Only articles in with the "italy" tag are displayed

To display all articles click here.

“Le regole della partecipazione”. Due giornate di studio all’Università di Perugia.

5. March 2010 – 21:55 by University Bergamo

Per chi oggi è interessato alle pratiche emergenti della partecipazione - cittadini, associazioni, partiti, apparati amministrativi, parlamenti e governi - è sempre più cruciale mettere a fuoco lo statuto giuridico, gli spazi di istituzionalizzazione della partecipazione e l’attuazione concreta delle opportunità partecipative collegate.
I vincoli o i limiti delle sperimentazioni hanno spesso a che fare con i gap fra diversi livelli d’azione e possono soffrire di un debole o ambiguo raccordo con le normative. D’altra parte i problemi non sono solo ‘procedurali’, ma si pongono anche sul piano sostanziale: l’esclusione politica dei cittadini corrisponde spesso ad una esclusione sociale e rimanda quindi ai problemi dei contenuti della cittadinanza. Una comprensibile ansia di novità - ‘nuovi’ metodi per partecipare, ‘nuove’ tecnologie applicate alla partecipazione, come nel caso del Web 2.0 - può far dimenticare questi aspetti e può condurre a trascurare sia le opportunità già presenti negli ordinamenti giuridici dei sistemi democratici e forse poco valorizzate, sia i limiti delle sperimentazioni in corso. Allo stesso tempo è necessario tener conto dei caratteri delle culture giuridiche (e politiche) che caratterizzano ciascun paese.

In due dense giornate internazionali di lavoro l’Università di Perugia propone un’occasione preziosa di riflessione e confronto su questi ed altri temi più specifici collegati.

Al link indicato è possibile trovare tutte le indicazioni sull’iniziativa.

“Le Regole della partecipazione. Cultura giuridica e dinamiche istituzionali dei processi partecipativi”.
Università di Perugia, 11-12 Marzo 2010

Anna Carola Freschi
(Università di Bergamo) Read the rest of this entry »

When bloggers and social networks succeed in mobilizing political elites. The case of

6. December 2009 – 14:55 by University Bergamo

In the public discourse about e-participation and e-democracy it is often undervalued the existing demands of participation arisen by citizens. In other words, too often citizens are represented as passive subjects that eventually became active if (when) stimulated by the institutions or experts.
Of course, to increase the number of politically active citizens is an important goal, as well as the direct participation on specific decision making processes. Nevertheless, it is also crucial to acknowledge the role of traditional channels of participation – as collective action, protest and claims by citizens – in controlling and stimulating the actions of the political elites.

Web 2.0 can be an important resource in these directions, by means of overcoming constrains due of the lack of access to ‘vertical’ media and the distance between political class and active citizenship. There are several recent examples of this kind of process (mainly in weak democracies and non democratic systems). In Europe, the yesterday’s demonstration in Rome seems to be a quite relevant case. A group of Italian bloggers and grassroots groups launched online this event and gathered about 350.000 fans on Facebook. Thanks to its wide resonance on the online sphere, the ‘purple’ demonstration – this colour has been identified both as a symbol of marked autonomy from political parties and of civil liberties – has then attracted also the interest of the Italian political parties of the Opposition. Even if one considers the difficult current situation of the Italian government, it should be admitted that, at least for a while, Italian citizens-bloggers and grassroots groups have succeed not only in mobilizing citizens (about 1million demonstrated in Rome and there were many local demonstrations in other Italian and European cities), but also in pulling a consistent part of the political class. We shall see whether this wide and successful mobilization, very critical towards the whole political class, may have a real impact on the institutional politics.

Have a look at:

Anna Carola Freschi

A huge demonstration in defence of freedom of information in Italy. The Internet’s role in the mobilization.

6. October 2009 – 15:43 by University Bergamo

Saturday October the 3rd about 300.000 citizens demonstrated in Rome in defence of freedom of information. The demonstration was launched by the National Federation of Press and other civic and political organization (like Articolo 21 , trade unions, political parties of the opposition, etc.).
Why this news should deal with debate about (e)participation? Because of at least two of very good reasons …

