike other countries, where real incomes grew faster than wealth, Italian families enjoyed a higher increase in their wealth than in their incomes, because of the traditional high propensity to save: average family wealth rose from 2.8 times its income in 1968 to 4.3 times its income in 1991 (see table 1). This fact has cons quences for economic inequality, because it is well known that wealth was more unequally distributed than was income (see chapter 6), even if the proportion of families with assets seemed to increase, at least during the short period for which data are available, from 1977 to 1980. Net family wealth increased an average 3.36 times at constant prices from 1968 to 1991. Most of this wealth consisted of homes, the value of which was constantly increasing. In 1961 41.7% of families owned homes, while 65.5% did 30 years later (see table 2). On the contrary, ownership of real estate other than homes was quite constant and concentrated among a lower proportion of families who were not necessarily wealthier, because a significant share of "other real estate" consisted of small plots of land that were abandoned during the period of immigration to industrial towns. There were also improvements in the quality and standard of dwellings. There was a dramatic increase in the number of houses with central heating in the 1960s, related to immigration to northern towns, and an increase in the number of homes Table 1 Family Net Wealth, 1968-91

1968 1977 1978 1979 1980 1983 1984 1986 1987 1989 1991

Family wealth (000 lire)

Net wealth over income

4,584 21,700 25,800 34,300 45,859 75,272 81,574 82,445 96,463 124,140 161,685

2.8 3.0 2.9 3.4 3.6 3.7 3.7

Source: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino statistico, various years.


3.3 3.6 4.3

Families with assets (%)

63.0 66.0 68.0 73.6


Household Resources

Table 2 Family property ownership, 1961-91 (% of all families) Homeowners

1961 1964 1967 1969 1970 1977 1978 1979 1980 1983 1984 1986 1987 1989 1991

41.7 44.7 46.3 49.3 50.8 51.2 52.5 54.9 58.5 58.8 59.7 59.4 60.6 62.1 65.5

Owners of other real estate

26.4 28.2 24.2 24.0 23.1 26.6 26.7 25.7 23.8 27.6 27.2 30.2

Source: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino statistico, various years.

with indoor plumbing. The quality of houses was significantly lower in southern regions, but the trend in these regions followed that in northern regions with a lag of several years (see table 3). Available recent data show an increase of the average size of houses, in spite of the decreasing number of family members (see table 4). While the spread of homeownership contributed to more egalitarian conditions among families, the distribution of other types of assets was much more uneven and concentrated among a wealthy minority: an increasing share of family savings were invested not only in buying a house, but also in self-employment activities and in the family firm (see table 5). This trend was, in turn, related to the development of informal economic activities in the 1970s and the central role played by families as economic organizations and as centres of small entrepreneurship (Chiesi, 1986). For this reason, other kinds of assets, except for homes, bank accounts, and capital invested in family firms, are not widespread among Italian families. Only recently did the share of state bonds in family assets increase, representing the demand side of the enormous public debt. On the other hand, the propensity to invest in stocks and shares remained very low even among wealthier and better educated families. At the beginning of the 1980s, a paradox emerged: families are the main creditors of the state, whose enormous deficit is a threat to the well-being of the families themselves.


12.3 Personal and Family Wealth

Table 3 Houses without heating systems and without bathrooms, per region, 1961-93 (%) Houses without heating systems: Total North Centre South

1961 1971 1981 1993

3.8 3.7

1.1 1.0

25.0 24.1


85.2 15.3 9.5 9.3

Houses without bathroom: Centre South Total 71.1 35.5





Sources: Population census; ISTAT, Notiziario, various years.

Table 4 Area of houses, 1985-91 (%)





27.0 29.4 27.9 10.4 5.3

16.5 24.2 28.6 14.7 15.8

15.6 22.3 30.7 14.9 16.5

14.6 21.1 31.5 14.8 18.0


House area (m ): less than 60 60-80 80-100 100-120 more than 120

Source: Banca d'Italia, Bollettino statistico, various years.

Table 5 Nature of family savings, 1977-84 (%)

1977 1978 1983 1984

Real estate

Family business


Financial investments

26.8 30.8 57.4 49.3

8.2 12.1 16.1 19.0

4.7 5.5 7.6 7.1

60.3 51.6 18.9 24.5

Source: Banca d'Italia, Bollettino statistico, various years.

Because of the public debt, Italian families began to invest and rely not only on real estate but on financial assets. At the beginning of the 1990s, most families had bank accounts (81.7%) and the proportion with deposits at the post office was constantly on the rise (Banca d'Italia, 1993). The diffusion of electronic means of payment was less widespread than other European countries: 31.9% of the respondents had credit or debit cards (most of them educated young people living in the


Household Resources

Table 6 Families owning various types of assets, 1965-91 (%)

1965 1967 1968 1983 1984 1987 1989 1991

Bank accounts

Savings accounts

Post-office accounts

State bonds


7.6 36.0a


5.5 10.0


1.5 1.3

20.3 19.5

17.1 17.3 80.5b 87.9 87.1

4.2 5.5 18.8 22.5 24.2

1.6 1.6 6.4 7.4 6.7

4.8 4.4

a. Includes both bank and savings accounts. b. Includes bank, savings, and post-office accounts. Source: Banca d'ltalia, Bollettino statistico, various years.

cities and in northern regions). Transactions were conducted increasingly through bank accounts (salaries and wages were automatically credited to 39.6% of earners in 1991, and this kind of payment was increasing by about 6% annually). Inheritances, legacies, and donations between relatives were very common ways to transmit family assets from generation to generation. The demographic trends traced in chapter 0 are predictors for an important concentration of wealth, through inheritance, in the hands of the new generation, whose numbers are fewer than the preceding one. REFERENCES Banca d'ltalia 1993 "I bilanci delle famiglie italiane nel 1991." Supplement to Bollettino statistico. Cannari, L.G., D'Alessio, G.R., and Rinaldi, A.I. 1990 "Le attivita finanziarie delle famiglie italiane." In Banca d'ltalia, Temi di discussione, July. Carbonaro, G. 1986 "La distribuzione del reddito e della ricchezza: problemi di misura, dinamica delle diseguaglianze, effetti delle politiche sociali." Atti della XXXIII Riunione scientifica della Societa Italiana di Statistica. Bari: Cacucci. Chiesi, A.M. 1986 "Fattori di persistenza del capitalismo familiare." Stato e Mercato, no. 18.

13 LifeStyle

A very important transformation in the traditional culture of consumption dates back to the so-called economic miracle phase that marked Italy's entry into the era of mass consumption. At this time, there were changes in the basic consumption elements, a simultaneous increase in per capita income (by 134% between 1952 and 1970), and a superficial unification of the country according to the models and myths of consumerism. The spread of a mass-consumption, vehicle-owning culture with consumer assets and services, which created a system of specific identifications for both physical and emotional aspects of life, was assisted by the development of systems of mass communication. Television services in Italy were officially launched in 1954, and now some 98% of Italians regularly watch television, with little variance in viewing patterns between regions. Television has played an important part in the process of cultural unification by producing a unification of language that helped to break down cultural barriers and instil urban models and life styles in marginal and rural sectors of the country. The expansion of television was accompanied by an increase in access to other forms of cultural activities, such as reading books, periodicals, and newspapers, In fact, since the end of the 1950s other forms of cultural participation have grown, albeit at varying paces, as may be observed from patterns of popular spending on various items such as sporting events, movies, music, and theatre. Along with the arrival of television, greater personal mobility represented the most significant novelty in the use of leisure time. More Italians own cars and are strongly encouraged to travel, helping them progressively to emerge from their regional confines. The 1960s signalled a turnaround in the role of women within the family and in society: the exodus from the country to the city helped to provide them with greater freedom and autonomy in a number of fields, from relations with the other sex to participation in the labour market. Simultaneously, sexual relationships began to be changed: with the change in attitude brought on by sex education,


Life Style

premarital sexual relations became more common, although it took another decade for this to be reflected in sexual habits at a mass level. These major transformations left in their wake a number of anomalies. First, they underlined differences between the predominantly industrial north of Italy and the predominantly agricultural south. As well, divergences appeared between patterns of public and private consumption: the explosion in private consumption was not accompanied by any state planning for public services. Lacking adequate public structures, families sought alternatives in private expenditures and consumption. In some ways, the "economic miracle" was a private phenomenon, reaffirming the historical tendency of every Italian family to be almost exclusively self-reliant for its well-being. One positive aspect of the expansion of consumption was that the general increase in cultural participation helped to bridge cultural gaps in attitudes, values, and life styles between social groups and geographical areas. What used to be the primary instruments for differentiation (income, life style) now belong to population segments that are no longer minority groupings. In the last three decades, there has been an increase in the proportion of the population that consumes "much and well," implying not only a general increase in income but also a greater capacity to appreciate specific indices of social status, which are no longer the exclusive prerogative of social and cultural elites, and to adapt them to their own styles. Within this context of modernity, which produced conformism and popular acceptance, new forms of cultural differentiation also emerged; in providing a new area of subjectivity, they also broadened the spectrum of items to which individuals attached importance. The new cultural cleavage that characterizes modern Italian society results from the type of relationship that develops between individuals and the social context in which they are placed. The contrast is between two trends: one is focused on individuality (i.e. private protection from public invasion); the other, on the social situation, where individuals identify themselves with society without merging and losing themselves in it (in these strata there is a recognition that quality of life does not depend only on access to previously unattainable consumer assets, but also on good social organization and function of institutions).

13.1 Market Goods and Services Between 1950 and 1970, the growth of per capita income in Italy was accompanied by a process of social transformation, which fundamentally changed


13.1 Market Goods and Services the Italian pattern of family consumption. During this period, there was a marked increase in acquisition of consumer durables such as televisions, household electrical equipment, cars, and motorcycles, while patterns of expenditures on foodstuffs and clothing were greatly changed.

One major transformation in the traditional culture of consumption emerged during the so-called economic miracle period that signalled Italy's entry into the ethos of mass consumerism. With the increase in per capita income, the basics of consumption also changed. There was a sort of superficial unification of the country according to the models and myths of consumerism. Until the end of the 1960s, structures of consumption were closely related to the respective social strata, not only quantitatively but also in relation to the diffusion of models of consumption and types of product consumed. Consumers' behaviour reflected a system of generally accepted values and aspirations and looked toward the consumption patterns typifying the social stratum immediately above. New types of consumer durables were acquired, under the influence of advertising, by a growing number of Italian families, only 12% of families had a television set in 1958, compared to 49% in 1965. Over the same period, the proportion of those owning a refrigerator increased from 13% to 55%, and of those owning a washing machine from 3% to 23% (see table 1). At the same time, expenditures increased on other consumer goods: foodstuffs (from Lit.6,231,000 in 1960 to Lit. 10,213,000 in 1965 and 115,148,000 in 1985), clothing (from Lit.1,367,000 in 1965 to Lit.2,154,000 in 1965 and 35,756,000 in .1985), and many other goods and services connected with transport, health, and personal items (see table 2). In the 1970s, widespread criticism of traditional values, voiced in particular by the protest movements that dominated the political and social scene in that era, helped to call into question the consumerism of the 1960s and its ability to reflect the social climate and principal cultural currents.

Table 1 Durable goods owned by Italian families, 1958-85 (%)

Black-and-white TV Colour TV Washing machine Refrigerator








12 3 13

20 5 17

49 23 55

82 63 86

89 77 93

85 22 86 98

64 58 89 99

Source: P. Ginsberg, Storia d'ltalia dal dopoguerra ad oggi (Turin: Einaudi, 1989).


Life Style

Table 2 Household expenditures on consumer goods, 1960-85 (billion lire)

Food and drink Tobacco Clothing and footwear Housing Fuel and electric power Furniture Health Transport and communications Recreation, entertainment, and education Other consumption Total







6,231 555 1,367 1,459 424 836 840 1,030

10,213 734 2,154 2,305 716 1,410 1,641 2,014

14,816 1,081 3,485 3,662 1,163 2,233 3,210 3,955

26,710 1,835 7,502 8,165 2,504 5,963 3,401 8,532

61,490 4,013 20,596 19,264 8,305 16,260 8,509 27,485

115,148 9,306 35,756 45,238 20,346 27,978 21,638 58,919

1,616 14,358

2,765 23,952

4,329 37,934

5,968 10,866 81,446

15,343 31,223 212,488

33,275 66,496 434,100

Source: ISTAT, Sommario di Statistiche Storiche, 1926-1985.

The second great transformation in models of consumerism occurred in the 1980s, in relation to important changes in the economic sector and media advertising. After the difficult economic conditions in the early 1980s, 1983 saw a widespread resurgence that suggested a second Italian economic miracle (Turani, 1986). From 1983 to 1990, family consumption increased significantly and increasing numbers of Italians possessed various consumer durables (see tables 2, 3,4). The new consumer culture was distinguished by a growing tendency to value nonmaterial and symbolic aspects of products. The emphasis on quality among consumers in the 1980s, as observed in a number of opinion surveys, was not so much related to the intrinsic properties of the goods as a requirement that the goods represent an image of quality that is considered to confer a similar identity on their owners (Biorcio and Maneri, 1993). A survey carried out in 1991 by Banca d'Italia on the household budgets of Italian families showed that more than 70% of income was spent on consumer goods. This trend reflected the consumption of certain goods in relation to the level of family income. Non-consumer goods such as property, bank deposits, and government bonds were directly linked to level of income; as disposable income increased, so did the consumption of these types of "products" (see table 5). Accommodation (ownership, size in ratio to the number of inhabitants) still provided a fairly accurate indication of an individual's position in the social hierarchy, while cars and other consumer durables such as a refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, or colour television did not, as they were now owned by three quarters


13.1 Market Goods and Services

Table 3 Indicators of wealth spreading, 1986-92 (%)

Have bank account Government stocks Savings increase Insurance/pension/allowance/private income Frequently use credit card




40.8 12.6 24.2 4.6 2.2

47.3 14.0 26.7 6.5 2.8

48.4 18.5 27.9 8.2 4.0

1992 53.6 21.4 27.1 10.3 6.7

Sample size: 1,500. Source: Eurisko, Sinottica. 1986-92.

Table 4 Durable goods owned by Italian families (%), 1986-1992

Colour TV VCR

Computer Sound system Family car Personal car





70.8 3.5 9.4 34.0 84.8 45.3

79.5 11.8 12.9 35.5 86.4 47.5

88.4 25.4 16.4 40.5 88.0 49.8

95.6 45.4 18.7 47.6 88.9 52.0

Sample size: 1,500. Source: Eurisko, Sinottica. 1986-92.

Table 5 Family consumption of selected items, 1992-93 Incremental % Communications Tobacco Non-alcholic beverage Purchase of transportation services Books and newspapers Purchase of means of transportation Clothing and shoes Radios and televisions Furniture and household articles Hotels Source: ISTAT, Annuario di statistica italiano. Rome, 1993.

+ 6.2 + 4.5 + 2.7 + 2.5 +1.5 - 21.5 - 5.8 - 4.8 - 4.4 - 4.2


Life Style

of all Italian families with negligible differences between the top and bottom social classes. However, the frequency of use of all types of transportation, particularly in terms of type and numbers of vehicles owned, showed considerable differences in income and class. The recession that hit Italy in the early 1990s brought significant changes in household spending, particularly as regards the purchase of means of transport, clothing, radios, TVs, sound systems, furniture, and household items. Spending increased on communications media, tobacco, non-alcoholic beverages, books, and newspapers (see table 5). With regard to trends in consumption of foodstuffs over the last five years, there have been great and rapid transformations in both supply and demand. The Italian diet has evolved quantitatively (Italians eat more) but more particularly qualitatively (they eat better: more nutritious foods, with a more varied and balanced diet) in comparison with the traditional prevalence of "subsistence" cereal-based carbohydrates. Moreover, the amount and variety of supplies of industrial products has increased, hand in hand with a greater concern for conservation, while the structure of foodstuffs distribution and supply has changed, focusing on the final consumer through a process of multiplication of and selectivity in points of sale. From the demand point of view, since the 1980s there have been a series of transformations, including the requirement, through broadening social strata, for healthy, balanced foods, suitable for maintaining physical fitness and providing a general "feel good" attitude. This has been accompanied by a demand for greater information and publicity on matters concerning foodstuffs and cuisine. Finally, there has been greater attention paid to questions of image, communication, and culture in the choice of purchasing, preparation, and consumption of foodstuffs. The data presented in table 6 provide a first confirmation of the changes in the Italian diet: less cereals and fats; more fresh foods, meat, and fish. More recently we have witnessed the emergence of a new hierachy of consumer patterns: families attach greater importance to their children's education, to health, and to purchasing a home than to buying "status" symbols such as a car, designer clothes, and electronic goods. Consumer patterns are observed on an annual basis by leading research institutes (Censis, Eurisko). One of these surveys (Censis, 1993), conducted on a sample of Italian families, provided interesting signs of change in consumer patterns. The trend produced predominantly not only quantitative but also qualitative changes in social demands. There is a growing feeling that "certain individual and community standards" must be maintained whereby, irrespective of income, almost every family is prepared to reduce expenditure on daily items in order to en-


13.1 Market Goods and Services

Table 6 Food and beverage expenditures, 1970, 1992 (%)

Fruits, vegetables Dairy products and eggs Bread, cereals Meat, fish Oils and fats Beverages Other



24.9 12.7 12.8 30.6 4.4 8.0 6.6

22.7 14.1 11.7 33.4 4.0 7.0 7.1

Source: ISTAT, Annuario di statistica italiano. Rome, 1970-93.

sure the physical and mental well-being of its members (health, education, training, culture, leisure, etc.) in ways not always guaranteed by the state. REFERENCES Banca d'Italia. 1991 "I bilanci delle famiglie italiane nell'anno 1989." Bollettino Statistico, 26. Barile, G. 1994 "I consumi: sugli status symbol prevalgono i consumi di sicurezza." In P. Ginsberg (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: II Saggiatore. Biorcio, R., and Maneri, M. 1993 "Consumi e societa: dagli anni Ottanta agli anni Novanta." In M. Livolsi (ed.), L'ltalia che cambia. Firenze: La Nuova Italia Scientifica. Censis 1987 Consumi Italia '87. Le cose, i messaggi e i valori. Milan: F. Angeli. 1990 Consumi. Rome. 1993 Indagine sulle famiglie italiane. Rome. Scamuzzi, S. 1992 Modelli di equita. Bologna: II Mulino. Scamuzzi, S. 1993 "I consumi e lo stile di vita." In M. Paci (ed.), Le dimensioni della disuguaglianza. Bologna: II Mulino. Schadee, H.M.A. 1989 "Consumi, valori e ceti sociali." Palis, 3(3). Turani, G. 1986 1985-1995 II secondo miracolo economico italiano. Milan: Sperlng e Kupfer.


