International Conference
LEgality and PArticipation
Trends, Challenges, and Perspectives
16-17 June 2022

The panel sessions, listed below, articulate into four Sections. They cover the research lines in which the LEPA project develops its activities.


1.1 Crisis of democracy and antipolitics in Italy 2008-2018 

Keynote Speaker: Giovanni Orsina
Chair: Loreto Di Nucci
Discussant: Andrea Possieri

The topic of the panel is the great transformation that took place in the Italian political system in the period between the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008, and the 2018 legislative elections, which saw the triumph of an anti-system political actor such as the Five Stars Movement.

Keywords: economic crisis, democracy, anti-politics

1.2 Democracy and rhetoric of the crisis

Chair: Fausto Proietti 

The panel intends to investigate, mainly from a historical perspective and from the history of political ideas, the relevance that the theme of ‘crisis’ has assumed in the discourse on representative democracy since the mid-nineteenth century. The focus of the papers will be both the critical reconstruction of specific ideological rhetorics centered on the perceived irreversible ‘crisis of democracy’ (coinciding with political regimes such as the French Second Republic, the Weimar Republic, the European Union in recent years, etc.), and the thought of authors who, in various chronological and geographical contexts, have focused on the ‘crisis of democracy’ proposing it as a key to reading their contemporaneity.

Keywords: Democracy, Representation, Crisis, Ideology, Rhetoric

1.3 Failed democratization and new authoritarianisms

Chair: Alessandro Campi
Discussant: Leonardo Morlino

The discussion revolves around the so-called “New Authoritarianism”, examined in its specificity but also as a frequent outcome of difficult or failed democratization processes. Concerning the problem of the rise and consolidation of new authoritarianism in the contemporary world, the discussion will focus on some failed processes of democratization in recent decades, with a particular regard to the cases of some Eastern European countries (between democracy and authoritarian temptation), Russia, and finally the “Arab Springs” as a further and main example of failed democratization.

Keywords: new authoritarianism; democratization processes; failed democratization

1.4 Democracy at the time of the pandemic

Chair: Silvia Bolgherini

This panel welcomes contributions on how democracy can and should be defended and maintained during and after crises such as the pandemic. And after social, economic, institutional, and political transformations triggered by them, such as internal dissent within democracies and the relationship between rule of law, individual freedom, and collective obligations; the capacity (internal and in cooperation) of democratic states to manage emergencies; changed international relations (economic, social); the role of experts and technical figures in societies and governments.

Keywords: pandemic, democracy, rights, authority, emergency management


2.1 Algorithms between legality and participation

Chair: Benedetto Ponti 

The datarization of elements of reality and the application of computation as a mechanism for profiling, mapping, analyzing, evaluating, selecting, and predicting/inferring constitute a challenge to the classical categories of legality. Insofar as legality is predetermination, the added (cognitive) value of machine learning – which consists in the ability to extract and expose unexpected, unforeseen, and therefore unanticipated knowledge – stands in ontological terms as a “gap” with the traditional way of aligning knowledge and legal regulation. Can traditionally-understood legality withstand this challenge? What do we risk “losing” (guarantee, democratic control, judicial review, etc.) in the crisis of legality caused by the advent of algorithmic knowledge/regulation? Can “participation” be an answer/an antidote to this challenge?

Keywords: Algorithms, big data, unexpected knowledge, legality, machine learning, privacy, freedom, democratic control

2.2 Understanding Corruption

Keynote Speakers: Raffaele Cantone , Lucio Picci, Alberto Vannucci
Chair: Michela Gnaldi

The discussion aims at providing a forum for interdisciplinary discussion of the main issues related to the prevention of corruption: from the definitional aspects, that help delineating the perimeter of the activities under investigation, to aspects related to its measurement, and the institutional, political, and civil responses to combat it.

Keywords: Corruption definition; Corruption and political systems; Corruption measurement; Corruption and society

2.3 Gender and legality: gender perspective and the fight against corruption

Keynote Speaker: Giulia Sechi (Adviser on Gender Issues at OSCE, Vienna)
Chair: Giuseppina Bonerba  
Discussant: Alessandra Pioggia 

The discussion deepens the analysis of the relationships between gender dissimilarities and corrupt practices and discusses to what extent a gender perspective is useful in fighting corruption. The following issues will be addressed: the presence of women in top positions and levels of corruption; the impact of corrupt practices by gender; sextortion; corrupt practices and social networks; the perception of corrupt behaviors by gender; the analysis and integration of gender empowerment and anti-corruption strategies and tools.