Firstly, Internet has been a crucial tool for this mobilization, both in the preparation and during the event. A petition online drafted by three eminent Italian jurists (Franco Cordero, Stefano Rodotà, Gustavo Zagrebelsky) has been published on the website of “la Repubblica”, one of the most important Italian newspaper. The petition has been subscribed by about 500.000 citizens (among them, six Nobel). More than 9.000 comments were posted on the website of “la Repubblica” during the demonstration and appeared on the banner of the newspaper homepage. The website made possible a constant coverage of the demonstration and enabled a virtual interaction between participants to the event and people at home. In this case a virtuous circle of online/offline public spheres worked effectively.
The president of Reporters sans frontieres declared that this is probably the widest demonstration in defence of the freedom of press in the world. Of course, the big success of the demonstration doesn’t relay only upon the Internet, but also on the organizational/relational resources mobilized. Three ingredients have been important: the high reputation of who has drafted and launched the petition and its clarity, the national relevance of the newspaper “la Repubblica”, the role of the associations of the journalists. Nevertheless, due to the very restricted spaces on the Italian televisions (included public service) given to the issue arisen by the mobilization, the relevance of the Internet can’t be underestimated. Especially considering that the political opposition to the Government is involved in a phase of internal reorganization.
The second reason of interest of this news is more general. This Italian event reminds us how much freedom of information remains the very basic requirement of democratic political participation. It is impossible to immagine real new forms of citizens involvement in the public life without taking care of the freedom and openess of the public sphere.
Next thursday the European Parliament will debate about the Italian case.


SISP-Conference 2009 and “Condividi la conoscenza 2009”. Two Italian events rich in suggestions about (e)participation.

16. September 2009 – 22:45 by University Bergamo

In the next days in Italy there will be some relevant events for researchers, decision makers, activists, ordinary citizens, interested in the state of the public debate about Internet, democracy and participation, particularly in this country, where even freedom of information has recently become an hot issue (see the petition launched by La Repubblica, which has gathered more than 370.000 signature in two weeks, and the demonstration announced for saturday 19th September in the capital.

The annual conference of the Italian Society of Political Science (SISP) will be held 17th-19th September at the LUISS University in Rome. This edition has a very rich program, and many interesting panels are directly or indirectly related to e-participation (for an overview see the conference website ( ). Particularly worth of attention is the panel about Citizenship rights and new digital environment. To acknowledge the centrality of the institutional contexts - too much often neglected in the discourse about e-democracy- is a fruitful way to frame the problem of citizens participation in the Internet era. Among the speakers the panel includes Francesco Amoretti (Professor of International relations, University of Salerno), Carlo Formenti (Professor of Sociology of new media, University of Salento), Claudia Padovani (Professor of International communication, University of Padova) and Stefano Rodotà (Professor of Law, University La Sapienza - Rome, and former National Authority on data and privacy protection). As a leading scholar of the Italian studies about network-society, Rodotà has advanced the proposal of an Internet Bill of rights at the WSIS of Athens (2006), then included in the agenda of the Internet Governance Forum.
The range of issues arisen along the panel is wide and very relevant: privacy and ’securization’ of the cyberspace, human rights and digital exclusion, public policies focusing information society, privatization of the online public sphere, but also opportunity to support emancipatory approaches within digital communities. According to the abstracts, the need of a new affirmation of the fundamental citizens rights (from civil ones to, I would add, social rights) on the Internet emerges as a crucial variable for the development of the democratic potential of the new media. The prevailing pessimistic worry about the current international situation emerging from the panel makes more relevant the (need of) possible role of civil society and citizens in re-addressing the political agenda. In this direction, the diffusion of a more mature awareness of the Internet social, political and economic dimensions is essential.

On the side of the civil society initiatives, it is worth of attention the third edition of the event “Condividi la conoscenza” (“Share the knowledge”), organized by a wide Italian network of activists, practitioners/stakeholders of free/open licensing: ICT professionals and entrepreneurs, politicians, journalists, associations devoted to digital rights, ICT researchers, teachers. Condividi3 will be hosted at the University of Milano on 23 September. The issue of free knowledge is the core-value of this civil society network. The different panels will deal with the benefits of open and free contents and software in fields like public administration, universities, public libraries, small enterprises, associations, etc. This is a very important aspect strictly connected to the pre-conditions of (e)participation, giving evidence to the continuity among the opportunities of social, cultural and political participation.

The Blogger Grillo announces his candidature to the primaries for leading the Italian Democratic Party

14. July 2009 – 15:56 by University Bergamo

The Blogger Grillo, one of the most popular on the Italian blogosphere and famous comedian, has just announced ( ) his will to participate as candidate to the direct election of the national Secretary of the PD, the main Italian party of the Center-left (
The context of the Grillo’s provocative announcement is done by the recent results of the experimentation of the direct election of the party leadership promoted by the PD, born in 2008 from DS ( and Margherita ( The elections have been open to citizens non-members of the party and labelled as ‘primaries’. This experimentation has led to an upheaval of the internal balance, based on the previous electoral consent, concentrated in the left-wing and based on a territorial party structure, which has loosen much of its functions along the last two decades. The experimented model of primaries de facto made possible to the internal center-wing component to climb the leadership positions in the party.