Life Style

13.2 Mass Information Overall in the last 20 years, the media have developed significantly, although not every type has shown the same degree of expansion: television and the local press have grown, while the cinema and daily papers are undergoing something of a crisis. There is also a crisis affecting some of the media, which is not only structural but also cultural, such as the inability to follow the evolution and cultural changes of the public.

Over the last 35 years, the entire media system has expanded substantially, although growth has not been in a single direction and has produced different results depending on the medium concerned. An example of hypertrophic increase is provided by television. In 1954, when television service began, 88,000 people in Italy had a television set. This number jumped to 1 million in 1958. In 1965, 49% of Italian families had a television (see section 13.1, table 1). By the end of the 1950s, television had already become a mass phenomenon (see table 1). In 1956, only 8.5% of the population were regular viewers; ten years later, the figure had risen to 40%, and it doubled again by 1990 (80%) rising to its highest levels in the early 1990s (82%). Television watching tends to be spread homogeneously throughout the day, and fewer light entertainment programmes are being watched, while information, cultural and drama programmes are becoming more popular. Viewers with a university or college education tend to watch news, current affairs, and cultural programmes, while films, variety shows, and game shows tend to be preferred by people with a lower level of education (see tables 2, 3). Levels of consumption of radio and films have fallen. The downward trend for radio audiences began in the 1960s (in 1956, regular listeners accounted for some 46.3% of the population, while by 1969 the number was down to 36%). There was a revival in the popularity of radio following the launch in 1976 of private radio stations. The decline in the number of movie-goers is the most substantial. As recently as the end of 1950s, at least 28% of the population went regularly to the movies, but the percentage had dropped to 2.8% by the 1990s. Various studies show that going to the movies is extremely popular among certain segments of the population, such as young people and medium-upper social groupings.

Table 1 Media consumption, 1956-90 (%) 1956a







1977 1980b

78.1 16.5 5.4

Television: Watch regularly Watch occasionally Do not watch

8.5 41.5 50.0

40.0 28.0 32.0

44.0 28.0 28.0

64.6 26.6 8.8

Radio: Listen regularly Listen occasionally Do not listen

46.3 20.3 33.4

42.0 25.0 33.0

36.0 26.0 38.0

48.7 26.9 24.4

Daily newspapers: Read Do not read Weekly newspapers: Read regularly Read occasionally Do not read

60.9 17.9 21.2




81.9 15.6 2.5 46.6 30.2 23.2

72.0 28.0

74.2 25.8

59.9 18.2 21.9

58.1 18.4 23.5

1986 1990b

63.0 18.7 18.3

46.6 29.1 24.3

38.9 24.4 36.7

81.3 18.7

82.2 17.8 64.4 18.2 17.4

Table 1 Media consumption, 1956-90 (%) (continued)



1965a 1969a

Monthly newspapers: Read regularly Read occasionally Do not read

27.8 22.9 49.3

Books: Read Do not read Movies: See regularly See occasionally Do not see

1972 1973 1975b 1977 1980b 1981 1984 1985 1986 1990b

16.3 83.7 27.9 20.6 51.5

33.3 23.4 43.3

46.4 53.6

24.4 75.6 17.1 17.1 65.8

14.1 19.0 66.9

10.7 18.6 70.7

54.6 18.4 27.0

44.5 21.2 34.3

39.6 19.5 40.9

34.7 65.3

36.0 64.0

2.3 22.8 74.9

2.8 16.9 80.3

Notes: For television and radio, 1956-1969 average for over 18 years of age. For television and radio, "regularly" is every day, "occasionally" is less than once a week. For weekly and monthly newspapers, "regularly" is every issue, "occasionally" is less than every issue. For newsapers, "occasionally" is less than once in last three months. For movies, "regularly" is at least once a week, "occasionally" is less than once a month. ** = average on the total of population over 18; * = average on the total of population over 15. Source: Servizio Opinione RAI, RAI-OTIPI-UPA, ISAR, ISEGI, ISPI, Doxa, Doxa-Demoscopea, ISTAT, Eurisko.


13.2 Mass Information

Table 2 TV viewers (over six years old) by educational level, 1988 (%)

News Information programmes Cultural and documentaries Political programmes Sports Religious Television films Pop music and entertainment Game shows Concerts and operas Movies Plays Children's shows Serials Variety shows Other Regional programmes


High school

Junior high

Elementary or under


90.7 51.3 54.6 29.2 32.4 5.7 26.8 21.5 14.2 16.0 78.7 10.2 2.7 10.2 17.6 6.4 39.8

81.0 35.5 36.6 14.8 37.5 4.4 40.6 32.1 21.5 8.1 80.4 5.3 5.6 16.7 22.9 4.5 45.0

69.9 25.8 25.1 9.4 39.7 4.4 47.7 35.8 27.4 5.1 80.5 2.8 9.0 20.7 24.9 4.4 45.2

60.8 11.1 9.9 4.7 16.5 10.6 38.5 20.0 28.5 2.3 61.2 1.5 22.5 25.7 22.4 4.1 39.8

75.6 30.9 31.5 14.5 31.5 6.3 38.4 27.3 22.9 7.9 75.2 4.9 10.0 18.3 22.0 4.8 42.4

Sample size: 38, 110. Source: ISTAT, Indagine multiscopo sulle famiglie 1987-91. Rome, 1993.

Table 3 Radio and television consumption by those over 6 years old, 1988 (%)

Radio: males females total Television: males females total


yes, every day

yes, sometimes

not indicated

38.1 39.4 37.8

35.9 39.7 37.8

25.4 20.3 22.7

0.7 0.7 0.7

2.9 3.4 3.1

82.8 83.5 83.2

13.7 12.5 13.1

0.6 0.6 0.6

Sample size: 38, 110. Source: ISTAT, Indagine multiscopo sulle famiglie 1987-91. Rome, 1993.


Life Style

Over the period in question, consumption of published media increased overall: the greatest growth was in monthly magazines, with lower growth for weeklies and daily publications. In particular, the sale of daily newspapers began to decline in 1991 (from 5.3% to 1980 to 6.8 in 1990 and 6.5 in 1991) showing a fall of 4.4% (see table 4). Some studies of mass consumption have shown that over the last ten years, there has been little change in overall readership of newspapers. More specifically, one quarter of Italians read a newspaper every day or nearly every day, while one third read a newspaper at least once a week. News items draw the greatest attention, followed by politics and sports. Some very interesting trends have been highlighted by several surveys (Livolsi, 1992; Livolsi and Rositi, 1982; Schadee, 1989) showing that consumption of the various mass communications media takes the form of personalized "multimedia diets" rather than mutual competition (reading of papers or books and watching television), which vary depending on social class, level of schooling, and age.

Table 4 Newspaper sales, 1980-92 (million) 5.3 6.8 6.5 6.6

1980 1990 1991 1992 Source: Federazione Italiana Editor! Giornali.

Table 5 Magazine sales, 1964-92

1964 1971 1975 1985 1992

News magazines

Other magazines


313,549 2,639,132 2,136,334 2,107,749 1,958,588

2,585,535 1,968,228 1,914,979 2,127,824 2,078,068

2,899,084 46,07,420 4,051,313 435,573 4,036,656

Source: ISTAT, Annuario di statistica italiano. Rome, years as indicated.


13.3 Personal Health and Beauty Practices

REFERENCES Dorfles, P. (ed.) 1993 Atlante della radio e delta televisione. Quarant'anni di TV. Turin: Rai-VQPT. Federazione Italiana Editori Giornali 1991 La stampa in Italia. 1989-1991. Fenati, B. 1993 Fare la radio negli anni 90. Rai-VQPT no. 119. Turin: Eri. Livolsi, M. (ed.) 1992 Ilpubblico dei media. Florence: La Nuova Italia. Livolsi, M., and Rositi, F. (eds.) 1982 La recerca sull'industria culturale. Rome: La Nuova Italia. 1993 Fare la radio negli anni 90. Rai-VQPT no. 119. Turin: Eri. Richieri, G. 1993 La TV che conta. La televisione come impresa. Bologna: Baskerville. Schadee, H. 1989 "Consumi, valori e ceti sociali. Polis, no. 3. Silva, F. et al. 1993 Indagine sull'editoria. Turin: Fondazione Agnelli. Wolf, M. 1994 "Mass Media: tra bulimia e anoressia." In P. Ginsborg (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: II Saggiatore.

13.3 Personal Health and Beauty Practices Italy has seen a general and constant increase in standards of living (with better nutrition and housing conditions), increased attention to well-being, increased use of cosmetics, and higher levels of education, so that people are more able to understand and regulate their own health and well-being. Over the last 30 years, Italians' average life expectancy increased. Average length of life rose for men (from 67 years in 1961 to 73 in 1991) and women (from 72 years to 80 over the same period) (see table 1). As noted elsewhere in this volume, although general health conditions have also improved, leading to greater longevity, considerable differences still exist in the


Life Style

social and geographic distribution of illnesses. Risk of death is much higher among those with no or primary-school education and falls to much lower levels among social strata with a higher level of education (see table 2). From the 1960s to the present, the standard of health among Italians improved in absolute terms, due mainly to environmental, economic, social, and cultural factors. Over the last 30 years, there was a general increase in economic affluence (nutrition and housing standards have also risen), along with an improvement in education, and therefore in knowledge of and ability to monitor personal health. The development of a "health conscience" among the population counteracted the effects of the consistent decline over the same period in the country's health system and medical-care services. One indicator of the population's physical and mental well-being is the change in the number of patients by type of institution. Between 1978 and 1991, the number of hospitalizations, particularly in mental institutions, declined, as did the number of deaths (see table 3).

Table 1 Life expectancy at birth, 1961-91 (years)

1961 1971 1981 1991





67.2 69.0 71.1 73.7

72.3 74.9 77.8 80.4

69.8 72.0 74.5 77.1

5.1 5.9 6.7 6.7

Source: Geddes M. (ed.), La salute degli italiani. Rapporto 1993. NIS, 1994.

Table 2 Death risk according to education level, 1993 (average = 100)*

none elementary grade 6-7 (11 to 13 years of age) high school (14 to 19 years of age) high-school graduate



155 114 90 73 58

144 102 93 82 83

* Age between 18 and 54 years. Source: Berlinguer G., "Salute e (mala)sanita", in: Ginsborg P., eds, Stato dell'Italia., Milan: II Saggiatore-Mondadori, 1994.


13.3 Personal Health and Beauty Practices

Table 3 Patient movements by year and by type of institution, 1987-91

1987: - present at beginning of year - entered during year total hospitalized during year - discharged during year deceased 1991: - present at beginning of year - entered during year total hospitalized during year - discharged during year deceased

General and specialized hospitals

Psychiatric hospitals


180,771 9,272,201 9,452,972 9,081,756 196,071

39,817 65,731 105,548 65,248 1,810

220,558 9,337,932 9,558,520 9,147,004 197,881

166,350 8,254,851 8,421,201 97,958,135 182,977

31,219 56,796 88,105 56,226 1,323

197,596 8,311,647 8,509,216 8,014,361 184,300

Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagine multiscopo sulle famiglie 1987-91. Rome, 1993.

In particular, from the 1960s on, the nosological framework changed from predominantly infectious, frequently mono-causal and reversible pathologies to chronic and multi-causal pathologies that are difficult to cure (see table 4). There was a marked reduction in incidence of infectious illness (mortality rate of 3.4% in 1990, compared with 27.3% in 1960), while deaths from mental disorders and diseases of the nervous system and sense organs seems to have dropped strongly to become almost negligible (from 147.5 per 100,000 in 1960 to 27.8 per 100,000 in 1990), a profile similar to those of illnesses of the respiratory and digestive systems. The two most important causes of death are now illnesses of the circulatory system and tumours, the frequency of which has almost doubled (see table 4). The most interesting fact to emerge regarding infectious diseases is that from 1987 to 1991, the number of people affected declined overall, particularly for diphtheria (in 1991 there were no cases at all) and viral hepatitis. The figures remained constant (although the trend was downward) for typhoid, meningitis, and traditional childhood diseases such as measles, scarlet fever, and chickenpox (see table 5). In general, women tended to become ill more frequently than men for all illness types examined. The most common reasons for ill health on the part of women were musculo-skeletal diseases (at the moment 74 out of every 100 women are affected) and nervous-system disorders (5%, compared with 2.5% of the male population).


Life Style

Table 4 Mortality rates by major groups of causes, 1960-90 (per 100,000 inhabitants)

Infectious and parasitic diseases Neoplasms Mental disorders and diseases of the nervous system and sense organs Diseases of the circulatory system Diseases of the respiratory system Diseases of the digestive system Other pathological conditions Ill-defined symptoms, signs, and conditions Violence








27.3 151.0

20.2 170.7

17.7 185.0

9.9 199.7

5.8 218.3

5.9 227.6

3.4 265.7

147.5 283.6 86.3 57.8 96.6

152.9 320.0 84.6 60.5 98.3

12.2 138.6 94.3 57.5 79.8

11.8 476.4 85.6 60.1 68.3

13.6 469.9 69.7 58.5 63.6

15.1 459.0 69.1 55.3 66.9

27.8 425.4 59.6 50.1 68.8

47.2 47.0

39.2 50.2

32.4 53.6

33.9 54.2

25.7 56.2

26.2 48.9

21.7 53.2

Source: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche, 1926-1985; ISTAT, Annuario Statistico, 1991.

Official statistics for consumption of pharmaceutical products show that Italians take a large number of medicines. On average, in any two-day period over a third of the population takes at least one form of medicine (see table 6 for consumption of over-the-counter preparations). The largest proportion of these are anti-neuralgic or analgesic preparations (over a third of the Italian population occasionally takes medicines of this type, while 1 person in 12 uses them frequently). The least common over-the-counter medicines purchased are sleeping pills or hypnotic drugs, which are used regularly by only 1.3% and frequently by 2.3% of the population. Women use medicines far more frequently than do men. From the first half of the 1970s to 1993, there was a great increase in expenditures on personal toilet items, cosmetics, and perfumes (see table 7). A new trend emerging in Italy is the use of "unconventional" or alternative medicines. Although fairly new compared with other countries, this type of medical treatment has a large number of adherents, as borne out by the growing number of homeopathic pharmacists, herbal-cure outlets, acupuncturists, and other sources of alternative remedies. "Soft" medicine, as it is also known, actually involves numerous types of therapies, including oriental practices such as acupuncture. The philosophy behind this type of remedy is the search for individual equilibrium having a different relationship with one's body and with one's therapist, and a more humane system using exclusively natural-based remedies. Often, these types of treatment are used together with conventional treatment on the part of both patients and doctors. More and more doctors are prescribing natural remedies as


13.3 Personal Health and Beauty Practices

Table 5 Selected infectious diseases by patient's age, 1987, 1991 (per 100,000 inhabitants) WhoopViral ingPolio- Scarlet ChickenMeninEpidemic Diph- hepapox titis Typhys gitis Measles parotitis cough myelitis fever teria 0-2 years 1987 1991 3-4 years 1987 1991 5-9 years 1987 1991 10-14 years 1987 1991 15-19 years 1987 1991 20-24 years 1987 1991 25-29 years 1987 1991 30-34 years 1987 1991 35-39 years 1987 1991 40-44 years 1987 1991 45^49 years 1987 1991 50+ years 1987 1991

15 0

173 109

232 398

154 97

258 183

388 346

869 537

0 0

161 182

830 946

3 0

209 184

125 185

39 45

3,644 2,199

1,044 9,316

9,990 5,198

0 0

6,529 7,111

1,531 1,912

5 0

804 756

214 272

67 73

8,901 6,139

2,067 1,873

9,826 6,288

0 0

6,521 5,374

3,351 3,400

0 0

939 737

242 171

44 34

3,592 5,010

5,642 4,563



0 0

969 682

1,784 1,377

0 0

162 955

219 157

68 43

933 416

128 112

192 149

0 0

179 213

905 679

0 0

259 162

258 186

42 37

502 180

855 681

166 79

0 0

108 78

769 478

0 0

147 109

184 143

32 25

135 394

740 624

107 62

0 0

53 52

242 268

2 0

919 584

144 83

23 31

78 182

763 726

119 80

0 0

51 54

134 186

0 0

59 33

11 79

15 23

60 97

57 48

86 56

0 0

30 30

81 93



52 30

72 77

9 16

25 80

28 28

47 41

0 0

20 16

41 49

0 0

47 21

74 47

12 11

14 28

16 11

29 10

0 0

8 7

19 19

1 171 0 1,085

392 298

86 83

62 69

346 313

90 67

1 0

34 78

421 430

Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagine multiscopo sulle famiglie 1987-91. Rome, 1993.


Life Style

Table 6 Drug use by men and women, 1990 (%)

Men sometimes

34.1 10.7

Analgesics Vitamins Sedatives Nasal spray Digestives Laxatives Neurolectics

4.5 15.3 11.1

8.2 1.6


Women sometimes

5.8 3.1 2.1 2.4 2.0 1.2 0.8

39.0 13.1

8.5 15.0

9.3 11.7


Total sometimes



36.6 11.9 6.5 15.1 10.2 10.0 2.4


4.3 4.6 2.2 1.9 2.7 1.8

7.9 3.7 3.3 2.4 2.0 1.9 1.3

Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagine multiscopo sulle famiglie 1987-91. Rome, 1993.

Table 7 Consumption of soaps and sanitary articles, 1975-93 (average expenditure per household, lire) 7975










Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagine sui consumi degli Italiani, 1975-1993.

well. Similarly, many pharmacists now sell both pharmaceutical and natural preparations. As a result, there is coexistence rather than rivalry both in terms of consumption and prescription of these substances. An ISTAT survey carried out in 1990 measured Italians' level of use of, satisfaction with, and opinion of three alternative treatments: homeopathy, acupuncture, and phytotherapy. The responses showed that over 7% of the population (4 million people) used one or other of these remedies. Homeopathic preparations were more commonly used by women (4.5%) than by men (2.5%). They were also widely used among better-educated young people, while phytotherapy was the most commonly used alternative remedy because it was not directly dependent on medical recommendation and was more accessible in terms of both retail availability and price. Interviewees tended to have a positive opinion of at least one of these practices irrespective of personal experience. It could be said that there is a positive perception on the part of the entire population of "unconventional" medicines taking the form of generalized approval.


13.4 Time Use

REFERENCES Berlinguer, G. 1994a "Salute e malasanita." In P. Ginsberg (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: II Saggiatore. \994bLa milza di Davide. Viaggio nella malasanita fra ieri e domani. Rome: Ediesse. Geddes, M. (ed.) 1993 La salute degli italiani. Rapporto 1993. Firenze: La Nuova Italia Scientifca. Raschetti, R., et al. 1992 "Farmaci: razionalizzare le prescrizioni." Prospettive Sociali e Sanitarie, 20: 3-9. Rodota, S. (ed.) 1993 Problemi di bioetica. Bari: Laterza.

