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My irregular and low-effort web log.
My blog: random, not very updated and mostly in Italian or French. To comment send me an email.
Christian Democracy and 🇪🇺 integration.

Earlier this year I published my second paper. It is about the role of Christian Democracy on European integration (why!? long story… but for another time).

Over the past two decades, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have gone from being a testament to the ‘triumph’ of liberal democracy to constituting prominent cases of democratic backsliding. Various explanations have been advanced for this, such as populism, the weakness of civil society, the corruption of elites, and the lingering effects of communism. What is often forgotten is the fact that the East European countries have met the economic criteria and demands of the EU to a greater extent than some Western core countries. The role of Christian democracy in European integration must be acknowledged as it provided the tools to make the process smoother, but it has also enabled democratic backsliding in these countries.

Christian democracy and liberalism share a morphological similarity, as both strive to separate economics from society, and this has resulted in an “authoritarian liberalism” where the economic initiative is free but democracy is restricted. This mindset has been seen in the approval of restrictive rules in Western Europe and the adoption of a Bismarckian social policy in East European countries, with the traditional family at the center of welfare efforts. The repeated focus on the “dysfunctionality” of democracy in the East has exaggerated the democratic health of the West and has exacerbated the rhetoric of a divide between “old” and “new” Europe.

so much win 🏆

My research on the impact of welfare on household debt has been well received.

In June, the paper was nominated as a finalist for the Nicola Negri prize of the Italian Association of Economic Sociology (SISEC).

Meanwhile, this week, my publication won the 2021 Egon Matzner Prize for Socioeconomics. Since 2012, the prize has been awarded by the Department of Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy of TU Wien with the goal to reward socio-economics studies that “include practical and empirical problems on strong theoretical foundations, go beyond schools of thought and paradigms, and/or present interdisciplinary perspectives”.

Doing a PhD is often a depressingly solitary endeavor, and it is certainly rewarding to see my work recognized as valuable.

new paper!

It has been ages since I wrote anything here. So much has changed since 2017. I changed cities, countries, acquaintances, I left one graduate program for another, witnessed a global pandemic, and, of course, I got extremely old. I moved from Paris to Budapest. Living in Orbán’s Hungary really helped me to clarify some of my ideas about liberalism and the EU, and I will carry the strange charm of Budapest in my heart. Everything mentioned here would require so many words to be fully explored, and it is too much, for now.

For now, I would just like to announce that my paper about the relationship of household debt and welfare has been finally published. This paper started in another era. The working version of the paper, published on this website in 2014, already contained the seed of the idea. Across OECD countries indebtedness doesn’t increase because of a lack of welfare – it’s more complicated than that. In Scandinavia, inclusive welfare systems turn debt into an investment. Elsewhere, a gerontocratic welfare system creates other debt patterns encouraging widespread use of consumer credit, or no debt at all.

Only 7 years later (sigh…) you can read the peer-reviewed version of this idea on Sociological Spectrum (in open access) and a shorter version, for dissemination, on the ECPR blog, The Loop.

Noi matti

Luigi Attenasio - ex-presidente di Psichiatria Democratica - nel suo libro “Fuori Norma. La diversità come valore e sapere.” parlava così di “Noi Matti”, un articolo divulgativo redatto da Franco e Franca Basaglia per «L’Espresso/colore» del 21 marzo 1971:

Provocazione durissima e insieme divertentissima, da far mandare a memoria a tutti i dirigenti amministrativi e sanitari delle USL, a tutti i membri della commissioni parlamentari della Sanità e della Giustizia, a tutti gli studenti e laureati in medicina e in giurisprudenza, a tutti i giornalisti che scrivono di matti, di manicomi e di legge 180. Ma (probabilmente proprio per questo) un testo ormai reperibile soltanto in qualche emeroteca: neppure i due bei volumi antologici delle opere di Basaglia pubblicati da Einaudi nel 1981 lo includono.

A dicembre 2016, avventurandomi in qualche oscura emeroteca, ne ho trovato un esemplare e ho deciso di curarne una edizione online, la si può trovare qui: Noi Matti - Dizionario sociale della psichiatria.

Basaglia scriveva negli anni ‘70, da allora non molto è cambiato. Ho l’impressione che ci sia sempre più la tendenza a “medicalizzare” tutto. La cosa ha interessanti risvolti sociologici a cui pensare…

Summer Conferences

This month I am going to present part of my work at the SASE conference in London and, few days later, at the CES conference in Paris. Here you will find my slides: