Bobbio, Norberto 1909-2004
BOBBIO, Norberto 1909-2004
Born October 18, 1909, in Piedmont, Italy; died January 9, 2004, in Turin, Italy; married,1943; wife's name Valeria (died, 2001); children: three sons. Education: Graduated from University of Turin.
University of Camerino, Camerino, Italy, professor of jurisprudence, 1935-38; University of Siena, Siena, Italy, professor of jurisprudence, 1938-40; University of Padua, Padua, Italy, professor of jurisprudence, 1940-48; University of Turin, Turin, Italy, professor of jurisprudence, 1948-72, professor of political philosophy, 1972-79, professor emeritus, 1979-2004; journalist and writer. Senator for life to Italian government, 1984-2004. Wartime service: Engaged in resistance activities with the Giustizia e Liberta and other groups, imprisoned for resistance activities, 1943-44.
Honorary degrees from universities, including University of Paris, University of Bologna, and University of Buenos Aires.
L'indirizzo fenomenologico nella filosofia sociale e giuridica, Istituto Giuridico della R. Università (Turin, Italy), 1934.
Scienza e tecnica del diritto, Istituto Giurdico della R. Università (Turin, Italy), 1934.
L'analogia nella logica del diritto, Istituto Giuridico della R. Università (Turin, Italy), 1938.
La consuetudine come fatto normativo, Casa Editrice A. Milani (Padua, Italy), 1942.
Lezioni di filosofia del diritto ad uso degli studenti, G. Giappichelli (Turin, Italy), 1946.
The Philosophy of Decadentism: A Study in Existentialism, translation by David Moore, Basil Blackwell (Oxford, England), 1948.
Teoria della scienza giuridica, G. Giapichelli (Turin, Italy), 1950.
Politica e cultura, Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1955.
Studi sulla teoria generale del diritto, G. Giappichelli (Turin, Italy), 1955, reprinted as Teoria generale del diritto, 1993.
Diritto e stato nel pensiero di Emanuele Kant, G. Giappichelli (Turin, Italy), 1957, reprinted, 1969.
Introduzione alla Costituzione: Testo di educazione civica per le scuole medie superiori, Laterza (Bari, Italy), 1960.
Italia civile: Ritratti e testimonianze, Lacaita (Manduria, Italy), 1964.
Saggi sulla scienza politica in Italia, Laterza (Bari, Italy), 1969.
Studi per una teoria generale del diritto, Giappichelli (Turin, Italy), 1970.
Una filosofia militante, Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1971.
Giusnaturalismo e positiviso giuridico, Edizioni di Comunità (Milan, Italy), 1972.
On Mosca and Pareto, Librairie Droz (Geneva, Switzerland), 1972.
(Editor, with Nicola Matteucci) Dizionario di politica, UTET (Turin, Italy), 1976, reprinted with additional information, TEA (Milan, Italy), 1991.
Dalla struttura alla funzione: Nuovi studi di teoria del diritto, Edizioni de Comunità (Milan, Italy), 1976.
La teoria delle forme di governo nella storia del pensiero politico: anno accademico 1975-76, G. Giappichelli (Turin, Italy), 1976.
Quale socialismo?: Discussione di un'alternative, Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1976, translation by Roger Griffin published as Which Socialism?: Marxism, Socialism, and Democracy, Polity Press (Cambridge, MA), 1987.
Gramsci e la concezione della società civile, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 1976.
Il positivismo giuridico: Lezioni di filosofia del diritto, G. Giappichelli (Turin, Italy), 1979.
Il problema della guerra e le vie della pace, Il Mulino (Bologna, Italy), 1979.
(With Michelangelo Bovero) Società e stato nella filosofia politica moderna: Modello giusnaturalistico e modello hegelo-marxiano, Il Saggiatore (Milan, Italy), 1979.
Il contratto sociale, Guida (Naples, Italy), 1980.
Le ideologie e il potere in crisi: Pluralismo, democrazia, socialismo, comunismo, terza via e terza forza, F. Le Monnier (Florence, Italy), 1981.
Studi hegeliani, Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1981.
(With Giuliano Pontara and Salvatore Veca) Crisi della democrazia e neocontrattualismo, Editori Riuniti (Rome, Italy), 1984.
(With others) Maestri e compagni, Passigli (Florence, Italy), 1984.
Liberalismo e democrazia, F. Angeli (Milan, Italy), 1985, translation by Martin Ryle and Kate Soper published as Liberalism and Democracy, Verso (New York, NY), 1990.
Italia fedele: Il mondo di Gobetti, Passigli (Florence, Italy), 1986.
Profilo ideologico del novecento italiano, Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1986, translation by Lydia G. Cochrane published as Ideological Profile of Twentieth-Century Italy, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1995.
Fundamento y futuro de la democracia: La visita de Bobbio a Valparaíso, EDEVAL (Valparaíso, Chile), 1986, reprinted as Fundamento y futuro de la democracia, 1990.
Il futuro della democrazia, Einaudi (Turin, Italy), translation by Roger Griffin published as The Future of Democracy: A Defence of the Rules of the Game, Polity Press (Cambridge, MA), 1987.
