il Mulino

Italy

The decree recently approved by the Italian government restricting the right to asylum is the terrestrial counterpart to the criminalization of NGOs operating in the Mediterranean. The climax to Matteo Salvini’s ongoing campaign against humanitarianism, it will have a fundamental impact on the management of migration within the country.

With populist politicians seemingly in the ascendant across the world, how have political theorists responded – and what lessons should they learn? Raffaella Baritono of the Italian journal ‘Il Mulino’ asks Michael Freeden, one of the pre-eminent theorists of liberalism, for his take on the current crisis not just of politics, but of political theory.

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From the 1970s, communitarian notions of self and society gave way to concepts of autonomous, rights-based individuality. In today’s backlash, we see the return of the politics of solidarity. As politics becomes marketized, however, the more likely prospect is further disaggregation, suggests historian of ideas Daniel T. Rodgers.

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Despite falling numbers of immigrants, the hardline border policy of Italy’s ‘government of change’ remains popular. The decision to close Italian ports to NGOs working in the Mediterranean and the delegation of rescue operations to the Libyan Coast Guard are having increasingly lethal effects. How long can the Italian public continue to ignore a humanitarian crisis?

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