13.4 Time Use A reduction in working time, the increasing employment rate among women, and an increasing education level have considerably changed time budget of individuals. Nevertheless, significant differences between men and women and between generations still exist in the pattern of time use. One significant indicator of social change at both the productive and symbolic levels is the use of time. From 1960 to 1970, industrialization led to a considerable reduction in work hours (weekends, holidays, etc.) and triggered changes in the way people used their time. In more recent years, the growth of the service sector introduced greater flexibility in time use. Differences in economic areas of production in the major conurbations also tends to influence the way in which individuals allocate their daily time, which then translates into life styles and patterns typical of the various towns and cities. An emerging trend throughout the EU since the 1970s has been a progressive reduction in working hours, changing the classic pattern of eight hours a day, five days a week. In the 1980s, there was a slight increase in hours worked, which through the decade stabilized at about 1,730 hours per annum for workers in the industrial sector (see table 1). A series of changes, such as new technologies used in the production and service sectors, increased demand for services, and widespread urbanization, have encouraged greater flexibility in the organization of work and led to the introduction of so-called atypical working hours (nights, Sundays, seasonal, etc.).


Life Style

Table 1 Average hours worked per year, industrial employees, 1972-88 hours worked

1972 1975 1978 1981 1984 1988

,705 ,570 ,684 ,675 ,728 ,738

Source: Eurostat, Costo della manodopera. 1989.

Various studies on the structure of work hours have suggested that the characteristics of a person's work day can be taken as indices of a new type of social classification in which the lower strata are jobs with working hours outside the standard working periods (Chiesi, 1989,1993). In addition to jobs that are "atypical" in terms of contractual protection, there are also those that are atypical in terms of work hours, in sectors ranging from the food industry to marginal occupations. The organization of time and the identification of policies for its management are aspects that are still receiving much attention today, either because the manufacturing restructuring and unemployment crisis has made a greater mass of time available, or because ever broader segments of the population are laying claim to a better definition of the use of time, from working hours, for all, each day, to the availability of leisure time (Belloni, 1994). Studies on the way people allocate their available time per day or week highlights the different levels of accessibility to social time by various groups (Belloni, 1984; Chiesi, 1993). The different ways in which time is used produce areas of inequality that can be explained by social stratification based on type of occupation. For example, there continues to be a significant difference between men and women in the organization of their daily lives, especially in areas most directly concerned with specific roles and their relative responsibilities. Indeed, there is still a great imbalance between men and women in employment of time in activities more strictly linked to their respective roles (women spend 7 hours and 18 minutes a day on household and family tasks when they have small children and 5 hours when there are no children) (see table 2). Childless women have about the same amount of leisure time as men (4hl2'); single mothers have the least leisure time (3hl8'). For men, leisure time represents a significant amount of their total free time, while they dedicate the time left to


13.4 Time Use

Table 2 Use of time and family model by sex, 1993 Couples with children: women men

Couples without children: women men

Single parents

Average duration: FAMILY ACTIVITIES

Housework Shopping Child care3 Paid work Sleeping, eating, etc. Free time

7hl8' 5h30' IhOO' Ih36' 6h24' 10h54' 3h30'

Ih48' Oh48' Oh48' Ihl2' 7h36' 10h48' 4h42'

99.7 99.0 55.3 64.9 29.7 100.0 96.1

70.3 28.3 20.4 29.6 77.6 100.0 98.4

5h06' 4h24' Oh54'

Ih24' Oh42' Oh42'



6h30' Ilh06' 4hl2'

7h36' 10h48' 4h42'

99.3 96.4 60.4

56.1 31.3 11.9

5hOO' 3h24' Ih06' Ih42' 6hOO' Ilh06' 3hl8'

Participation levels (%): FAMILY ACTIVITIES

Housework Shopping Child care3 Paid work Sleeping, eating, etc. Free time



41.5 100.0 98.4

78.3 100.0 100.0

100.0 98.4 45.1 44.4 54.9 100.0 99.0

a children under 14. b insignificant ratio. Source: M. Paci, Le dimensioni della disuguagliania. Bologna: II Mulino, 1993.

their families (see table 2). Although leisure time seems to be permanently imbalanced in favour of men, greater homogeneity is to be found in time spent at work, confirming the fact that the model of allocation of time in Italy is generally constant throughout the various social strata, reflecting the situation in other developed countries. REFERENCES Balbo, L. (ed) 1991 Tempi di vita. Milan: Feltrinelli. Belloni, M.C. 1984 // tempo nella citta. Milan: Franco Angeli. 1989 "L'organizzazione del tempo quotidiano in Ires." Relazione sulla situazione economica, sociale e territoriale del Piemonte. Turin: Rosemberg e Sellier.


Life Style

Chiesi, A.M. 1989 Sincronismi Sociali. Bologna: II Mulino. 1993 "Disuguaglianze social! nell'uso del tempo." In M. Paci (ed.), Le dimensioni della disuguaglianza. Bologna: II Mulino. Sabbadini, L.L., and Palomba, R. 1993 "Differenze di genere e uso del tempo nella vita quotidiana." In M. Paci (ed.), Le dimensioni della disuguaglianza. Bologna: II Mulino. Saraceno, C. 1985 "Le donne e il tempo nella vita quotidiana." in M.C. Belloni, L'aporia del tempo. Milan: Franco Angeli. Schioppa, P.P. 1977 Laforza lavoro femminile. Bologna: II Mulino.

13.5 Daily Mobility Over the years a number of factors led to a notable increase in two-way mobility between cities and their suburbs: the transformation of cities into metropolitan areas, urban sprawl, the growing dependence of suburbs on the highquality services offered in cities, and the increasingly serious problems faced by inhabitants of densely populated areas, which encourage people to live out of town. Demand for mobility has been further changed by the continuing transformation of cities and their structure as the industrial socio-economic scenario is replaced by the post-industrial scenario.

At present, demand for mobility in Italy appears to be characterized by both quantitative growth and qualitative specialization. Demand for mobility for work purposes, now tendentially less rigid in terms of both journey starting point and destination, is falling. Instead, there has been an acceleration in demand for mobility among the non-working population. Nevertheless, in the last decade more highly qualified workers, in skilled and professional jobs, have been more mobile in terms of frequency and range of travel. According to 1993 statistics, 75% of users of the highway network travel within the region where they live and about 50% of road traffic (expressed in vehicles/km) is in urban centres. Within this scenario the growth of public transport in Italy has been far from positive: there has not been adequate development in transit systems to respond to the expansion and transformation of cities. The result is a serious imbalance between demand for mobility and transportation capacity.


13.5 Daily Mobility

A preliminary picture of the mobility situation can be obtained from comparative data for different urban areas. There were about 5.3 million trips a day in the Milan area in 1993, an 11% increase over 1985. Public transport was used for 45% of trips to and from locations outside the city and private vehicles for the remaining 55% (see table 1). The number of cars on the roads shot up from 39 cars per 1,000 inhabitants in 1960 to 366 per 1,000 in 1985 (see table 2). Outside of metropolitan areas, growing demand for mobility has taken the form of significant use of the road and highway systems by the over 27 million vehicles registered in Italy (see table 3). In 1993, car use for local travel accounted for Table 1 Use of public and private transportation in selected metropolitan areas, 1993 (%) Naples




62 38

55 45

55 45

51 49

Private Public

Source: CESIL, La mobilita nelle citta, 1993.

Table 2 Numbers of cars and buses, 1960-85

Number of cars Number per 1,000 inhabitants Number of buses













39 18,407

105 25,076

189 32,899

269 43,825

310 58,149

366 71,981

Source: Conto Nazionale dei Trasporti, 1989.

Table 3 Number of licensed passenger vehicles, 1965-90

1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990





5,472,591 10,181,192 15,059,689 17,686,236 22,494,641 27,415,828

3,670,979 3,703,107 4,548,769 4,551,877 5,739,877 6,003,558

25,076 32,899 43,825 58,149 76,296 77,731

9,168,646 13,917,198 19,652,283 22,296,262 28,310,814 33,497,117

Sources: ISTAT, Annuario statistico italiano. Rome, various years; ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche 1926-1985. Rome, 1986.


Life Style

135.4 billion passengers/km, compared with 16.6 billion passengers/km transported by bus, tram and train (see table 4). Comparing the situation in a number of European cities during rush hour (7:00-9:00 a.m.), Italian cities have among the lowest percentages for use of masstransit systems (Milan 40%, Naples 35%) (see table 5). Considering the flood of cars invading Italian cities each day, parking facilities are totally insufficient. In 1993, it was estimated that Milan has an inhabitants/ parking place ratio of 300:1. In other parts of the country the situation is far worse: 700:1 in Genoa, 750:1 in Turin, 870:1 in Rome and even 1,460:1 in Naples. The Italian railways play only a secondary role in transport of both goods and passengers. National mobility, calculated in number of passengers/km, has more than doubled since the early 1970s (in 1995 there was a further 17% increase). However, 85% of all journeys are made by road or highway. Only 12.7% of all passengers take the train, while 1.5% travel by plane. In 1970, train travel accounted Table 4 Passengers per kilometre per type of tarnsportation, Rome and Milan, 1985, 1988, 1990 (billion passengers/km)

1985 1988 1990


Buses and trolleys




0.2 0.2 0.2

17.3 16.4 16.4

2.0 2.7 3.3

117.4 136.8 135.4

0.6 0.7 0.9

Source: Conto Nazionaale dei Trasporti, 1985-88-90.

Table 5 Public transportation transfers 7:00-9:00 AM, selected European cities, 1993 (%) London


Vienna Munich Glasgow Hannover Liverpool Paris Milan Napoli

70 70 65 60 55 50 40 35

Source: UITP-IVECO, 1993.


13.5 Daily Mobility

for over 18%, while road/highway travel accounted for 80% and air travel for under 1% (see table 6). Confirmation of the underuse of Italian railways is underlined by a comparison with other major European countries. In Italy the average is 7 journeys per capita per annum, compared with 13 in France and England and 28 in Germany. Interestingly, the average distance travelled by train in Italy is 107 km, whereas it is 80 km in France, 45 km in England, and 40 km in Germany, emphasizing the fact that in Italy the train is underused for local journeys, particularly commuter travel. Commercial trucking has experienced accelerated growth over the last 20 years, and it has been a major factor in Italy's economic and industrial development. The increase in movement of freight by road is attributed mainly to the lack of infrastructure necessary to make use of rail transport - in many respects complementary to road transport - economically advantageous; rail transport is also insufficiently competitive in terms of price and delivery speed with air freight and coastal shipping. The increased number of trucks on the road has a series of negative repercussions: economic (costs of maintaining roads and highways, which wear out faster), environmental (air and noise pollution), and social (heavy vehicles in excessive numbers often cause accidents; in 1993 they accounted for 17.9% of road deaths). Hence the need to reorganize this transportation sector, with the objective of saving energy and relieving congestion on the country's main highways. Mobility in Italian cities is expected to develop within an increasingly flexible framework (as opposed to those typical of industrial societies, where most journeys have the same starting-points and destinations and are made at the same time of day); typical of tertiary societies, in which journeys tend to be distributed over a longer period of the day and their starting-points and destinations to be less and less systematic. Table 6 Use of means of transportation outside of urban centres, 1970-95 (%)

1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995

State roads and highways




80.8 83.0 84.0 86.1 85.8 85.2

18.4 16.1 15.0 12.5 12.7 13.0

0.8 0.9 1.0 1.4 1.5 1.7

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Conto Nazionale del Trasporti, various years.


Life Style

REFERENCES Corona, G. (ed.) 1980 Ricerche sui trasporti. Milan: Franco Angeli. Marchese, U. 1980 Aspetti economici e territoriali del sistema dei trasporti. Genova: ECIG.

Santoro, F. 1972 Politica dei trasporti. Milan: Giuffre.

13.6 Household Production Even with female emancipation and transformations in the family milieu, work in the home remains the dominant female activity. Over the last 35 years, domestic work has remained remarkably stable. The change has been not in the quantity but in the content and composition of household production, within which importance is steadily increasingly attached to both verifying function and interceding with external institutions and providing assistance.

Women's social identity in advanced industrial societies is formed by both the generation of income and the production of goods and services essential for a satisfactory standard of family life. The function of household work enables members of the family to utilize a certain group of goods and services acquired by them either in the open market or via the public institutions. "Within the family a process takes places whereby 'food,' 'house,' and 'caring' are transformed into 'I eat,' 'my house,' 'looking after me when I am sick' ... As part of this process, the value of certain goods and services is altered; in other words, value is created: material value and emotive and social value, equally important although impossible to quantify using traditional economic systems of measurement" (Balbo, 1975). If we turn to resources/needs ratios, family functioning depends almost exclusively on women, in their roles of wives, mothers, and workers. Women's work has therefore been divided into market-oriented work (income-generating) and domestic work (producing goods and services not normally available in the economic system except at very high cost but essential for a reasonable quality of life). The transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy, with the progressive expansion of the market for goods and labour forces, has served to remove from family units the function and productive autonomy that represented its underlying feature in


13.6 Household Production

the pre-industrial agricultural economy, in which female labour performed within the household represented a basic element. At the same time, intervention by the state and other external agencies in education, health, and social security removed from the family a series of primary tasks that had formed part of the domestic community. Urbanization and the expansion of a number of essential aspects of infrastructure at the domestic level, such as electricity, running hot water, health services, mass production of goods and services for facilitating various tasks (from household appliances to prepackaged foods, laundRomets, etc.), and finally a reduction in family size have all been factors in reducing the domestic work load. Although the family unit has lost some of its customary functions, the quantity of work within the family, and particularly for women, has not dropped significantly over the years. An explanation for this relative stability may be found in adjustments to the composition and content of domestic work relative to changes in the manufacturing and institutional structure, and in the change - not loss - of functions in the family unit. Today, in the absence of traditional domestic production, family work consists essentially of house maintenance and caring for property or domestic assets; preparation and partial transformation of foodstuffs; and childrearing and assistance to socially dependent members. All of these activities or, rather, these institutional tasks attributed to the family unit - partly provide direct work, performed within the home, but also provide for acquisition, exchange, management, and consolidation of goods and services provided externally, upon which the family unit is now almost totally dependent. Today, homemakers perform a variety of complex tasks, including a range of activities that are not exclusively within the home but demand involvement with persons and places outside the domestic walls. "Housekeeping" therefore comprises a wide range of undertakings whose average duration is long and continues to be dominated by roles ascribed to the woman (who essentially is a "homemaker" from birth). Women who fulfil household tasks or "services" full time tend to be married and belong to the central age groups (see table 1). Although with better education women now more frequently work and earn an income outside the home, housework still continues to be an exclusively female concern whether there are children or not, whether the woman works outside the home or not (see table 2). If the woman also works outside the home, the only changes are in the time and type of household tasks performed, not the responsibilities themselves. Numerous empirical studies carried out in recent years on domestic responsibilities have shown that housework is a totally separate domain from other tasks shared between men and women. First, tasks of running the house not requiring specific abilities are divided between men and women without any crossover.


Life Style

Table 1 Homemakers by marital status and age group, 1991 (%)




39.4 59.9 0.6 0.2 607

4.4 94.0 1.3 0.4 1512

1.7 95.5 1.5 0.8 1647

Single Married/cohabiting Separated/divorced Widows Total (000)






1.8 90.5 2.1 5.6 1969

2.8 80.3 1.7 15.3 1748

5.4 79.6 1.5 13.5 1703

5.6 86.0 1.6 6.8 9187

Source: ISTAT, Indagine multiscopo suite famiglie 1987-91. Rome, 1993.

Table 2 Homemaker by marital status and age group, 1991 (%)

Daughters Singles Couples with children Couples without children Single mothers Total (000)




37.2 0.3 42.0 49.3 0.6 607

3.4 0.3 87.8 7.1 1.2 1512

1.0 0.3 93.3 2.9 2.3 1647






0.6 1.6 80.3 10.7 6.0 1969

0.6 8.2 44.1 36.6 8.2 1748

0.0 35.4 8.9 36.6 7.9 1703

3.5 8.6 61.2 19.0 5.0 9187

Source: ISTAT, Indagine multiscopo sulle famiglie 1987-91. Rome, 1993.

Women continue almost exclusively to be responsible for cooking meals, shopping, and cleaning the house, while men solve technical problems (such as repairs, etc.). Second, all questions concerning the children are the woman's sole responsibility. Third, the man takes a more active role in areas concerning the family finances (important purchases, investments), but is virtually uninterested in more "bureaucratic" questions (documents, contacts with the services). Since the female role in the Italian family has acquired a new significance on the wave of women's protest movements, a number of efforts have been made to evaluate the economic content of family work. According to one author's estimate (Schioppa, 1977), the value in 1977 amounted to some Lit.l7,000bn., equivalent to 30% of the gross national income and higher than the total income of blue- and white-collar workers in that year. Notwithstanding questions about the reliability of such estimates, one certainty is that domestic work supports the rest of the economy, providing free services on which a large part of the population depends.


13.7 Forms of Erotic Expression

To summarize the most significant aspects of the role of domestic work in Italian society and the modifications that have occurred, it may be said that: 1) domestic work has shown remarkable stability over the last hundred years, despite societal changes; 2) such apparent lack of variation conceals a series of changes, not in quantity but in content and composition of household production, within which the importance of verifying function and interceding with external institutions and providing acts of assistance is steadily increasing; 3) these changes can be explained largely by the new functions attributed to the family unit and to the female role within it, as the principal agent of mediation between the production of goods and services and the reproduction of people; 4) these functions are not likely to disappear in the future and it is hard to imagine that alternative structures that are quantitatively or qualitatively adequate exist in Italy today. REFERENCES Balbo, L. 1975 Stato difamiglia. Bisogni, private collettivo. Milan: Etas Libri. Ingrosso, M. 1979 Produzione Sociale e lavoro domestico. Milan: Franco Angeli. Menniti, A. (ed.). 1991 Lefamiglie italiane degli anni '80. Rome: IRP. Schioppa, P.P. 1977 Laforza lavoro femminile. Bologna: II Mulino.

13.7 Forms of Erotic Expression Sexual mores in Italy have changed very slowly: the first signs of a more liberal attitude were observed in the early 1960s, but another decade passed before sexual behaviour changed significantly in the population at large.

