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Authority in Search of Liberty 9789051702187

Authority in Search of Liberty

The Prefects in Liberal Italy

ISBN-10: 9051702183
ISBN-13: 9789051702187
AUTHOR:
PUBLISHER: Thela Thesis Publishers
Also available at Amazon.com
Note: Not guaranteed to come with supplemental materials (access codes, CDs, DVDs)
Product Description: One of the most enduring problems facing the Italian government has been how to direct and control the activities of local government. In the first decades after Unification (1861) the reform of local administration was a central part of the vast programme of modernization of the state. At a local level, the leaders in this modernization project were the prefects, the appointed provincial representatives of the state. This book investigates their role in the genesis of local self-government, the financial responsibility of municipalities, and an early form of parliamentary democracy. It offers an alternative to the prevailing negative view of the role of the prefects as delegates of the central government. Perhaps the most striking conclusion is that the Italian centralized system did not produce either the benefits its founding fathers had expected, or the defects its opponents had anticipated. On the one hand, although the first prefects of the unitary state put their heart and soul into the administrative project, aiming at economic and moral progress, it was difficult to implement in large parts of the country. Most difficult was the South because of the wide economic, political and cultural gap with the North existing at Unification. On the other hand, the bureaucratic centralization developed simultaneously with representative local government based on direct elections. This democracy, limited as it was, left enough room for the local elites to pursue their own interests, even when they did not comply with the wishes of the central government and thwarted the original liberal project.

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PUBLICATION DATE:
PAGES: 224
CATEGORY: History
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