According to the first declarations of the leaders of the Democratic party (PD), Grillo hasn’t the requirements established by the party’s Statute for being candidate to the primaries and the initiative of the famous Blogger seems untimely and “not worrying”. Nevertheless, the move of Grillo arises an interesting point about the relationship between emerging forms of online politics and the institutional domain.

As well know, the political movement of Grillo represents the most successful example of political usage of Internet in Italy, promoted by civil society. It is based on a Blog (, a networks of Meetup (, integrated with groups of activists routed all over the country and even abroad.
Among the huge of Italian online political experiences promoted by the institutional political actors (governments and political parties) no one has had the same success in terms of online audience involved and capacity of citizens mobilization.
It is to be stressed that the Grillo movement hasn’t a only-virtual nature: the former ‘actor’ Grillo has promoted several campaigns of petitions, class actions and so on, mainly focused on freedom of information, moralization of economic ( and political life (, culminating in mass events, involving hundreds of thousand of Italian citizens and in the participation to the last electoral competition at local level (
The case of Grillo political movement is also exemplary of the persisting gap between online sphere and the offline and mainstream media system, which play little attention to his initiatives, even in case of wide mass mobilizations (For the main features, limits and strengths of the Grillo experience in the Italian e-participation context see for example - pp. 66-85).

The announcement of Grillo adopts the rhetoric of an act of strong criticism against the political class, which wouldn’t be open to the new emerging contents and forms of citizens participation – such environment, consumers and digital rights and information freedom – particularly intermediated by the Internet. On the other side, the reaction of the PD (who is facing an important phase of internal transformation after the last electoral defeats) doesn’t seem to give evidence to a more cautious consideration about what is happening on the Net, independently of the specific case of Grillo, although relevant.
What is clear is that the accusation of ‘anti-politics’ arisen against Grillo in the past, both by the national media system and political elite, requires to be reconsidered, unless it is explicitly acknowledged that anti-politics discourse has increasingly become a fundamental arrow of the arch of many contemporary political leaders.

Anna Carola Freschi

(University of Bergamo)

Power - Web 2.0 Participative Portals for Emilia-Romagna

27. May 2009 – 11:57 by Roberto Zarro

Logo of the Emilia-Romagna's Telematic Plan

The project is promoted by the Emilia-Romagna Region in the framework of its Telematic Plan, and realized by the Municipalities of Bologna, Ferrara, Modena, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia. The aim of the project is to understand, both with studies and analysis, both with tests, how much and in which ways institutions can integrate web 2.0 tools in their official websites and portals. Leda Guidi, manager of the Bologna’s institutional civic net Iperbole and Power’s project manager, highlights goals, plans and early results of the project. Read the rest of this entry »

Open Space Technology: when Participation is participated

30. January 2009 – 19:17 by Roberto Zarro

ParteciP.A. logo

Participation is a complex and multifaceted issue. Why not improving participation processes by means of a participatory practice? This has been the approach adopted during “Parteci P.A., the Meeting of the Participatory Democracy”, which took place form 21th to 23th of January, in Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. An Open Space Technology (OST) - a methodology for the design and organization of participatory events and meeting, through the direct contribution of the same participants – has been held as main method to debate about the future perspective of participatory policies.

Visions, hypothesis and concrete proposals about the possibility to improve participation processes has been shared among the participants. In an opening plenary session, more than one hundred people proposed the issues to deal during the rest of the day in specific workgroups, composed on a self-selection basis, and aiming to the production of thematic instant reports.

Read the rest of this entry »

University of Bergamo

25. April 2008 – 14:25 by University Bergamo

The “Research Group on New forms of Politics in the networked society” of the University of Bergamo includes:

Anna Carola Freschi is a Ph.D. in Political Sociology at the University of Florence, Faculty of Political Sciences. She is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Economics, University of Bergamo, where she teaches Sociology and Economic Sociology. She holds a Jean Monnet Module on Information Society and Social Change, at the University of Florence. Her work is about e-participation in an extended meaning (ICTs applied to participation in institutional and non institutional contexts). She has written articles, essays and books about local governance transformation and the social implications of networked society for social and political participation in the Italian society. She is the author of the strategic section of the Italian Guidelines on digital citizenship, a central document of the national Government to support local e-democracy initiatives. She is currently coordinating the group, who collects sociological expertises in social inequalities, deliberative democracy and gender issue, studying some Italian local experiences of e-participation in the institutional contexts (urban strategic planning, participatory budgeting, regional law-making, Agenda 21, etc.).

Read the rest of this entry »