In the 1950s, Italian society was rife with taboos regarding sex. Only at the beginning of the 1960s did northern Italy see the repressive rules imposed by the "official" moral code gradually undermined. In southern Italy, these rules continued to apply and were part and parcel of a cultural ethos based on "honour." It is worth noting that until comparatively recently, the idea that women were considered men's property was supported by two sections of the Italian Penal


Life Style

Code: Art. 587, under which murder "to defend one's honour" was considered a relatively minor infringement, and Art. 544, whereby a man who married a woman after having raped her was no longer liable for punishment - nor were any of his accomplices - for the crime. Matters regarding sexuality were not openly discussed. Extramarital sexual activity was strongly condemned at the public level: individuals who were sexually active outside of their marriages kept the fact secret, without knowing to what extent others were doing the same thing. The greater permissiveness of the 1960s led to far-reaching changes in Italians' sexual behaviour: the first cracks appeared in the official moral code and timid discussions on premarital sex were published in a few women's magazines. The adoption of more open attitudes toward sex in the 1960s was related to various factors. The social movements that challenged the established order - the hippies and other groups advocating "alternative" lifestyles turned their backs on the sexual ethos that prevailed at the time. Many of them supported sexual freedom, and the invention of the contraceptive pill for women introduced a clear dividing line between sexual pleasure and reproduction. Women's movements took up the cause of greater independence from male sexual values: they urged rejection of traditional moral standards and emphasized women's need to obtain greater sexual satisfaction from their relationships with men. In the last 35 years, attitudes toward sex have become more permissive: scenes now shown on TV and at the cinema would have been totally unacceptable in the past, and any adult who wants pornographic material now has no problem procuring it. In Italy nowadays many sexual practices kept secret in the past have been made public knowledge. People talk openly about group sex, partner-swapping, transvestites, and other sexual activities and preferences. Sex outside marriage has increased for both sexes but especially for women. However, some people still preach "sexual Puritanism," a concept related to some extent to reactionary political ideology. The population segments that support these views are highly critical of sexual permissiveness and in favour of a return to more rigid behaviour patterns. The spread of AIDS has also brought pressure in favour of single-partner relationships, irrespective of whether they are inside or outside marriage. In the 1970s, young people began to have their first sexual encounters at an increasingly earlier age. While 60% of males and 25% of females in the total population had had their first sexual relationship by the age of 18, these percentages rose among the younger age groups, and the percentages increased gradually as age decreased. Among the youngest age group, 77% of males and 74% of females had. had their first sexual intercourse by 18 years of age (see table 1).


13.7 Forms of Erotic Expression

Table 1 Age in years at first sexual intercourse, 1976 (%)

Males: under 12 13-15 16-18 19-21 22-24 25 or over Missing data Females: under 12 13-15 16-18 19-21 22-24 25 or over Missing data








27 50 14 -

1 16 52 20 4 7

2 12 38 23 6 4 15

2 13 48 14 7 4 12

2 12 44 21 4 5 12

3 10 49 19 3 1 15

2 13 45 19 5 3 13

9 37 38 11 5

1 24 27 21 13 14

1 17 31 19 19 13

1 20 24 18 25 12

1 3 15 21 15 24 21

2 23 28 17 17 13

9 17 57 17 9

Sample size: 2,000. Source'. G. Fabris, R. Davis, // mito del sesso. Rapporto sul comportamento sessuale degli italiani, Milan: A. Mondadori, 1976.

By 1992 this percentage had risen: in the majority of cases men had had their first experience with sexual intercourse by age 15 and women by age 16 (see table 2). Significantly, between 1976 and 1992 the proportion of respondents replying that they could not remember or not responding at all fell considerably (from 26% to around 9.1%) (see table 2). In 1976, 10% of the adult population claimed that they had never had sexual relations at all. The difference between the two sexes was negligible (8% of males and 11% of females) (see table 3). The proportion of young people who had had sexual intercourse was exactly the same for both sexes: among the older age groups, the percentage of males with sexual experience was always higher. After age 35 the figures for the two sexes tended again to be very similar. In the mid-1970s, around a fifth of the fertile Italian population used no contraception method. If we add to this figure those who used extremely unreliable contraceptive methods (such as calculating fertile days by the "rhythm" method), it can be estimated that in 1976 over half the population was exposed to the risk of conception. This extremely high proportion contributed to the estimate made by


Life Style

Table 2 Age in years at first sexual intercourse, 1992 (%)

12 13 14 15 16 17-18 19-21 22-25 26-30 30 or over Missing data



1.5 7.2

2.1 6.2 9.5

12.1 27.8 21.3 12.4

22.6 24.8 14.5

4.3 4.1 2.1 3.2 4.0

5.3 4.3 2.5 3.1 5.1

Sample size: 2,593. Source: II Rapporto Asper sul comportamento sessuale degli italiani, D. Cafaro, Sesso 2000: il comportamento sessuale degli italiani alle soglie del xxi secolo, Rome: Asper, 1992.

Table 3 Those having had sexual intercourse per age and sex, 1976 (%) Age groups never

18-20 21-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 Missing data



8 49 85 94 98 99 98 8

11 49 73 90 95 96 93 11

Sample size: 2,000. Source'. G. Fabris and R. Davis, II mito del sesso. Rapporto sul comportamento sessuale degli italiani, Milan: A. Mondadori, 1976.

the World Health Organization that around 800,000 abortions were carried out annually in Italy at that time, so that abortion was in fact the most widely used method of contraception. Men place the pill in third place as a preferred contraceptive method, while women place it in second place. Even though the pill is perceived by both sexes as


13.7 Forms of Erotic Expression

one of the most reliable methods of contraception, lack of confidence in its effectiveness on the part of women is influenced today, as 20 years ago (by 1992 use of the pill had declined), by disinformation and the consequent belief that the pill is harmful. In the 1990s, in contrast to forecasts, the percentage of women using no.contraceptives actually fell. Even today, one of the most worrying facts is the widespread use of highly unreliable contraceptive methods (see table 4). Despite widespread social disapproval of sex outside of marriage, in 1976, 41% of males interviewed declared they were having or had had extramarital sex. Reflecting the more severe sanctions regarding marital infidelity on the part of women, the figure for female extramarital relationships was much lower and the woman:man ratio was 1:3. In 1992, the proportions were more similar for both men and women (57% of men compared with 45% of women) (see table 5). Table 4 Type of contraceptive used most often per sex (%), 1976-1992 7976 Coitus interruptus Prophylactic Rhythm method Pill Other method Any methods






36 27 11 20 3 17

29 16 9 22 7 23

40 30 •8 * 3 18

21 24 12 11 5 15

* missing data. Sample size: 2,593. Source: II Rapporto Asper sul comportamento sessuale degli italiani, D. Cafaro, Sesso 2000: II comportamento sessuale degli italiani alle soglie del XXI secolo, Rome: Asper, 1992.

Table 5 Incidence of xtramarital intercourse, 1976-92 (%) 7976 never yes Missing data






44 41 15

68 14 18

34 57 9

44 45 11

Sample size: 2,593. Source: II Rapporto Asper sul comportamento sessuale degli italiani, D. Cafaro, Sesso 2000: il comportamento sessuale degli italiani alle soglie del XXI secolo, Rome: Asper, 1992.


Life Style

In the 1970s, the incidence of declared homosexuality in Italy was much lower than the percentage recorded by Kinsey for the United States. Figures available for 1976 estimated some 7% of the male population and 2% of the female population to be homosexual (see table 6). By 1992, these figures had risen substantially reflecting a change in the cultural climate over the intervening years supporting the rights of homosexuals; in turn, homosexuals are no longer obliged to conceal their sexual preferences and far more likely to be open about their homosexuality (see table 6). Table 6 Homosexuals, 1976-92 (%) 7992

7976 yes no Missing data





1 91 2

2 95 3

18 82 -

21 79 -

Sample size: 2,593. Source: II Rapporto Asper sul comportamento sessuale degli italiani, D. Cafaro, Sesso 2000: il comportamento sessuale degli italiani alle soglie del XXI secolo, Rome: Asper, 1992.

REFERENCES Alberoni, F. 1986 L'erotismo. Milan: Garzanti. Cafaro, D. (ed.) 1988 Educazioni e comportamento sessuale dei giovani in Italia 2° Rapporto Asper. Rome: Edizioni Asper. 1992 Sesso 2000: il comportamento sessuale degli italiani alle soglie del xxi Secolo 2° Rapporto Asper. Rome: Edizioni Asper. Fabris, G.P., and Davis, R. 1978 // mito del sesso. Rapporto sul comportamento sessuale degli italiani. Milan: A. Mondadori. Musatti, C. 1950 "Introduzione." In A.C. Kinsey, W. Pomeroy, and C. Martin, // comportamento sessuale dell'uomo. Milan: Bompiani, p. xii. Sabatini, R. 1988 L'eros in Italia. Milan: Mursia.


13.8 Mood-altering Substances

13.8 Mood-altering Substances There has been a steady decrease in smoking in Italy over the last ten years, particularly among the more educated and the male population. With regard to mood-altering substances (in particular caffeine and other substances) there has been an increase in family use since the end of the 1980s. While there has been a progressive decrease in wine consumption, there are no reliable statistics regarding drugs, except for those relating to deaths, in particular from heroin (which increased from 1970 to 1990 but began to drop in 1992).

Despite the health risks, a large proportion of the Italian population smoke (in 1991, over 27% of people aged over 14) (see table 1). Between 1980 and 1991, there was a constant and continued decline in smoking, totalling 21%. This figure relates exclusively to the male section of the population, while the number of women smokers increased, albeit slightly, after a sharp drop between 1983 and 1986. The decline has been mainly among the upper socioeconomic groupings: the proportion of smokers among university graduates fell from 39% in 1980 to 29% in 1991 and among college graduates from 45% to 31.2% over the same period. The fall-off among groups with less education was less pronounced, declining by only 15% from 1980 to 1989. Table 1 Number of cigarettes per day (smokers 14 years and over), 1980-91 1980 (000) (%)

fewer than 6 6-10 11-20 21-30 3 1 or more not indicated total number of cigarettes per day (mean)

1983 (000) (%)

1,910 4,133 7,747 1,409 535 15,434

12.4 26.8 48.2 9.1 3.5 100.0

2,201 3,743 6,398 1,200 551 169 14,262

15.4 26.2 44.9 8.4 3.9 1.2 100.0





Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagine multiscopo sulle famiglie 1987-91, Rome, 1993.

1986-87 (000) (%) 1,896 3,480 6,036 967 449 217 13,047

14.5 26.7 46.3 7.4 3.9 1.7 100.0

1990-91 (000) (%) 1,884 3,123 5,968 1,114 931 67 13,087

14.4 29.3 45.6 8.5 7.1 0.0 100.0


Life Style

The proportion of smokers varies consistently between the two sexes: the proportion of male smokers (38%) is virtually double that of women smokers (18%). 3. The highest proportion of smokers is in the central adult age groups, from 35 to 44 among men (48%) and 25 to 34 for women (27%) (see table 1). Most people begin smoking very young (the available statistics show that 38% of smokers began before the age of 18, and 40.5% were smoking by age 22). Men begin smoking earlier than women (more than 40% began smoking before 18 compared with 29% of women). 4. Daily cigarette consumption tends to be high, above the medical definition of habitual smoking (5 cigarettes per day). Almost half of all smokers consume up to 20 cigarettes per day; the "lighter" smokers (fewer than 10 per day) are more commonly women (see table 2). In 1991, former smokers accounted for 13.4% of respondents: the reason most frequently cited for stopping was health - in other words, the realization that smoking and tobacco in general cause damage to the body. It is interesting to observe that awareness of the harm caused to health by smoking is more widespread

Table 2 Smoking per sex (over 14 years of age), 1980-91

1980 (000) (%)

1983 (000) (%)







Males: smokers ex-smokers nonsmokers total

11,909 2,181 7,836 21,926

54.3 9.9 35.7 100.0

10,235 3,027 9,160 22,422

46.6 13.5 40.9 100.0

9,249 3,374 9,842 2,264

40.8 14.9 43.4 100.0

8,776 4,865 9,558 23,199

37.6 21.0 41.2 100.0

Females: smokers ex-smokers nonsmokers total

3,912 337 19,221 23,469

16.7 1..4 81.9 100.0

4,291 561 19,388 24,240

17.7 2.3 80.0 100.0

4,254 819 19,084 24,458

17.4 3.4 78.0

4,440 1,582 18,953 24,974

17.8 6.4 75.9 100.0

Males and females: smokers ex-smokers nonsmokers total

15,820 2,518 27,057 45,395

34.9 5.5 59.6 100.0

14,526 3,588 28,458 46,662

31.1 7.7 61.2 100.0

13,494 4,194 28,926 47,122

28.6 8.9 61.4 100.0

13,216 6,447 28,511 48,173

27.4 13.4 59.2 100.0

Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagine multiscopo suite famiglie 1987-91, Rome, 1993.


13.8 Mood-altering Substances

among young people (probably due to the considerable number of anti-smoking campaigns in recent years) compared with older former smokers. There was a net increase in domestic consumption of "addictive" substances (such as coffee and wine) between 1987 and 1993, especially tobacco, coffee, and tea. Average monthly household spending on tobacco rose from 63,694 to 129,529 lire; expenditures on wine rose from 43,265 to 74,096 lire, and expenditures on coffee, tea, and other substitutes rose from 36,099 to 53,313 lire (see table 3). Between 1960 and the present, wine consumption has steadily declined: average per capita consumption, in litres, fell from 106.7 in 1960 to around 60.5 in 1990 (see table 4). While the amount spent by Italian households on wine increased between 1987 and 1993, in line with a general increase in consumer expenditure levels, it was nonetheless fairly low in relation to expenditures on other alcoholic beverages. If we break down the figure by head of family's occupation, it is clear that consumption of these substances is higher among the lower socio-economic groups (manual workers), but if the statistics are divided by employee or self-employed status, the latter group spent more on average per month in 1993 than did manual workers (see table 3).

Table 3 Family consumption level by job category of head of household, 1987, 1993 (family average monthly expense, lire)

Self-employed 1987 1993 Employees Managers and employees 1987 1993 Workers 1987 1993 Total 1987 1993

Coffee, tea, and substitutes






17,523 16,495

19,905 21,775

31,569 39,514

17,576 18,067

23,360 24,839

32,125 43,619

36,099 53,313

43,265 74,096

63,694 129,529

Source: ISTAT, Consumi delle Famiglie, Rome, 1987-93.


Life Style

Drug use (particularly heroin) emerged in Italy in the 1970s. However, in the last twenty years it has become a major political and social issue. Legislation on drugs has been the subject of extensive proposals and fierce debate. The first law, passed in 1975, was strongly oriented toward rehabilitation of drug addicts and greater openness about the subject and permitted the possession of a certain quantity of drugs for personal use. This was followed by a more severe law, passed in 1990, whereby the principle of a small quantity for personal consumption was banned. This was then quashed by a public referendum in 1993. Irrespective of the various controversies, the legislation has had the effect of reinforcing the social services responsible for the care and rehabilitation of addicts. The first recorded death from drug overdose occurred in 1973; thereafter, the number of deaths from overdose increased constantly until 1991. In 1992, there was a drop of 12.7% from the previous year (see table 5).

Table 4 Wine consumption, 1960-90 (litres per inhabitant)

1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990

106.7 111.0 113.9 107.5 94.1 74.4 60.5

Source: ISTAT, Annuario Statistico Italiano, 1960-1990,

Table 5 Deaths from drug overdoses, 1988-92 Deaths

1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

809 973 1,161 1,383 1,207

Source: "Ministero dell'Interno" in M. Geddes (ed.), La salute degli italiani, Rapporto 1993, NIS, 1994.


13.8 Mood-altering Substances

Other indicators of widespread drug abuse include the number of people arrested for selling drugs, which rose from 17,876 in 1984 to around 30,000 in 1991. Over the same period the number of police drug raids rose from 8,319 to 21,082 and the amount of heroin seized rose from 457 kg to 1,290 kg (Geddes, 1994) (see also chapter 16). REFERENCES Geddes, M. (ed.) 1994 La salute degli italiani. Rapporto 1993. Rome: La Nuova Italia Scientifica. Moser, J. 1992 Alcohol problems, policies and programmes in Europe. WHO, Regional Office for Europe, EUR. Kiernan, V.G. 1993 Storia del tabacco: I'uso, il gusto, il consumo nell'Europa moderna. Venice: Marsilio. Rolli, A., and Cottino, A. 1992 Le culture dell'alcool. Milan: Franco Angeli.

14 Leisure

At the end of the 1950s, due partly to greater disposable income, new behaviour models and value systems emerged and spread within Italian society. Of particular relevance to this study was the trend toward mass consumption. Once the elementary needs for survival were satisfied, the range of items consumed by individuals expanded, both functionally and culturally. The goods and services people cose (a certain type of holiday, reading material, a sport, etc.) represented means of identification with specific social groups that shared certain life styles. From the 1980s onward, the mass media stimulated a consumer attitude that reduced differences between socio-economic groupings and classes. With mass consumption came "mass culture," which, on the one hand, reduced the individual to a mere consumer and, on the other, offered a wide spectrum of potential consumer choices - that is, a range of opportunities and possibilities available to an increasingly larger number of people (Cesareo, 1990). For example, "leisure" takes the form of heightened awareness of nature, fitness and personal beauty and changing life styles. There has been a growing tendency toward taking holidays (including "weekending," particularly among middle- and upper-middle-class town dwellers), playing sports, and greater and more diverse cultural activities. Demand for information, entertainment, and culture is expanding and becoming more complex. These trends, borne out by numerous empirical studies and analyses, constitute a change in cultural consumption: the predominance of television brought with it growth in consumption of other media and a consolidation of multimedia consumption, increasing the public's awareness of and access to other media available to them. The greater awareness of TV viewers is also highlighted by an increase in interest in other media, such as daily newspapers and magazines, with a variety of functions (information, recreation, provision of a service, creation of identity). Thus,


14.1 Amount and Use of Free Time

cultural consumption may now be represented as a personalized path along which individuals use numerous media and extract information, services, and "leisure" to suit their personal tastes and requirements. REFERENCE Cesareo, V. (ed.) 1990 La Cultura dell'Italia contemporanea. Turin Edizioni della Fondazione Agnelli.

14.1 Amount and Use of Free Time In Italy, the way in which individuals allocate their free time reflects, albeit with quantitative variations, the classic model of developed nations. In comparing individuals' choices and the limitations on those choices, time was experienced differently in terms of sequence, combination and repetition, rules, and symbolic associations. The time curve was different for men, women, and people belonging to different generations and age groups. Because of the traditional conception of family roles, which persists in Italian society, the leisure-time curve is constantly tipped to men's advantage.

Free time, interpreted as the time a person has to dedicate to various activities, including passive ones such as rest, is difficult to quantify statistically in Italy, where the only data available refer to 1993, when the first national survey was conducted by istat on the way people spend their time. The survey revealed that Italy's adult population spent on average 11 hours and 30 minutes satisfying physiological needs, 2 hours and 50 minutes working, 3 hours and 30 minutes on domestic work, 4 hours and 40 minutes on leisure activities, and 1 hour and 30 minutes on education/training, socializing, and travel every day. In Italy, several structural and concomitant causes, such as the gradual ageing of the population, unemployment, and the late stage at which young people enter the labour market, are factors in expanding the quantity of free time assigned to leisure activities. In modern society, time is not experienced in the same way by men and women. If time is a social construct, the conventions and practices that take the form of



schedules and time organization reflect the codes and institutions that have shaped them over the centuries. An analysis of the ways Italians spend their time has highlighted not only the extent to which these vary, but also the different levels of accessibility to free time by various segments of the population. There continues to be an enormous imbalance between men and women in the time devoted by each to housework and caring for dependents (children, elders). Men constantly have more free time per day (5 hours and 20 minutes) than do women (4 hours and 10 minutes), and contrast is greatest for middle-aged women with a family (married women have on average less than 3 hours' free time per day). REFERENCE Balbo, L. (ed.) 1991 Tempi di vita. Studi e proposte per cambiarli. Milan: Feltrinelli. Chiesi, A.M. 1989 Sincronismi sociali. L'organizzazione temporale della societa come problema sistemico e negoziale. Bologna: II Mulino. Ginsberg, P. (ed.) 1994 Stato dell'Italia. Milan: II Saggiatore Mondadori. ISTAT 1989 Indagini Multiscopo sulle Famiglie, primo ciclo -(December 1987-May 1988). Notiziario ISTAT, serie 4, April 1989, Rome. 1993 Indagini Multiscopo sulle Famiglie. L'uso del tempo in Italia. Vol. 4, Rome. Saraceno, C. 1986 Eta e corso della vita. Bologna: II Mulino. Tempia, A. 1993 Ricomporre i tempi. Rome: Ediesse.

14.2 Vacation Patterns Vacations represent a recreational activity for a large proportion of the Italian population across every social grouping. Since the 1980s, some vacation styles, such as package holidays ("all-inclusive") and holidays abroad, have developed that were traditionally restricted to small segments of the popula-


14.2 Vacation Patterns tion. Another emerging trend is that of spreading total holiday allowances over an extended period.

Vacations are becoming more and more popular among Italians. Since 1959, when Istat conducted its first survey on holiday patterns, the proportion of Italians who have spent at least 5 days away from home in the course of a year for leisure purposes (the definition used by Istat) has continued to rise. Over the last 30 years, vacations have become a mass phenomenon involving, in 1985, at least 50% of the population (see table 1). At the end of the 1980s, istat changed the criteria applied to calculate vacation habits: the categories "new arrivals" and "occupants" in the various types of accommodation included all people staying away from home irrespective of whether they were travelling for business or for leisure. Between 1988 and 1992, the number of Italians staying in hotels and other types of accommodation declined significantly, as did the number of days' occupancy (down from an average of 6.1 to an average of 4.4) (see table 2). The age variable is the distinguishing factor between vacation behaviour models. All age groups between 0 and 44 are above the average, while all age groups over 45 are below (see table 3). It is interesting to note that between 1975 and 1985, the number of elderly people (aged 55 and up) going on vacation increased significantly. Another interesting fact that emerges from the few studies available on vacation habits, which, unfortunately, cover only the 1975-85 period, is the type of accommodation chosen. Most Italians prefer a "domestic" form of accommodation: the home of relatives or friends, private rented accommodation, or their own home (a vacation home or second home). Of "non-domestic"-type accommodation, although hotels remain the most common, they continue to decline as a proportion of the total, in favour of campsites and holiday complexes. Another noticeable trend is the increase in package holidays and vacations outside Italy. Over one in ten (10.8%) of all persons who went on vacation in 1985 travelled outside the country; Table 1 Proportion of the population who took vacations, 1959-85 (%) 7959














Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source'. ISTAT, Indagine Multiscopo sulle Famiglie Italiane, 1988





Table 2 Visitors to and length of stay at hotels and other forms of temporary room and board, 1988-92 Number of visitors

Length of stay (days)

Average stay (days)

41,100,038 41,470,947 38,194,481 38,859,010 39,471,964

250,835,816 235,309,983 167,496,129 173,188,941 173,720,901

6.1 5.7 4.4 4.5 4.4

1988* 1989 1990 1991 1992

* In 1988, ISTAT changed the criteria of the survey. Source: ISTAT, Statistiche del turismo, 1988-92.

Table 3 Vacations per sex and age, 1975-85 (%)

Sex Male Female Average Age groups Under 10 years 10-14 15-19 20-24 25^4 45-54 55-64 65 and over Average





35.6 35.3 35.4

38.1 37.5 37.8

43.2 42.5 42.8

46.5 45.5 46.0

39.8 39.0 43.3 44.4 36.2 29.9 23.6 15.1 35.4

41.8 42.4 45.3 48.2 38.7 30.5 24.8 17.8 37.8

49.0 48.7 50.7 53.8 46.0 34.0 30.7 21.0 42.8

52.6 52.1 52.1 56.4 50.0 36.4 34.1 24.8 46.0

Source: ISTAT, Statistiche del turismo, 1987 Annuario n° 2.

three years previously, only 6.8% had done so. A final observation is the spread of holidays over a longer period. In 1985, the greatest number of vacation days still occurred in August, but these accounted for less than 50% of the total. Table 4 shows the growing trend for people to take summer vacations in June and July instead of August and September, while more and more people are choosing nonsummer periods for their vacations. There is also a growing tendency to split vacations over different periods of the year: 1.14 vacations per person in 1985, compared with 1.11 in 1982 and 1.09 in 1978.


14.3 Athletics and Sports

Table 4 Vacation days per month, 1982, 1985 (%) Year


1982 1985

3.5 4.1




34.3 43.1

59.8 50.2

2.4 2.6

Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagine Multiscopo sulle Famiglie Italiane, 1988.


1988 Indagine sugli Sport e sulle Vacanze. Le vacanze degli italiani nel 1985. Note e Relazioni, anno 1988 no. 2.

14.3 Athletics and Sports At the end of the 1950s, very few people practised any form of sport; it was mainly the preserve of adult males. In the 1980s, the situation changed, with sport becoming widely accessible to people of every age group: this was the dawn of the " Sport for All" era. In the last decade, the range of sporting activities and the amount of time dedicated to sport both increased significantly. Despite the positive trends in participatory sport, women are at a disadvantage in this area too.The reasons most commonly given for not doing any sport are lack of time, interest, and facilities.

In 1959, on the eve of the Rome Olympics, istat carried out its first survey on sporting habits among Italians. The study was repeated in 1982, 1985, and 1988. The questionnaire became more extensive (time devoted to sport, reasons, place, type of facilities, etc.), and it is difficult to compare results with those of various surveys because changes were made to the way the questions were formulated. At the end of the 1950s, sports were practised by over 1.3 million people, or 2.6% of the population: 91% of them were men and only 1.1% were aged under 14 (see table 1). The most popular sports were hunting (33% of the population) and soccer (22.3%).



Table 1 Sport participants (6 years and over) per sex, 1959, 1982, 1985, 1988 (% and rate per 100 persons)


7959 Male Female Total N






90.8 9.2

4.9 0.5 2.6 8,809

68.3 31.7

21.5 9.5 15.4 12,207

66.6 33.4



1985 Rate 30.4 14.4 22.2

% 67.5 32.4

1988 Rate 31.9 14.4 22.9

Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagini Multiscopo sulla Famiglia Italiana, 1985-1987-1988.

By the 1980s sports had spread to all areas of the population (including young people and women). In 1982, 15.4% practised one or more sports; this percentage rose to 23% by 1988 (see table 1). The trend toward participating in sports was constantly upward for the 6-10year-old age group from 1982 (26.5%) to 1988 (41.2%) (see table 2). The trend increased with age, particularly in the 11-14 age group, the only segment of the population where over 50% were involved in sporting activity. It is interesting to note that in the space of only six years, the number of elderly people participating in sports quadrupled, while the number of people in their 40s and 50s doing so doubled, underlining the spread of sporting activity to all segments and age groups of the population and the narrowing of the gap in participation between men and women. In 1982, some 12% of all people involved in sports practised more than one; in 1985, this figure was 20%; in 1988, it rose to 23% (see table 3). This trend, linked to an increase in the number of sports available, indicated a greater continued involvement in sport, as borne out by the amount of time dedicated to sporting activity: the number of people participating in sport at least once a week for up to 8 hours rose (to 76.4%) (see table 4). Soccer has remained Italy's national sport; indeed, it has increased in popularity, being practised by 25.5% of all those involved in sporting activity. Tennis also increased in popularity; in 1988, 13.6% played tennis, a similar proportion to those who were involved with "swimming, diving, water polo," which remained stable. The "other sports" category also rose, highlighting the greater diversification of sporting activities (see table 5). "Other sports" include horseback riding (120,000 people participating), sailing (50,000), windsurfing, and mountaineering. The figures for these sports would certainly be much higher if the istat questionnaire did not specify "practised continu-


14.3 Athletics and Sports

Table 2 Sport participants per age, 1982, 1985, 1988 (number and rate per 100 persons)


6-10 11-14 15-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60 and over Total

1,097 1,542 1,699 1,649 1,007 613 326 156 8,089

26.5 43.6 36.9 22.0 13.1 8.2 4.5 1.5 15.4

1988 N Rate

1985 N Rate

1982 N


1,403 1,967 2,106 2,779 1,664 1,020 570 303 11,792

1,345 1,906 1,982 2,965 1,689 1,186 650 484 12,207

37.8 55.1 45.4 32.3 20.8 14.2 8.1 2.3 22.2

41.2 57.9 44.3 32.2 21.6 15.8 9.4 4.4 22.9

Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagini Multiscopo sulla Famiglia Italiana, 1985-1987-1988.

Table 3 Sport participants per number of sports, 1982-1985-1988 (%) Number of sports played






79.6 16.2 4.2 100.0

76.7 17.7 5.6 100.0

2 3 and more Total

10.5 2.1 100.0

Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagini Multiscopo sulla Famiglia Italiana, 1985-1987-1988.

Table 4 Number of hours playing sports per week, 1982, 1985, 1988 (%) Number of hours per week




8 hours or more Up to 8 hours Infrequently Total

4.7 80.6 14.7 100.0

8.0 61.0 31.0 100.0

6.2 76.4 17.4 100.0

Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagini Multiscopo sulla Famiglia Italiana, 1985-1987-1988.



Table 5 Type of sport practised per sex, 1982, 1985, 1988 (rate per 100 persons)

Type of sports Football Athletics Walking, jogging Gymnastics, dance Basketball Water polo, volleyball, swimming, diving Tennis Mountain climbing, skiing Hunting Fishing Other sports


1982 Female



1985 Female



1988 Female


30.9 6.0 4.4 4.9 7.3

4.7 13.9 5.1 19.6 14.6

22.6 8.5 4.6 9.5 9.6

32.5 3.9 5.6 9.6 7.5

2.6 6.6 5.3 41.0 14.9

22.5 4.8 5.5 20.1 9.9

36.8 5.2 2.8 8.0 7.2

2.0 5.1 2.7 42.3 14.8

25.5 5.2 2.8 19.1 9.7

9.1 12.8

19.7 12.9

12.5 12.8

10.7 13.6

19.1 8.4

13.5 11.9

10.2 15.7

19.3 9.5

13.2 13.6

10.0 10.0 5.6 15.1

12.8 0.3 0.3 8.9

10.9 6.9 3.9 13.2

12.2 11.1 7.6 13.5

15.1 0.2 0.5 7.2

13.2 7.5 5.2 11.4

8.7 7.0 5.3 13.7

11.7 0.1 0.3 8.8

9.7 4.8 3.7 17.9

Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagini Multiscopo sulla Famiglia Italiana, 1982-1985-1988.

ally." It should also be noted that in Italy 300,000 people practise martial arts and 200,000 play bowls. In 1988, 31.1% of males were involved in some sporting activity, compared with 14.4% of females. Women's participation in sports was highly "segregated": restricted to specifically "female" sports, such as gymnastics, dance, volleyball, and swimming. "Male" sports included hunting, soccer, cycling, basketball, fishing, track athletics, jogging, and many more activities. Furthermore, the more "female" sports happen to be those that cost more, requiring fixed equipment (66% of women state that they use facilities that must be paid for, compared with 41% of men) (see table 6). This is why the growth of sports among women is particularly interesting: it has occurred despite cultural and financial hurdles. Among those who did not participate in sports, the highest prpoortion were women, adults, and the elderly. The reasons given by members of these groups were lack of interest (23.1%) and lack of time (21.8%); 23.1% felt that their age and state of health precluded sport, while 3.1% reported a lack of facilities and 1.4% cited financial reasons. More women than men mentioned lack of interest (24.2% compared with 21.7%), while more men than women cited lack of time (24.5% compared with 19.7%) (see table 7).

14.3 Athletics and Sports


Table 6 Sport practised per sex, cost of equipment used, and location, 1988 (%)

Pay for equipment Free equipment At home Other place Missing data Total (N)



40.9 31.0 0.6 22.6 4.9 10,862

66.3 16.2 0.8 12.3 4.4 4,895

Sample size: 38,110 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagini Multiscopo sulla Famiglia Italiana, 1988. Table 7 Reasons males and females do not practise sports (%) Reasons Lack of interest only Lack of interest and time Lack of interest and poor health Lack of time only Lack of time and equipment Lack of equipment only Inconvenient timing Economic reasons only Health and age reasons







6.5 3.0

7.8 4.2

7.3 3.7




1.3 3.3 0.6 1.5

1.0 2.9 0.5 1.3

1.2 3.1 0.5 1.4




Sample size: 38,1 10 (13,720 families). Source: ISTAT, Indagini Multiscopo sulla Famig 60

not available

22.5 22.8 21.5 21.8 21.8 20.4 22.8 22.2 24.4 29.0 14.6 23.2 22.7

27.7 28.1 27.0 32.9 51.7 52.0 45.9 44.3 27.0 34.3 26.8

16.4 15.5 17.8 19.7 18.2 19.0 19.8 22.5 18.1 16.7 15.5

16.9 17.1 16.7 13.9

16.2 16.1 16.3 10.9

0.5 0.4



0.7 0.8 0.2

7.0 8.3

1.4 2.9

0.2 0.2



17.4 13.1 22.5 10.4 13.5


0.1 0.5 0.4 0.4 2.0 0.4





6.5 20.2 48.6 10.3


16.2 Crime and Punishment

Although the majority of foreigners tended not to spend money, preferring to save for a return to their native country, there was a shift from temporary to more stable migration and from migration of individuals toward family reunions. This trend raised a whole new set of problems, from residential and educational segregation to ethnic conflict and cultural antagonisms. Some see differences in life style, religion, and birth place as a potential asset in a multicultural society, while others see them as potential sources of trouble and as a threat to their own identity. Hostility toward foreigners sometimes breaks out, but on the whole, Italians are tolerant. Welfare services respond to immigrants' problems with different degrees of effectiveness in different sectors and in different areas of the country. On the whole, the school system seems to have performed better in fighting segregation than other integrating institutions. REFERENCES ISMU (ed.) 1995 Primo rapporto sull'immigrazione. Milan: Franco Angeli. Livi Bacci, M., and Martuzzi Veronesi, F. (eds.) 1990 Le risorse umane nel Mediterraneo. Bologna: II Mulino. Maccheroni, C., and Mauri, A. (eds.) 1989 Le migrazioni doll'Africa mediterranea verso I'Italia. Milan: Giuffre'. Maciotti, I.M., and Pugliese, E. 1991 Gli immigrati in Italia. Bari: Laterza. Melotti, U. 1990 "L'immigrazione straniera in Italia: dati, cause, tipi." Inchiesta no. 90. Natale, M. 1990 "L'immigrazione straniera in Italia: consistenza, caratteristiche prospettive." Polis 4 (April). Reyneri, E. 1979 La catena migratoria. Bologna: II Mulino.

16.2 Crime and Punishment Since the mid-1980s, crime has increased sharply in Italy. This trend is in line with that of other of developed countries. In recent decades, Italy has been plagued by terrorism and the Mafia. While the former has been defeated, the latter is still very powerful, in spite of greater state effort to fight it. Bribes and


Integration and Marginalization political corruption increased since the 1960s, and were dramatically exposed by judiciary investigations in the 1990s, contributing to the present political transition.

Criminal activity has become progressively more organized, and today most illegal activities, from unlawful immigration to trafficking in arms, exist in organized form. The main difference lies in the type of organization involved, which is either of a Mafia type or, despite a variety of criminal pursuits, lacking the characteristic Mafia features. The basic features of Mafia-type organizations (Cosa Nostra, 'Ndrangheta, Camorra) are territorial control, political links, internationalization, and use of corruption. Internationalization in particular is related to the type of assets handled by the Mafia: drugs, arms, and money. This is because trade in these items (for drugs and arms the final use occurs in countries other than those where they produced) requires the Mafia form of organization in order to work across borders, utilize different legal institutions, and tie in with criminal elements in other countries. For money, and especially for the laundering of crime-sourced funds, a system of circulation on a international scale is called for. A Mafia organization typically has a vertical, hierarchical structure and features a remorseless use of violence. But there are also horizontal links between the Mafia and the public administration, typified by deep-rooted corruption. Such corruption is a signal feature of the Mafia's strategy of establishing links with the political and institutional sectors in order to gain freedom from official interference and secure the awarding of public-works contracts and other concessions. After the terrorism emergency, Italy experienced an apparently quiet social climate. However, the Mafia became much more powerful, and the state reacted strongly. In the 1990s, there was an increase in the number of crimes, particularly kidnappings and bombings, commissioned by the Mafia. At the beginning of the 1980s, the state's campaign against the Mafia began to bear fruit. Leading figures in the organization were identified, political links were highlighted, and perpetrators of many serious crimes were revealed (Violante, 1994). However, organized crime does not represent the totality of illicit activities within Italian society. Offences are also committed by individuals not associated with organized crime and by people who are quite unrelated to the major criminal organizations, as well as by others who are less visible, operating within the private milieu, who are difficult to apprehend for offences of personal violence, economic crimes, and abuses against the environment. The typical offences of non-associative


16.2 Crime and Punishment

crime are robberies of banks and post offices, extortion, and loan-sharking. Conversely, the major criminal organizations have a virtual monopoly on crimes that require an articulated multi-level structure and are capable of generating enormous profit, such as smuggling, drug and arms trafficking, and illegal gaming. Crime in Italy has been on a constant and continuous increase: from 820,222 reported offences in 1960, to 1,955,436 in 1985, to 2,647,735 in 1991 (see table 1). The delinquency rate increased. However, the problem was not so much of quantity, but of type: the number of murders went from 5 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1986 to 12 in 1990 (table 2). Statistics regarding crime and delinquency tend to be less reliable than are other official data regarding social problems, probably because they concern only crimes reported by the police. Most crimes, particularly petty crimes such as theft, are not reported to the police. And some crimes are generally not systematically reported in the statistics. It has been estimated that at least half of all serious crimes, including rape, robbery, and assault, are not reported. Another problem is that local police forces have different ways of registering the crimes reported. Some register fewer crimes than others, either because they are less efficient or because they want to appear more effective. Official data generally seem to be reliable only for murders, car thefts, and bank and shop robberies. These three types of crime could be interpreted from three different points of view: murder as "destructive," robbery as "redistributive," and car theft as an intermediate category. From 1985 on, the number of crimes, particularly murders, increased rapidly, doubling in just three years to over two murders per 100,000 inhabitants, in line with the trend in other developed countries. The number of thefts also increased, though at a slower rate than murders. Car thefts increased by 50% from 1986 to 1989. Robberies, which are more violent, increased from a rate of 44.4 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1986 to 51 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1989 (see tables 3, 4). More recently (1992-94), investigations by criminal-justice authorities revealed a widespread and complex system of corruption implicating almost 200 parliamentarians from the governing parties (and, marginally, the opposition parties ), administrators from the majority parties, numerous ministers and administrative heads of ministries, most public bodies regionally and nationally, and leading business and financial groups. These investigations were prompted by the new Code of Criminal Procedure, which came into force in 1989 and strengthened the public prosecutor's power to undertake spontaneous and informal investigations, without the need to inform the suspected parties (and thus their legal advisers) until the precise details of the criminal charges have been formulated.

