This dissertation analyses the development of democracy and the pension system in Italy in relation to the goals of a welfare state. The aim of the thesis is to determine whether Italian democracy and social policy (through the study of a specific case: the pension system) have moved towards greater equality or whether old privileges and inequalities still remain.
The thesis examines the development of democracy in relation to three models - exclusive, semi-inclusive and inclusive democracy - and of the pension system in relation to three models of social policy - marginal, meritocratic (or corporative) and universal social policy. Of these, inclusive democracy and universal social policy contain the prerequisites of a welfare state. The framework of this thesis is based on the power-resources approach with a corrective borrowed from the Gramscian theory of class hegemony.
An intra-regional (within the sphere of an intra-national context) comparative method is adopted with an emphasis on class and gender both within and between regions. With this method it is possible to determine the degree of equality in the country with respect to class and gender and to confirm whether this is due to regional differences in economic development or to a special type of politics.
In both scholarly and political contexts it is often claimed that, owing to the ideology of the Christian Democratic Party and the Catholic Church, the Italian welfare state is a conservative one, and further that this party has used social policy to develop strong patronage structures and a political clientele.
This study concludes that democracy and the pension system in Italy have not moved towards the ideals of a welfare state, that class and gender inequality are still strong, and that these inequalities cannot be explained by regional economic differences. The findings do not confirm that the existing state of affairs in Italy can be attributed solely to the long period of Christian Democratic governance but show that the Italian left - the socialist parties and the Italian Communist Party - are co-responsible for the development of politics towards privilege and patronage and consequently for pension schemes.
The political traditions and institutions of the nineteenth century are still in force in Italy. The study concludes that, in spite of formal political rights, the Italian democracy is still a backward one; political power is monopolised and used as a system of patronage to create a political clientele by the same social forces within the bourgeoisie as at the beginning of democratic development. With respect to political rules, the labour market and the development of the pension system, the findings show that class inequalities and corporative and patriarchal relations still predominate in Italian society.
Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2000. , 347 p.