Keywords: gender and corruption, gender empowerment, fight against corruption


3.1 Cleavages and divides: What is changing in parties and voters?

Chairs: Marco Damiani, Giovanni Barbieri
Discussant: Silvia Bolgherini 

The panel will focus on territorial cleavage, understood in a broad sense as the division between different geographical contexts, between isolated areas and urbanized territories, and between real places and virtual spaces. In particular, it will focus on the link between some fundamental aspects of contemporary politics – political dissatisfaction, the emergence and success of new forms of political parties, the innovative use of digital technologies, the different forms of political participation, the emergence of new forms and types of leadership – and the territor(ies).

Keywords: cleavages, territory, participation, center/periphery, digital, parties

3.2 Territory, knowledge, and participation

Keynote Speaker: Tommaso Vitale (SciencesPo Centre d’étude européènnes et de politique comparée, Paris)
Chair: Paola de Salvo
Discussant: Alessandra Valastro, Mariano Sartore

The participatory dimension has taken the stage in contemporary territorial affairs, becoming strategic for any policy of development and regeneration. In Italy, numerous and different forms of active citizenship and dynamic localism experiment with participatory experiences create paths of social innovation and subsidiarity. The panel hosts contributions that highlight how participatory practices can activate inclusive mechanisms as a basis for more comprehensive territorial development policies.

Keywords: territory, participation, knowledge

3.3 The social foundations of democracy and participation 

Keynote Speakers: Giovanni Moro (Università La Sapienza Roma); Vincenza Pellegrino (Università di Parma)
Chair: Ambrogio Santambrogio
Discussant: Lorenzo Bruni

Society is increasingly crossed by a turbulence that in many cases refuses to be translated into political action. At the same time, the political sphere often seems to ignore the innovative instances coming from society. New and heterogeneous phenomena of social effervescence become the expression of a need for participation that cannot be defined as a mere reflection of the transformation of forms of political belonging. The discussion will focus on the multiple and open possibilities of re-politicization of the social, to indicate new paths of articulation of the demands and needs coming from society.  

Keywords: participation, social bonding, everyday utopias

3.4 Populism, celebrity and new forms of participation

Chairs: Marco Mazzoni, Rita Marchetti 
Discussant: Donatella Campus  

The panel aims at investigating the relationship between celebrity, leadership, and populism capable of giving rise to new forms of participation (the phenomenon of political fandom). The panel will gather proposals from different disciplinary perspectives and with original methodological approaches.

Keywords: leadership, populism, celebrity, fandom, participation


4.1 Migration processes and inequalities

Chair: Fiorella Giacalone, Luca Pieroni

Social, religious, economic inequalities are the great challenges of European societies (West and East), in a pandemic phase that has not yet been overcome. It is evident how much the pandemic and the economic crisis have sharpened the differences between migrants and natives, between men and women, how the conflicts within the urban fabric have increased. There is a need for an interdisciplinary (anthropological, economic, social) discussion on the problems of integration of old and new citizens, on the increase of discrimination against asylum seekers and economic migrants, and on the difficulties of labor policies to respond effectively to changes.

Keywords: non-discrimination, migrants, labor policies

4.2 The other Europe: the Danubian-Balkan world between democratic crises and social inequalities in the 21st century

Chair: Dario Biocca, Francesco Randazzo 
Discussant: Valentina Sommella 

The legacy of a past marked by dictatorial policies in the Danubian-Balkan countries has greatly affected the relations of these societies with the democratic values of Western Europe and negatively affects the process of EU enlargement. These are slow processes that need not only time, but also personalities capable of supporting them with courage, as well as choices sometimes not in line with the mechanisms of political and social corruption – which have derived from the strengthening of the local underworld exploiting the weaknesses of the first freely elected parliamentary regimes.

Keywords: Eastern Europe, Danubian Europe, Balkan, democracy, European Union, modernization

4.3 The Role of Morality in Social Judgment: Individual, Interpersonal, Organizational and Cultural Factors

Chair: Maria Giuseppina Pacilli 

Research in social psychology has shown the crucial role of moral evaluations in social judgment and the regulation of individual behavior, intra- and intergroup behavior. The interest of this panel is to promote a reflection on the relevance of morality in the daily life of individuals by focusing on individual and interpersonal aspects (e.g., formation and updating of others’ impressions), on the regulation of intragroup dynamics (e.g., denunciation of misconduct occurring in one’s organization) and on intergroup relations (e.g., processes of moralization, moral distance, and discrimination).

Keywords: morality, impression formation, group processes, intergroup processes, moralization, moral distance

4.4 New inequalities and gender identity

Keynote Speaker: Ismini Kriari 
Chair: Alessia Valongo
Discussants: Federica Spaccatini, Ilaria Giovannelli

The discussion will address the issue of non-discrimination of people based on their gender identity in the light of the principle of legality, which means the guarantee of inviolable rights of all under conditions of equality. The objective is to promote anti-discrimination policies aimed at giving privileged protection to transgender, transsexual and intersex people, who are in minority situations, considered “anomalous” on a social and legal level. 

Keywords: legality, non-discrimination, gender identity