Table 1 Reported crimes, 1960-85 (absolute values and rate of delinquency per 100,000)

Homicide and infanticide Murder Assault Libel and slander Family-law offences Vice crimes Theft Extortion, robbery, hostage-taking Cheating Other Total


1960 rate

1,614 6,856 175,680 36,660 18,719 10,965 304,891

13.6 348.8 72.8 37.2 21.8 605.1

3,018 39,167 222,652 820,222

77.8 442.0 1,628.3




1965 rate

1,355 6,476 154,290 31,000 19,413 9,640 360,245

12.4 295.8 59.4 37.2 18.5 690.7

2,866 38,732 265,320 889,337

74.3 508.7 1,705.1

Source: ISTAT, Sommario di statistiche storiche, 1985.




1970 rate


1975 rate


1980 rate




2.5 1,382 5,542 10.3 220.3 118,616 44.5 23,939 29.8 16,051 9,621 17.9 546,312 1,014.8

1,746 3.1 5,819 10.5 106,152 191.0 18,423 33.1 11,604 20.9 14.6 8,130 1,527,679 2,748.2

3.7 2,078 9.2 5,218 178.2 100,628 18,044 31.9 9,776 17.3 5,491 9.7 1,325,161 2,346.3

3.7 2,109 8.0 5,458 71,822 125.9 25,794 45.1 14.6 8,340 9.1 5,219 1,172,142 2,051.3


11,451 20.6 30,172 54.3 321,449 578.3 2,039,625 3,669.1

24,403 43.2 62.7 35,436 393,416 696.6 1,919,651 3,398.9

42,524 74.4 83.5 47,710 575,228 1,006.7 1,955,436 3,422.1

3,170 29,216 261,535 1,015,330

54.3 485.8 1,886.1


16.2 Crime and Punishment

Table 2 Reported crimes, 1986-90 (per 100,000 inhabitants)

Mass murder Homicide Infanticide First-degree murder Attempted murder Second-degree murder Injury Rape Theft/aggravated theft Robbery Extortion Unlawful restraint Criminal association Mafia (association) Arson Attempted bombings Cheating Smuggling Drug trafficking Pimping Other Total






0.005 1.521 0.028 0.084 2.788 8.374 28.096 1.174 1,722.401 43.206 2.571 1.060 1.864 0.189 6.123 2.149 43.977 8.842 24.139 1.825 550.764 2,451.182

0.009 1.864 0.017 0.078 2.773 7.178 31.860 1.519 2,040.052 54.460 3.789 1.099 2.420 0.283 9.750 2.307 48.566 12.875 37.649 1.597 995.659 3,255.815

0.007 2.184 0.033 0.078 2.729 7.138 33.008 1.506 2,084.810 50.247 3.793 1.067 2.110 0.395 10.452 2.157 55.737 24.375 54.096 1.862 959.455 3,297.240

0.007 2.716 0.035 0.111 3.057 5.440 31.626 1.194 2,291.617 51.657 3.832 1.034 1.787 0.320 11.044 3.017 59.296 26.305 52.450 1.844 1,020.437 3,568.825

0.012 3.075 0.036 0.075 3.398 5.181 33.668 1.192 2,784.234 63.877 4.541 1.139 1.153 0.326 15.726 3.434 52.284 37.962 53.230 2.067 1,272.160 4,338.768

Source: ISPES, Rapporto Italia 1992.

Table 3 Thefts, car thefts, and robberies, 1986-89 (per 100,000)

1986 1987 1988 1989


Car theft


1,460 1,734 1,778 1,940

712 874 889 1,016

44,4 56,0 51,0

Source: Author's calculations; ISTAT, Annuario Statistico Italiano, 1986-89.


Integration and Marginalization

Table 4 Delinquency rate, 1974-91 (per 100,000)

1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991


Injury to third persons

Robbery, extortion, kidnapping

Total rate

3.0 3.0 3.3 3.6 3.3 4.1 3.5 4.1 4.4 4.1 3.4 3.5 3.3 3.8 3.7 4.7 5.2 6.6

52.5 51.3 53.3 57.1 67.2 53.2 48.0 53.1 51.1 48.5 45.7 44.7 42.3 47.4 46.8 46.2 40.5 47.7

17.2 20.4 25.0 33.4 37.0 49.7 42.7 49.9 62.8 70.8 70.0 74.4 79.9 81.9 76.2 90.3 106.4 119.1

832.6 914.0 917.8 1,016.2 1,101.0 3,431.7 3,359.5 3,453.7 3,604.2 3,588.3 3,465.9 3,500.9 3,546.4 3,845.1 3,888.3 3,952.2 3,465.4 4,877.6

Source: ISTAT, Annuario Statistico Italiano, 1974-91.

Table 5 shows the number of persons sentenced for crimes of various types. The pattern is not a regular one: there was a drop between 1961 and 1970, then a progressive increase between 1975 and 1980, another drop from 1985 to 1990, and finally a strong build-up in 1994 (when there were 206,631 sentenced persons, as compared with 118,116 in 1990 and 120,259 in the early 1960s). The growth in the number of persons convicted in the total population is probably connected with changes introduced by the new Code of Criminal Procedure, innovations to the trial procedure model, and the investigations launched in 1992 into corruption in the political system and complicity between the Mafia, politicians, and institutions. Although the new code has been controversial, there is no doubt that it has shown considerable effectiveness in tackling the massive criminal challenge. The problem of female offenders has not been thoroughly studied, either in theory or in empirical research. The dearth of research has been imputed to the fact that crime by women represents a relatively small proportion of total crime. In fact, the judicial statistics of every industrialized country demonstrate an enormous imbalance between identifiably female crime and overall crime.


16.2 Crime and Punishment

Table 5 Convictions per sex, 1961-94 Years




Female to total (%)

1961 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1994

98,966 86,547 54,598 70,041 116,089 92,297 103,248 173,213

21,293 15,649 10,697 11,251 18,253 15,634 14,868 33,418

120,259 102,196 65,295 81,292 134,342 111,931 118,116 206,631

17.7 15.3 16.3 13.8 13.5 14.0 12.6 16.2

Source: ISTAT, Statistiche Giudiziarie 1961-94, Ministero di Grazia e Giustizia, Rome.

Some scholars have suggested that the statistical data do not reflect the true situation. The chief explanation for the difference may be attributed to the different role and social status of women, which also influences their criminal impulses. This may be seen in two ways: first, because of their limited social life, they may be less exposed to the external stimuli that tend to drive men to crime; second, by "acting behind the scenes," women may be hidden participants in male criminal activity, through inciting, planning, execution, and abetting. Another explanation for the lower crime rate among women could be that their offences are likely to occur in the domestic environment and so be subject primarily to family control mechanisms. Analysis of statistics on female crime, compared with those on male crime, shows one constant and well-established feature: women offend less frequently than do men (see table 5). Although the female population continued to rise, the proportion of convictions of females consistently decreased from 1960 to 1990, although it has shown some increase in more recent years (13% in 1990, rising to 16% in 1994; see table 5). The incidence of crime among women above the lower threshold of the age of criminal responsibility (14) is dropping (virtually halving from a mean value of 116 in 1951 to 59 in 1983), confirming that delinquent females represent a small proportion of all women. This trend would seem to refute a view expressed in some studies in the 1960s, which attributed the lower incidence of female crime to the social status of women: their marginal position in the hierarchy of social prestige, based on their level of education and professional standing, would provide them with less opportunity to commit offences.


Integration and Marginalization

Examination of judicial statistics, especially in the period 1970-85, in which levels of education and involvement in the labour market were significantly higher, clearly show the reduction in female crime rates relative to male crime rates, from one fifth to one sixth over that period. The process of female emancipation, especially in the labour market, shows no apparent correlation with crime levels (see table 6). In fact, in the last decade the proportion of convictions among working women has shown a steady decline (from 39% in 1988 to 28% in 1994), while convictions of nonworking women show an inverse trend relative to working women (with a reduction until 1990 then a progressive increase in the 1990s). This could be explained by a corresponding increase in crime among young women (still in school or seeking their first job) and by an increase of delinquency connected with drug addiction. It is also interesting to note the progressive increase during the period under consideration (1984-94) of female convictions in which there is no information regarding their employment status. This category probably includes women living under deprived social and economic conditions (in marginal, contractually unprotected employment, unemployed, or looking for work), representing a proportional increase in those turning to crime. Although the progressive emancipation of women may cause an irreversible break with the old enduring pattern of subordination, with its image of weakness, it has not fully established a new status of autonomy and authority. The process is under way but is not complete, and it seems to be reflected in the area of crime, confirming a differentiated approach by men to female offenders. This does not necessarily constitute indulgence in their favour. Indeed, when a woman departs, through crime, from the role expected of her, society's reaction may even be more intense and repressive. The increase in female convictions relative to the number of women charged (from 13.4% in 1988 to 33% Table 6 Women convicted per employment status, 1988-94 (%)

1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994



Employment status unknown

39.33 42.08 39.98 31.73 30.69 29.26 28.24

43.32 40.41 34.98 35.80 35.29 39.90 38.60

17.63 16.97 24.45 33.39 34.79 37.04 39.64

Source: ISTAT, Statistiche Giudiziarie 1988-94, Ministero di Grazia e Giustizia, Rome.


16.2 Crime and Punishment

in 1994) - ratios similar to those concerning male offenders (from 12% in 1988 to 36% in 1994) - reveals no particular indulgence or protective attitude by the courts toward the female sex (see table 7). The increase in number of female prison inmates, amounting to more than 50% of those convicted, shows, albeit as an approximation, that women have received no special privileges with regard to custodial remands. Moreover, the overall reduction in criminal charges during the last decade actually contrasted with a slight increase in the number of women accused. It could be maintained, therefore, that the phenomenon observed by some researchers of a hidden level of female crime, represented by unrevealed activities especially in the planning rather than the execution of offences, is on the decline. Over the last five years, despite the significant variance between the statistics of male and of female crime, the statistics show an increase in offences by women. Most of these, as shown by data on female recidivism, concern crimes against property, the economy, and public trust, and against the state, other social institutions, and public order, rather than offences against the person (see table 8). In this sense, the categories of women involved in crime and committed to delinquency are marginal: girls, young women, and women over 65. Another interesting trend is the steady increase in the number of foreign minors accused of crimes in relation to all minors accused, although the number of foreign women relative to the total number of women accused has remained virtually constant (see table 9). Therefore, it is clear that the age range of foreign female criminals relative to that of Italian female criminals is dropping, and concerns those in lower age brackets. This statistic is significantly related to the increase in female (including foreign female) repeat offenders for crimes against property. Table 7 Percentage convicted out of those reported to police, 1988-94 Convicted out of total reported Female Male

1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

13.39 13.00 27.78 22.56 26.11 33.17 32.77

12.22 13.13 34.62 32.78 31.94 34.09 34.69

Convicted with criminal record Female Male 36.74 33.54 37.17 26.77 31.42 32.99 32.81

55.61 47.88 45.35 41.29 46.69 50.22 50.14

Source: ISTAT, Statistiche Giudiziarie 1988-94, Ministero di Grazia e Giustizia, Rome.

Reported out of total

13.2 15.3



Integration and Marginalization

Table 8 Women reported to police and convicted with penal record per age group (%)

Women reported/ total reported Foreigners 1988 1994 Italians 1988 1994 Convicted under 15 1988 1994 15-17 1988 1994 18-24 1988 1994 25^4 1988 1994 45-64 1988 1994 65 and over 1988 1994 Total 1988 1994


Against state, social institutions, public order



20.64 15.84

12.71 7.16

16.08 9.35

8.05 7.54

16.20 11.70

15.07 13.45

13.68 14.27

12.36 20.58

14.83 14.83

12.12 13.55

13.20 17.32

0.00 0.00

0.00 0.00

0.00 30.41

20.00 0.00

0.00 0.00

3.33 16.67

5.41 28.22

2.17 0.00

0.00 0.00

4.41 17.70

6.67 3.41

5.26 4.62

8.82 7.69

4.81 14.62

4.61 4.69

4.03 6.59

4.69 6.63

11.03 13.62

10.06 8.34

6.36 7.65

6.80 8.51

5.04 5.86

4.76 7.35

5.99 7.66

11.58 15.39

11.31 9.47

6.95 1047

9.27 11.29

7.82 8.01

13.04 9.62

8.04 12.25

10.87 13.62

12.47 11.97

8.54 11.84

10.08 12.41

11.84 8.33

20.00 13.95

8.94 15.57

13.15 18.73

20.51 13.41

12.68 16.90

12.78 16.20

5.64 6.37

6.33 7.94

5.62 8.36

11.35 14.78

11.18 9.76

7.38 10.42

8.88 11.21

Against person

Against family/ morality

Against property

16.45 8.76

22.11 21.28

15.27 17.12

Source: ISTAT, Statistiche Gidiziarie 1988-94, Ministero di Gazia e Giustizia, Rome.


16.2 Crime and Punishment

Table 9 Foreign women reported to police and convicted, 1988-94 (%)

1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

Foreign minors reported out of total of minors reported

Foreigners reported out of total of reported

Foreigners convicted out of total of convicted

3.31 7.28 7.93 10.27 6.78 19.08 19.47

3.37 3.06 4.83 4.68 3.62 4.27 4.41

2.74 4.03 4.02 5.20 5.14 6.09 7.09

Source: ISTAT, Statistiche Giudiziarie 1988-94, Ministero di Grazia e Giustizia, Rome.

In conclusion, among possible causes for the phenomenon of female crime, biological factors (less physical strength, hormone-related mood changes brought on by menses) and socio-psychological factors (greater environmental protection, lower incidence of alcoholism) seem to be declining in importance. Currently, the phenomenon of female and male crime must be linked to the more general social, political, and economic changes that have been occurring recently in Italy. Moreover, in studying criminals and the criminal scene, one must not fail to recognize that the geography of crime is now totally changed: individual crime is a "remnant of folklore" (Violante, 1994). The organization is now the preponderant feature in the criminal world, and no criminal activity is without some organized connotations. Therefore, one may conclude that this is an important explanatory variable, especially in relation to the seductive attraction of the criminal group, paradoxically, because of its ability to provide identity and norms possessing positive significance for the subjects involved, especially those who are deprived of social guarantees. Levels of juvenile crime have increased steadily in recent years. In 1986, 19,728 minors were brought before the judicial authorities; eight years later, the numbers had more than doubled. This is a very worrying phenomenon, reflecting a situation in which living conditions for young people seem more problematic and there is constantly less protection for them. A proliferation of delinquent activities among the young now represents a structural fact that is difficult to see as transitory; rather, it can be viewed as symptomatic of a consolidation and aggravation of social marginalization. Moreover, the constancy of distribution of offences with which the young have been charged indicates how the phenomena of juvenile delinquency and petty crime simply


Integration and Marginalization

represent a characteristic of the broader world of adolescents, so that they cannot be attributed to particular economic factors. The majority of the crimes in question are against property: 70% in 1968, decreasing to 63% in 1994 (see table 10). Receiving stolen goods, breaches public order, and breaking drug laws have increased notably. Most disturbing are the data on receiving stolen goods (in a localized context), since this crime could indicate forms of organized petty crime (receiving implies a criminal chain), which further point out the seriousness of the phenomenological frame of reference. Table 10 Young offenders released from detention per type of crime, 1986-94 (%)

1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994

Against person

Against family/ morality

Against property

15.5 15.1 17.1 15.7 15.1 16.4 17.4 17.8 17.6

1.4 1.4 1.6 1.1 1.0 0.8 1.3 1.3 1.2

69.7 66.4 63.2 65.5 69.5 66.4 65.6 64.0 63.0


Against state, social institutions, public order



5.8 8.1 9.8 9.9 7.3 8.0 9.1 8.0 9.4

4.6 6.1 5.1 5.0 4.5 5.9 4.7 5.7 5.2

3.0 2.6 2.2 2.8 2.6 2.5 1.9 2.1 2.7

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Ministero di Grazia e Giustizia, ISTAT, 1995.

REFERENCES Arlacchi, P. 1983 La Mafia imprenditrice. Bologna: II Mulino. Catanzaro, R. 1988 // delitto come impresa. Padua: Liviana. Censis 1992 Contro e dentro. Criminalita istituzioni societa. Milan: Franco Angeli. Chinnici, G., and Santino, U. 1993 La violenza programmata, Milan: Franco Angeli. Consiglio Nazionale dei Minori 1989 / minori in Italia. Milan: Franco Angeli.


