Norberto Bobbio, In the Labyrinth of Politics: Essays on Democracy, Human Rights, and the Law
Edited and translated by Aaron Thomas
Foreword by Carole Pateman
Introduction by Aaron Thomas
Afterwords by Roberto Panizza and Luigi Bonanate
Toronto: University of Toronto Press (volume in preparation)
Norberto Bobbio (1909–2004) was a leading philosopher and public intellectual in twentieth-century Italy. He made important contributions to the study of law, politics, and intellectual history. A participant in the anti-fascist Resistance, he later became a regular editorialist for Turin’s daily newspaper La Stampa. His merits as a scholar and public figure were officially recognized in 1984 with a lifetime appointment to the Italian Senate.
This anthology introduces readers to the range and depth of Norberto Bobbio’s contributions to political and legal theory. It collects approximately twenty-five essays that span his entire career, from his early work in the 1930s to his final publications in the 1990s. Mindful of Bobbio’s contention that law and power constitute “two sides of the same coin,” this volume offers readers a variety of ways of examining this relationship.
Part I of the volume opens with Bobbio’s attempt to understand the contours of the political sphere and the individual’s relationship to the state and politics. Part II explores the relationships between law, power, legitimacy, and justice through a series of Bobbio’s essays in legal philosophy. Part III considers the larger social and cultural context of politics by examining questions of civil society, pluralism, and social change, including the longstanding debates between reform and revolution. Part IV considers the mode of social change favored by Bobbio – democracy – by inquiring into the historical and theoretical meanings of this term, the “rules of the game” that constitute democracy, and the norms that inform it. Part V addresses questions concerning the philosophy and politics of human rights, cosmopolitanism, and the relationship between states.