16.3 Emotional Disorders and Self-destructive Behaviour

Corrado, S. 1987 Manuale di statistica giudiziaria. Rimini: Maggioli. De Leo, G. 1990 La devianza minorile. Rome: La Nuova Italia Scientifica. Falcone, G., and Padovani, M. 1991 Cose di Cosa Nostra. Milan: Rizzoli. Gambetta, D. 1994 La Mafia siciliana. Un'industria dellaprotezione privata. Turin: Einaudi. ISPES

1992 L'eta del disagio. Florence: Vallecchi. Pepino, L. 1994 "Delinquenza minorile: una malattia sociale." In P. Ginsborg, Stato dell'Italia. Milan: II Saggiatore, Mondadori. Siebert, R. 1994 Le donne, la Mafia. Milan: II Saggiatore. Stefanizzi, S., et al. 1996 L'eccezione e la regola. Milan: Unicopli. Violante, L. 1994 "La Mafia azienda si sconfigge sul piano fmanziario." In P. Ginsborg (ed.), Stato dell'Italia. Milan: Modadori.

16.3 Emotional Disorders and Self-destructive Behaviour In Italy, deviant behaviours such as drug addiction and suicide are increasing. This is certainly connected to the "social disorder" of Italy in the 1990s, which is due to the precarious political situation, a loss of faith in institutions and in the role of safeguarding a democratic state, the conflict between the legal order of the state, and the criminal order of the Mafia. In the 1990s, Italy has had to cope with mass murders, scandals, and general "disorder": political instability, a loss of credibility among institutions that no longer guarantee that the state functions correctly, and an effort to counterbalance the Mafia and its destructive effect on the state. Many people feel uncertain and pessimistic about the future. For some, social disorder provides a stimulus to react and to regain their rights. For more emotionally fragile people, disorder means being in a state of anxiety and passivity,


Integration and Marginalization

abandoning a social and individual identity. The way out for many of the latter is self-destructiveness, through behaviours such as drug addiction and suicide. These two phenomena are increasing, while at the same time people are more aware that the state should guarantee prevention and recovery. By failing to meet these expectations, the state eventually contributes to the creation of social disorder. The only data available on drug abuse concern death due to overdose. Drugrelated deaths, such as those due to AIDS, suicide, hepatitis, and so on, are not taken into consideration. Therefore, an increase in the number of deaths due to overdose does not necessarily mean an increase in the number of addicts. At the national level, no public body gathers statistics regarding the number of drug addicts. Recently, the health ministry published the 1990 statistics, which ranged from 130,000 to 170,000. Table 1 shows a rather worrying situation: the number of deaths increased steadily, from 62 in 1982 to 1,382 in 1991. In the 1990s, however, the government has made an effort to adopt preventive measures and stop drug trafficking and, through the media and information campaigns, tried to make people more aware of the drug problem.

Table 1 Number of drug-related deaths, 1978-91

1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 Source: Ministero degli Interni, Osservatorio permanente sulfenomeno droga.

62 129 208 239 255 259 397 242 292 543 809 974 1,161 1,392


16.3 Emotional Disorders and Self-destructive Behaviour

Table 2 Number of suicides and attempted suicides, 1960-90


1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990

2,035 1,933 1,805 1,754 1,800 1,835 1,863 1,881 1,818 1,904 1,734 1,761 1,703 1,759 1,628 1,633 1,609 1,783 1,879 1,875 1,847 2,003 2,093 2,004 2,253 2,642 2,657 2,899 2,697 2,698 2,707

Suicides Females



917 847 742 764 809 799 747 837 798 775 747 751 769 765 693 706 665 720 739 760 784 752 851 847 920 1,037 1,092 1,182 1,113 1,028 1,121

2,952 2,780 2,547 2,518 2,609 2,634 2,610 2,718 2,616 2,679 2,481 2,512 2,472 2,524 2,321 2,339 2,274 2,503 2,618 2,635 2,631 2,755 2,944 2,851 3,173 3,679 3,749 4,081 3,810 3,726 3,828

1,357 1,190 1,258 1,172 1,162 1,244 1,200 1,355 1,253 1,420 1,198 1,004 1,058 976 875 816 847 766 752 641 646 663 679 726 793 826 901 1,167 1,067 988 910

Source: ISTAT, Annuario Statistico Italiano 1960-90.

Attempted suicides Females Total 2,735 2,752 2,542 2,732 2,539 2,525 2,397 3,056 2,812 3,585 2,812 2,572 2,351 2,220 1,848 2,051 1,704 1,554 1,161 1,169 1,149 1,085 949 1,080 972 1,000 1,078 1,331 1,395 1,281 1,130

4,092 3,942 3,800 3,904 3,701 3,769 3,597 4,411 4,065 5,005 4,010 3,576 3,409 3,196 3,723 2,867 2,551 2,320 1,913 1,810 1,795 1,748 1,628 1,806 1,765 1,826 2,805 2,498 2,462 2,269 2,040


Integration and Marginalization


1989 Rapporto sugli anziani in Italia. Rome: edilspi. ISPES 1992 Rapporto Italia. Rome: Koine Edizioni. Ministero degli Interni 1992 Osservatorio permanente sul fenomeno droga. Le tossicodipendenze in Italia nel 1991. Rome.

16.4 Poverty Although contemporary Italy is a developed society and extreme poverty has been overcome, various types of underprivileged groups still exist. The main types of poverty are economic poverty, which results from regional and social disparities; new types of urban poverty, such as drug addiction and AIDS; cultural poverty (immigrants and gypsies); and psychological poverty, such as lack of affection and social relations (old people, battered children, family violence). Over the past 30 years Italy has had quite a high standard of living and the life style of most Italian families can be compared to that of families in other industrialized countries. In Italy the problem of poverty has been studied in depth only recently and by few scholars. The major difficulty is defining the concept of poverty empirically. In studies and research carried out in Italy (starting in the 1970s) there are two definitions of poverty: 1) absolute poverty, which is defined using economic indicators as the only criteria to measure (i.e., welfare=consumption of food in order to survive), and deprivation; 2) relative poverty, as a condition of deprivation within social relations that characterize a society in a specific time. This conceptualization extends the study of poverty to the wider phenomenon of social inequality. In one study carried out in 1953, the concept of "poverty" meant minimum subsistence. Poverty was measured on the basis of the resources necessary to preserve one's health and physical fitness. The researchers defined a threshold of


16.4 Poverty

poverty, and a person was poor when his or her income was below this threshold. According to this study, poverty is economic poverty - in other words, it depends on the amount of income available. In this study, the Italian standard of living was defined according to three indices: housing (number of people per dwelling), consumption of food (how frequently some types of food are purchased), and clothing (quality of shoes). According to these criteria about 25% of Italians were poor. In 1975, another study (Beckermann, 1980) estimated the number of poor families, based on ISTAT data regarding family expenditures on consumption. The sample of families (about 36,000 in 1975) was divided by region, occupation, and number of family members. The concept of poverty was based on the average income spent on consumption items. According to this research, poverty in Italy is due to three variables: territory, employment, and family size. The weak point of the study is that it does not consider family make-up, age of family members, working conditions, type of job held by parents. From the methodological point of view, these poverty studies all deal with the problem of poverty according to consumption and income. Two measures are used. The first is threshold (a rigid threshold that is the minimum necessary to survive), the indicators for which are income (source: Banca d'Italia) and family expenditures (source: official statistical data supplied by ISTAT). The second is based on an "equivalence scale," based on Engel's law concerning food consumption: the poorer the family, the more it spends on food proportionately. At a national level, the richer a country the less is spent on food out of total national expenditures. The data used in these studies come from official statistical sources and are at the aggregate (national) level. It is thus not always possible to establish a fixed criterion (poverty threshold) to measure poverty and to apply it to all societies, because poverty depends on economic and social changes. If we look at relative poverty, Italian society is characterized by the following trends: 1) poverty varies according to geographical area (southern Italy and large cities) and social differences typical of some groups, such as pensioners and lowsalaried workers; 2) there are new types of poverty, most in the sense of social exclusion, including groups such as drug addicts and persons with AIDS; 3) there is cultural marginalization, such as workers from the developing world and gypsies; 4) psychological poverty due to dissatisfaction, lack of affection (lonely old people, battered children, family violence).


Integration and Marginalization

Table 1 Estimated poverty in Italy, households and persons, 1983, 1985, 1988 Household size (persons) 4 3



1983 Poor household Poor persons Total households Total persons %

688 688 4,283 4,283 16.1

699 1,397 4,685 9,371 14.9

357 1,069 4,479 13,437 8.0

1985 Poor households Poor persons Total households Total persons %

694 694 4,280 4,280 16.2

769 1,539 4,781 9,562 16.1

1988 Poor households Poor persons Total households Total persons %

736 736 4,276 4,276 17.2


Change 1983-1988




481 1,927 4,433 17,729 10.8

247 1,235 1,470 7,351 16.8

145 944 596 3,867 24.3

2,617 7,260 19,946 56,038 13.1

405 1,213 4,489 13,467 9.0

557 2,232 4,449 17,797 12.5

244 1,276 1,475 7,378 17.3

143 926 611 3,956 23.4

2,823 7,882 20,086 56,441 14.1

799 1,598 4,925 9,849 16.2

490 1,471 4,504 13,512 10.9

622 2,489 4,474 17,898 13.9

284 1,422 1,484 7,419 19.1

161 1,034 633 4,089 25.4

3,093 8,749 20,296 57,043 15.2







Source: CIPE (1992: 33-49) and authors' compilations. Table 2 Estimated poverty in Italy by household size, 1978-88 (%) Household size (persons)

1 2 3 4 5 6or + Total









18.8 12.1 6.6 9.2

12.8 12.3 7.4 7.7 13.1 20.5 10.8

13.3 10.1 4.2 7.1 12.3 18.0 9.4

14.1 11.8 6.6 7.7 11.3 16.9 10.4

12.9 11.1 5.7 7.8 12.8 22.7 10.3

16.1 14.9 8.0 10.8 16.8 24.3 13.1

16.2 16.1 9.0 12.5 17.3 23.4 14.1

17.2 16.2 10.9 13.9 19.1 25.4 15.2

18.4 11.0

Source: for data 1978-82: Commissione Gorrieri, 1985; for data 1983-88 CIPE, 1992. * In 1986, ISTAT changed the household-size items in order to make its survey comparable with the labour market survey. For this reason the State Commission adjusted the time series starting from 1983; comparison with previous data is limited.


16.4 Poverty

Table 3 Families living under the poverty line per geographical area, 1978, 1988 (%) 1978

Household size (persons) 1 2 3 4 5 6or + Total

Centrenorth 9.7 6.6 2.7 3.8 3.4 3.9 5.3



Italy average



Italy average

23.4 23.6 13.7 13.4 15.2 21.6 18.0

13.6 11.4 6.3 6.9 8.3 13.2 9.4

13.1 10.5 6.8 8.4 8.6 12.8 9.7

27.1 30.3 20.9 23.0 29.2 36.0 26.3

17.2 16.4 10.9 13.9 19.1 25.6 15.3

Source: Sarpellon (1982: 112, 114); CIPE (1992: 33).

REFERENCES Barberis, C., Guidicini, P., and Scida, G. 1990 La poverta nel mondo rurale in Italia. Milan: Franco Angeli. Beckermann, W. 1980 "Stime sulla poverta in Italia nel 1975." Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, 2. Camera dei Deputati 1953 Inchiesta sulla miseria e sui mezzi per combatterla. Rome. Censis 1979 Sondaggio sulla poverta. Rome. Consiglio dei Ministri 1984 La poverta in Italia. Rome. 1987 La poverta in Italia. Rome. Kazepov, Y. 1992 "Poverty within regions: a plea for a regionalization of poverty research. Paper submitted at the International Workshop on Poverty and Social Security." Central and Eastern Europe, Budapest, October. Sarpellon G. (ed.) 1982 La poverta in Italia. 2 vols. Milan: Franco Angeli. Scivoletto, A., and Zani, S. (eds.) 1989 Malessere nella citta ricca. Milan: Franco Angeli.

17 Attitudes and Values

As we argue in the introduction, since the 1960s, cultural change took place more quickly in Italy than in any other Western European country and helped to make Italians' values, attitudes, and life styles more similar to those of other Western Europeans, although they maintained some specific features. The distinction between town and countryside, which was still clear-out in the 1950s, faded as an urban life style prevailed everywhere. Secularization of mass culture occurred at the same time as did urbanization, in the 1960s and 1970s, as shown by changing sexual morals and constantly dropping church attendance, and as acknowledged by legislative change through the approval of laws on divorce and abortion and the reform of family law. The church, as an institution, lost part of its symbolic importance and ideological appeal and religious controversies became less important than in the past; yet religious beliefs and collective movements played a very important role in Italian politics (another specific feature of Italian society) and still have a significant, although diminishing, impact on electoral preferences. Individualism became a way of life for almost all Italians, independent of ideological and political preferences, similar to what occurred in the other Western societies. The primacy of individual objectives over collective ones and construction of society have become increasingly distinctive features of Italian culture. This had complex and, to some extent, contradictory implications: on the one hand, it was accompanied by a widespread rejection of hierarchical values and authority relations; on the other, it implied a sharp decline in traditional types of class and community solidarity. The predominance of individual values and attitudes by no means went unchallenged in the various phases of Italy's uneven modernization. In the late 1960s and the 1970s, widespread and strong collective movements occupied the social stage and influenced both the political elite (in elections and in government welfare policies) and legislative innovation (for instance, in labour and family law).


Attitudes and Values

In more recent decades, the culture of individualism was counterbalanced by a widespread inclination to engage in voluntary group activities. New forms of political participation focusing on single issues have grown, whereby concerned citizens directly express their claims and submit their demands in the political arena. Thus, new political divides have emerged, motivated less and less by differences in class, religion, or ideology, and based increasingly on specific grievances and particular needs. The well-known critique of particularistic individualism as an obstacle to public action developed by American scholars - through notions such as the "decline of public man" or "loss of the civitas" - applies only to some extent to contemporary Italy, because of its different cultural tradition of particularism and fragmentation. The picture of contemporary Italy is a mixed one: in the process of modernization, the traditional form of Italian particularism has given way to, and gotten mixed with, the new forms of particularism typical of contemporary market societies. Traditional features of Italian societal culture, such as familism and localism - as described in the introduction to this volume - remained strong, as did traditional features of the political culture such as trasformismo and ribellismo.. The culture of individualism is predominant, but many Italians are well integrated into social networks and engaged in associational activities of various kinds. As far as the subjective perception of quality of life in concerned, in the last 20 years most Italians seemed increasingly satisfied with their private lives - with family relations more than with their jobs - while expressing criticism of government performance and the responsiveness of political parties. A positive orientation toward the future also grew gradually over the last two decades, though it was related to phases of the economic cycle and accompanied by a constant concern with major social problems such as organized crime, political corruption, pollution, and unemployment. Finally, national identity has been more problematic in Italy than in most Western countries, both for historical reasons - the country's "genetic code" of municipal and regional diversity and the conflict-ridden history of the nation state - and because of the double pressure of local identities, from below, and the larger European identity, from above. National pride has grown in recent decades, fostered by economic achievements and by successes in arts and sports. But the idea of the nation-state seems weaker than does awareness of being Italian, because of the often poor performance of governing elites, the growth of regional political forces, and economic and social globalization.


Attitudes and Values

REFERENCES Allan, C.T. 1974 / valori difficili. Tenderize ideologiche e politiche dei giovani. Milan: Bompiani. Cesareo, V. ed. 1990 La cultura dell'Italia contemporanea. Turin: Fondazione Agnelli. Gallino, L. 1987 "La modernizzazione mancata. Tradizione, azione pubblica e cultura dell'io." Quaderni di Sociologia. 7. 1989 Cultural Change in Advanced Industrial Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press. La Palombara, J. 1987 Democracy Italian Style. New Haven: Yale University Press.

17.1 Satisfaction A notable upswing was seen in Italians' satisfaction with their lives from 1973 to 1992, whereas their level of satisfaction with the functioning of Italian democracy was very low, dropping from 27% in 1973 to 13% in 1992. This dissatisfaction does not mean a rejection of democracy's underlying values and institutions. Indeed, numerous surveys reveal that the majority of Italians expressed their full approval of democratic institutions (75% in 1986).

Characteristic of Italian society over the last 20 years has been a considerable gradual increase in people's satisfaction with their lives, along with a high level of dissatisfaction with the way democracy works in Italy (see tables 1, 2), thus revealing a major gap between private and public life and a distancing from political parties. As we pointed out in the chapter on political parties, by the end of the 1980s, the idea that political parties represent the real interests of citizens met with little consensus in Italy. Judiciary investigations into political bribes starting in the spring of 1992 exposed the underground financing networks of the main parties and were a further blow to their credibility in the eyes of the public. It became increasingly clear that, for all their apparent conflicts (over symbols, ideology, etc.), government and opposition parties had developed extensive consociative relations in many policy areas, with a spoils system that, in some cases, included corruption. Between 1986 and 1992, relations between society and the political system - based


17.1 Satisfaction

Table 1 Satisfaction with personal life, 1973-91 (%) Satisfied

1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991

Not satisfied



56.4 57.1 62.6 63.2 58.7 63.5 67.4 67.3 65.3 69.0 62.6 68.9 64.7 66.5 79.6 74.2 79.5

43.0 42.1 37.2 36.2 40.9 36.1 32.5 32.5 34.3 31.0 37.4 30.5 34.9 33.4 20.1 25.3 20.0

Sample size: 1,000. Source: Eurobarometer Surveys, 1976-91. Authors' compilations.

on a particular stress on the parties' mediating role - were wearing thin. Research findings revealing high levels of dissatisfaction with the functioning of democracy therefore come as no surprise. Italians were increasingly dissatisfied with both the political system's response to their demands (in particular, demands to reduce taxes and the parties' power) and its performance, exemplified by inefficient services and increased corruption in certain areas of government. Differences exist in the level of satisfaction with various aspects of private life. While satisfaction with family relations is generally high, job satisfaction is lower. According to the findings of a recent international survey (ISSP, Work Orientations, 1989), it is much more difficult in Italy than in other countries for people to find working conditions that completely satisfy their expectations regarding the intrinsic aspects of their job (autonomy, interest, etc.). And it is even rarer for their work to rise to their material or extrinsic expectations (career and earnings, for example). Analyzing the aspects of work considered most important, we see that Italians rate both intrinsic and extrinsic aspects highly. Intrinsic aspects point to the


Attitudes and Values

Table 2 Satisfaction with democracy, 1973-92 (%) Satisfied

1973 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984* 1985* 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992*

26.8 13.6 19.3 19.2 21.0 20.9 19.5 17.0 20.0 27.8 29.0 25.6 25.7 28.4 29.4 21.2 20.2 12.8

Not satisfied

71.7 83.0 77.9 77.3 77.2 77.3 77.8 80.2 77.0 72.2 71.1 70.5 72.2 70.6 66.9 76.4 76.9 87.3

*Data in these years also include "don't know" responses. Sample size: 1,000. Source: Eumbarometer Surveys, 1973-92. Authors' compilations.

diffusion of post-materialistic values (need for self-fulfilment on both personal and professional levels), whereas extrinsic values express materialistic values (need for job security and economic guarantees). In Italy it has been observed that postmaterialistic values are not typical of young people but are more entrenched in the population of working age, and particularly among the employed. Lastly, it is evident that, in Italy as in other countries, job satisfaction is important even to the lowest levels of the employment scale. This confirms that job satisfaction is explained by intrinsic and extrinsic aspects together, but without specific interaction with employment level. REFERENCES Altan, C.T., and Marradi, A. 1976 Valori, classi sociali, scelte politiche. Milan: Bompiani.


17.2 Perception of Social Problems

Calvi, G. 1980 La classe fortezza. Milan: Franco Angeli. Eurisko 1986 Rapporto Sinottica. Milan.

17.2 Perception of Social Problems In the opinion of Italians, "crime, violence, and drugs" have been the country's most serious problems in the last decade. In spite of the recent decline in murders and assaults, the years of terrorism have left an indelible mark on the minds of Italians. The spread of organized crime, under the control of the Mafia and the Camorra, may strongly influence perception of social problems. In relations with the state, corruption and lack of probity in public life are problems that cause great concern. People also take a negative view of the government's ability to make proper use of resources and to provide efficient services.

The trends that emerge from the main studies undertaken on Italians' values and behaviour clearly reveal their perception of social problems and their political demands. In a survey on Italians' values and attitudes conducted in 1985 (Calvi, 1985), it was found that people's biggest concern was "crime, violence and drugs." The fact that this problem was ranked highest was the result of Italy's situation in the mid-1970s, when petty crime and terrorism were becoming increasingly serious issues and Italians' concerns about law and order and security took priority over the problem of employment, which had been ranked highest in surveys carried out from the postwar period onward (see table 1). According to the 1985 findings, corruption and lack of probity in public life was ranked second. By the 1980s, most citizens were aware of the dishonesty of several politicians and public-sector managers, and by the 1990s it had become a major national issue. Two other problems directly involving state functioning, "waste of public money" and "inefficiency of public services" were ranked sixth and eighth, respectively, among major concerns. It is evident from these data that it is not just the moral question that concerns Italians in their relationship with the state. There is a growing lack of trust in government and in politicians' moral credibility, with potential negative implications for Italians' social and political involvement. Up to now, dissatisfaction with


Attitudes and Values

Table 1 Perception of social problems, 1985-91 (%) Troubled (very much and much)


Crime, Mafia, drugs Corruption in government Pollution Unemployment Waste of public money Social injustice Inefficiency of social services Crime and Mafia Drugs Corruption of politicians Youth unemployment National economy Pollution Inefficiency of social services

98.5 96.1 96.8 93.4 93.1 93.1 91.8


96 96 88 82 81 72 74

Sample size: 1,500. Source: Indagine Sociale italiana, Eurisko 1985, 1991.

political institutions has not greatly affected participation in national elections, which, though diminishing, is still over 80%, well above the average in Western democracies. Political institutions are often perceived as unreliable and incapable of solving societal problems. The consequences of this, linked to a question of unexpressed subjectivity, may lead to two distinct results: the degenerative effect of these dissatisfactions may contribute to increasing political and civic disaffection among Italians; and dissatisfaction with how the government functions may be a rational and justified feeling and may not cause alienation from the political system but lead to the creation of new forms of political and civic involvement. In the 1985 survey on Italians' concerns, pollution came in third place. For many years, the issue of the environment had been considered of secondary importance in Italy - an almost inevitable cost of industrial development - and was disregarded by the great majority of the population, whose attention was focused on other concerns. But attitudes changed recently: by the mid-1980s, the problem had become a major national issue, capable of uniting the country's various social groups (see table 1). The mass media undeniably played a major role in making people aware of the issue, although it is likely that repeated overshooting of criti-


17.2 Perception of Social Problems

cal safety thresholds eventually changed perceptions of ecology and its importance. The environmental issue went from being perceived as a problem of limited impact to being perceived as a threat to the health and life of the whole community. In the 1985 survey, unemployment was classified fourth among problems of greatest concern, followed by social injustice, waste of public money, and inefficiency of public services. In 1991, the findings of a similar study (based on differently worded questions) confirmed this picture of Italians' perception of social problems. Organized crime, considered an extremely serious problem by 96% of interviewees, was again in first place, as it as today, still followed in the ranking of major concerns by drug abuse, corruption of politicians, and juvenile unemployment. Surveys carried out in recent years have also highlighted a broad consensus among Italians that the establishment of the welfare state has largely failed in terms of public welfare and financing. This is the result of an unprepared administrative class, widespread corruption, and citizens' refusal to become involved in the control of entities and services. In the view of Italians, the social state should not be suppressed, but it requires a radical repositioning to concentrate on essential functions and a proper hierarchy of values, and to cut back on unproductive structures and bureaucracies. With regard to the problem of immigration, which is assuming growing importance in Italian society, people are insisting that it be regulated on the basis of settlements that are preplanned in terms of time and location. Italians demonstrate intolerance toward immigrants when the political and administrative authorities do not perform their roles and immigrants are brought to rely on their own solidarity or on crime. One problem that is causing growing concern is the spread of major and minor crime. A large part of Italian public opinion feels that the state is not using all the force and severity needed to impose law and order. The hypothesis is that this results not so much from the incapacity of police forces and the courts, but on a lack of political will and, often, collusion between sectors of the political parties themselves and the criminal world. In the last 20 years, citizens have shown a growing insistence on greater peripheral decision-making power and the opportunity to participate in the management of public affairs in the regions, city councils, and local districts. The centrality of the individual and the decentralization of power are at the base of the desire to reestablish trust between citizens and the state.


Attitudes and Values

REFERENCES Calvi, G. 1977 Valori e stili di vita degli italiani. Milan: ISEDI. 1985 Indagine sociale italiana. Milan: Franco Angeli. Eurisko 1991 Rapporto Sinottica. Milan.

17.3 Orientation toward the Future In the 1980s, there was a widespread feeling among Italians that opportunities existed for a better future. Nevertheless, there were still concerns - which grew stronger in the 1990s - about the economic situation and socio-political conflicts.

People's attitudes toward the future can be considered an indicator of both perceived quality of life and social integration. Optimism increased between 1980 and 1990: a higher proportion of people (28% in 1980, 51% in 1990) thought things would improve in the next year (see table 1). This positive outlook did not continue into the 1990s; by 1992 the figure had fallen sharply, to around 33%. A similar trend is offered by data on forecasts of the country's economic performance for the next year. The proportion of pessimists - people who expected Italy's economic situation to deteriorate - fell between 1982 and 1986 (from 78% to 24%) but rose again later on, reaching the level of a decade earlier in 1992 (see table 2). Table 1 Will coming years be better or worse than the present one, 1980-92 (%) 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

Better Worse Same No reply

28 45 24 3

25 49 23 3

27 56 15 2

32 41 24 3

Sample size: 1,000. Source: Eurobarometer Surveys, 1980-92.

45 31 22 2

41 31 25 3

57 19 21 3

42 28 27 3

48 20 29 3

51 19 23 7

39 35 19 7

40 21 24 15

33 41 15 11


17.3 Orientation toward the Future

Table 2 Assessment of the changes in the country's economic situation over the past 12 months, 1982-92 (%)

A lot better A little better Same A little worse A lot worse Index












3 8 10 43 35 1.75

1 15 16 43 23 1.94

2 32 20 32 12 2.29

1 30 20 34 13 2.25

6 48 20 20 4 2.72

3 23 22 41 9 2.26

4 42 24 23 4 2.62

3 24 21 33 13 2.23

2 13 23 48 11 2.40

1 10 33 36 17 2.41

1 6 13 42 36 1.92

Sample size: 1,000. Source: Eurobarometer Surveys, 1980-92.

Moving on from an overall assessment of the Italian economic situation to people's perception of their own financial situation, the opinions expressed reveal a similar but less pronounced trend (32% in 1982, 30% in 1992) (see table 3). The discrepancy in viewpoints expressed on the country's economic performance and on their own financial situation can be traced to the level of savings of Italian families, which is much higher than the average in OECD countries. Both predictions seem closely related to phases of expansion and contraction in the economic cycle. Italians' predictions of strikes and social protests offer another indicator that complements data on feelings about their personal financial situation and Italy's general economic situation. Subjective perception of increasing conflict declined from the first to the second half of the 1980s but rose again in the early 1990s (in 1981, 53% of Italians said that episodes of social protest were on the increase; in 1986, 38% said this; in 1990, the figure rose to 51%) (see table 4). In spite of these shifts, however, social conflict has been a feature of Italian society and of Italy's public image throughout the period considered in this study. And, now in the 1990s, it is still a prominent concern among Italians. The data presented on Italians' orientation toward their future and that of their country are undoubtedly influenced by Italy's situation at the start of the 1990s. In 1991, the Italian economy was experiencing a recession, and job losses in agriculture and industry brought changes to the overall structure of the labour market. Dominant features of the political situation in the early 1990s were the distancing of citizens from political leadership, which gradually lost credibility and stability, and the problem of institutional reform - in particular, reform of electoral law.


Attitudes and Values

Table 3 Assessment of the changes in the financial situation of individual households over the past 12 months, 1982-92 (%)

A lot better A little better Same A little worse A lot worse Index




1985 7986







2 15 50 24 8 2.21

1 17 50 24 7 2.24

2 17 54 19 7 2.31

2 19 52 20 6 2.36

2 24 54 15 4 2.54

2 20 58 16 4 2.02

2 26 55 13 3 2.62

2 21 54 18 4 2.44

3 20 56 18 3 3.00

2 16 62 16 3 2.97

2 12 54 25 2 2.80

7987 7988 7989


37 18 36 9

51 11 28 10

Source: Eurobarometer Surveys, 1980-92.

Table 4 Will there be more or fewer strikes and social conflicts in coming years, 1980-90 (%) 7980 7987 None Fewer The same number No reply

45 23 29 3

7982 54 16 26 4

53 16 26 5

7983 7984 43 20 33 4

43 22 31 4

7985 7986 41 21 32 6

38 23 35 4

43 19 34 4

39 18 39 4

Source: Eurobarometer Surveys, 1980-92.

Table 5 In coming years, will there be peace or international disputes, 1980-90 (%) 7980 7987 Peace Disputes Remain the same No reply

17 39 33 11


10 48 35 7

13 46 37 4

7983 7984 7985 7986 7987 7988 7989 7990 10 52 32 6

23 28 46 3

16 40 39 5

21 32 43 4

21 38 37 4

32 20 44 4

36 20 36 8

18 40 35 7

Source: Eurobarometer Surveys, 1980-92.

Pessimism and worries at the beginning of the 1990s were heightened by a fairly negative social climate: Italian society was experiencing growing problems and a progressive loss of confidence in its own resources. As many studies have shown, this situation stemmed from a lack of political and economic leadership and the spread of antisocial behaviour and crime in various forms.


17.4 Values


1989 Valori guida degli italiani. Rome: Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri. Livolsi, M. (ed.) 1993 L'ltalia che cambia. Firenze: La Nuova Italia Scientifica. Inglehart, R. 1977 The Silent Revolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

17.4 Values The social, cultural, and economic changes that took place in Italy over the last 35 years helped to create cultural homogeneity. The dominant trend of the 1960s was "cultural specificity," with the focus of individual attention turned away from the outside world and toward narrow social circles (family, local community); it was later replaced by a new cultural climate in which postmaterialistic values (self-fulfilment and political participation) predomina In recent decades, Italian culture has become a mixture of modern and traditional, of acquisitive-materialistic values and post-materialistic values geared to self-fulfilment.

The discontinuity of Italian culture arising from the contrast of modernity and tradition, of specificity and universalism, can be perceived at the level of the collective conscience, especially in the social dynamics of perception and representation of reality. Our portrait is limited in two ways. First, it is focused on the last 20 years, since survey data are limited to this period. Second, it is based only on opinion polls, and it is worth remembering that while the population has identifiable value systems, frequently the social and political opinions expressed by respondents are superficial and casual (Inglehart, 1977). The lack of coherence observed by numerous writers in this field when analyzing results of surveys on systems of belief obliged them to draw the conclusion that a large proportion of people have no established opinion on the particular topics covered and that therefore their answer is almost always a reflex response (Converse, 1964). Consequently, opinion polls are not the ideal means of measuring people's values and attitudes, not because people do not hold definite views on certain issues but because the structured questionnaire used


Attitudes and Values

in wide-ranging surveys contains errors of measurement. The greatest danger is that of mistaking subjective opinions for value options (Barbano, 1984). Some interviewees may find it difficult to express their deep-rooted and dearly held values. Furthermore, as Inglehart (1977) observes in his study on changing value systems in Western societies, coherence of attitudes tends to be more pronounced in bettereducated people, and therefore a survey only reveals the tip of the iceberg. While we share the perplexity expressed by many researchers who study value measurements, we can nevertheless assume that the opinions and attitudes of Italians are interrelated and constitute the frameworks within which the value systems exist. One benefit offered by quantitative analysis is that it can identify the links (in terms of both coherence and contrast) between factors that make up the value systems. The passage from a "traditional" cultural model to a "modern" one was not simple; it required certain conditions to develop, such as the cultural and social emancipation of individuals, or a process of cultural homogenization capable of bridging the distance between classes, generations, and territorial zones, with the relevant social classes providing, at a macro level, common instruments of learning and a cognitive capacity for acknowledging reality. The social, cultural, and economic changes that took place from 1960 to 1985 (such as improvements in education; greater cultural opportunities arising from mass cultural consumerism; changes in the class system, socio-economic groupings, and social mobility; changes in family structure and roles; the demographic revolution) helped to reduce cultural distances in attitudes, values, and life styles between social groups and geographic areas. In the 1960s, traditional specificity, in which individuals lived in and identified with restricted social circles (the family, the local community) went along with an emerging marked individualism. In the 1970s, a new social climate prevailed, in which modernization went hand in hand with tradition and the new individualism went along with collection action. In recent decades, Italian culture has continued to be a combination of traditional values (the family, attachment to customs and the local community) and modern, self-realizational values (centred on development of the individual). Numerous studies conducted in Italy in the 1970s and 1980s on people's opinions about and attitudes toward the social and political world highlighted certain elements of modernity in the Italian cultural context. In particular, the cultural climate of the 1970s represented certain elements of continuity with the past, alongside new elements expressing modern values, such as universalism, solidarity, and involvement in public life. Empirical evidence of certain aspects of this partly renewed, partly tradition-based cultural scenario has been provided by a number of


17.4 Values

surveys, including the Eurobarometer. These studies point to the growth of postmaterialism and its related "meta-needs," such as freedom, political participation, and self-fulfilment; however, they also highlight the continuing existence of values of the past, linked to a "materialistic" view of life. Table 1 lists the items used by Inglehart, from Eurobarometer survey data, to explain the emergence of postmaterialistic values in the countries of Europe. This author referred to Maslow's theory (1954), according to which post-materialistic values tend to emerge only after people believe that satisfaction of their "material" or "acquisitive" needs, such food and economic security, is assured. The data in table 1 confirm the existence within Italian society of a process that has introduced new values and shifted priorities from materialistic to post-materialistic (increasing importance is attributed, for example, to involvement in public life and participation in politics). These modern aspects of Italian culture continue to coexist with other, traditional elements (as made evident by the data in table 1, with respect to the importance and growth of the value of law and order from 1976 to 1986), confirming the possible Table 1 Individuals' value orientations, 1976-92 (%)

Maintain order

People have more say in government decisions

Fight rising prices

Freedom of speech

40.0 45.4 36.5 46.6 43.7 48.1 51.5 44.1 41.6 45.8 44.5 39.0 39.2 33.1 38.2 48.1 38.9

20.1 17.7 18.8 20.8 15.9 16.7 16.0 19.3 25.3 20.0 26.8 25.3 34.4 33.1 30.5 25.4 37.2

27.3 29.0 35.1 25.1 33.3 28.6 25.7 29.7 26.3 27.0 19.5 28.1 17.1 21.0 22.2 17.0 18.5

12.1 7.4 8.8 7.1 5.7 5.8 6.5 5.6 6.9 7.2 8.4 7.2 9.7 11.0 8.4 8.4 5.4

1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 Sample size: 1,000.

Source: Eurobarometer Surveys, 1976-92. Authors' compilations.


Attitudes and Values

cultural discontinuity of Italian society. Although the daily life of Italians can be perceived as part modern and part traditional, post-materialism is becoming increasingly rooted in Italian society. It is no longer simply a subculture of the younger generation: it is turning into the ideology of a new class. The conflict between individuals who pursue post-materialistic goals and those whose orientations are materialistic is gradually forming the base of a major new political cleavage. This process can be observed on various levels. On a social level, greater importance has been attributed to the "quality of life" - in other words, to strictly personal values connected with personal well-being (concern about environmental quality, need for happiness, awareness of personal rights). Little by little, in people's systems of beliefs, values suggesting modern attitudes geared to self-fulfilment and altruism - such as personal growth, individual freedom, and democracy - are taking priority, to the detriment of the material values of economic security and wealth. This process has occurred gradually, mostly as an outcome of technological progress, as prosperity came to be seen as widespread and well established. A second possible level concerns "gratification." As mentioned in section 17.1, Italians are increasingly satisfied with their own lives, but their level of satisfaction with the way democracy works is very low. Lastly, on a symbolic level and in terms of national identity (see section 17.5), there is evidence of an upswing in Italians' level of trust in their fellow citizens and their sense of national pride. The data available for the period 1986-90 are the findings of a survey on Italians' systems of beliefs (conducted on a probabilistic sample of about 5,000 individuals) and they refer, in particular, to attitudes toward a series of personal concerns (such as having children, reading, studying, family well-being, etc.) and social concerns (drug abuse, pollution, etc.). Considering values related to the personal sphere, Italians continued to attribute importance to so-called post-materialistic values such as "improving one's personal skills," "earning other people's respect" "friendship," "reading, studying, learning about things," and "a comfortable, quiet life" (see table 2). It is clear that there were no substantial changes in Italians' fundamental attitudes in the period between the two surveys. Nevertheless, although the slight variations do not change the order of priority, they offer elements that help with interpretation of certain trends within Italian society. The values that gain in importance, even if only marginally, express both acquisitive and post-acquisitive needs, such as "enjoying life's pleasures," "the well-being of my family," "leading a healthy, wellordered life," "owning my own home," "having children," and so on.


17.4 Values

Table 2 Individuals' values, 1986, 1990 (%)

Friendship Beauty and fitness Religious belief Love of art and music Reading, studying, learning Meeting new people Trave