La democracia socialista, Ediciones Documentas (Santiago, Chile), 1987.
Stato, governo, società, translation by Peter Kennealy published as Democracy and Dictatorship: The Nature and Limits of State Power, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1989.
Nicola Abbagnano, M. Boni (Milan, Italy), 1989.
Età dei diritti, G. Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1990, translation by Allan Cameron published as The Age of Rights, Blackwell Publishers (Cambridge, MA), 1996.
L'utopia capovolta, La Stampa (Turin, Italy), 1990.
Saggi su Gramsci, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 1990.
Una Guerra giusta?: Sul conflitto del Golfo, Marsilio (Venice, Italy), 1991.
Destra e sinistra: Ragioni e significati di una distinzione politica, Donzelli (Rome, Italy), 1994, translation by Allan Cameron published as Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1996.
Elogio della mitezza e altri scritti morali, Linea d'ombra (Milan, Italy), 1994.
(With Giancarlo Bosetti and Gianni Vattimo) La sinistra nell'era del karaoke, Donzelli Editore (Milan, Italy), 1994.
Eguaglianza e libertà, Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1995.
De senectute e altri scritti autobiografici, Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1996, translation by Allan Cameron published as Old Age and Other Essays, Polity Press (Malden, MA), 2001.
(With Renzo de Flice and Gian Enrico Rusconi) Italiani, amici nemici, Donzelli (Rome, Italy), 1996.
Autobiografia, Laterza (Rome, Italy), 1997.
Verso la seconda Repubblica, La Stampa (Turin, Italy), 1997.
Nécon Marx, nécontro Marx, Riuniti (Rome, Italy), 1997.
Dal fascismo alla democrazia: I regimi, le ideologie, le figure e le culture politiche, Baldini & Castoldi (Milan, Italy), 1997.
L'État et la démocratie internationale: De L'histoire des idées à la science politique, translation from Italian by Nicola Giovannini, Paul Magnette and Jean Vogel, Complexe (Brussels, Belgium), 1998.
(With Michelangelo Bovero) Teoria generale della politica, Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1999.
Elogio della mitezza e altri scritti morali, translation by Teresa Chataway published as In Praise of Meekness: Essays on Ethics and Politics, Polity Press (Malden, MA), 2000.
La mia Italia, Passigli (Florence, Italy), 2000.
(With Maurizio Viroli) Dialogo intorno alla repubblica, Laterza (Rome, Italy), 2001, translation by Allan Cameron published as The Idea of the Republic, Polity Press (Malden, MA), 2003.
Il dubbio e la scelta: intellettuali e potere nella società contemporanea, Carocci (Rome, Italy), 2001.
Trent'anni di storia della cultura a Torino (1920-1950), Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 2002.
Contributor to more than thirty-six books on politics and philosophy in Italy. Contributor of political commentary to newspapers and magazines in Italy, including La Stampa. Former editor of Rivista di Filosofia.
Norberto Bobbio was renowned in his native Italy as a political philosopher, a statesman, and an author who used his native country's political struggles as a model upon which to craft theories of rights, democracy, socialism, and nation-building. Named a "senator for life" in 1984 by President Sandro Pertini, Bobbio spent more than sixty years writing and speaking on Italian politics. His life spanned both World Wars and included a stint in prison for working with the Resistance during World War II. Principally from his seat as a professor of law and political science at the University of Turin, and later as a member of Italy's senate, Bobbio became prominent as the "moral conscience of Italy," to quote a reporter in the London Times. In an article for Diogenes, Pierre-Emmanuel Dauzat noted that Bobbio, "a philosopher of law who also wore the hat of a political thinker and a specialist in international relations, is considered by his contemporaries as a guiding light of postwar Italy."
Bobbio spent much of his life in Turin, attending its university as a student and teaching law and political philosophy there for thirty-one years. As Charles F. Delzell observed in the Journal of Modern History, Bobbio's interests extended beyond politics to include "the history of philosophy, the history of culture, the history of intellectuals in contemporary Italy, and the current problems of democracy and peace." The son of a surgeon, he grew up in a highly intellectual environment and developed an anti-fascist stance that led him to work with Giustizia e Liberta, a resistance movement, during the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini. By that time a respected professor, Bobbio resisted his country's stance in World War II both in active and passive ways, using his writing skills to question his nation's leaders. He eventually was jailed in 1943. According to Richard Bellamy in the Guardian, Bobbio's "stress on the importance of civil and political liberties derived much of its power from his having lived his formative years under a government that had suppressed them."
After the war Bobbio began publishing in earnest, and his list of authored titles and contributions to collections is prodigious. His works earned a wide readership in Italy, especially Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction, which achieved bestseller status. Translations of Bobbio's works continue, and more than a dozen of his books have already appeared in English. As Bellamy put it, Bobbio's writings were "conditioned by the vicissitudes of his country's democracy in the twentieth century."
During his long tenure as a college professor Bobbio generally shunned active participation in party politics, believing that he could not serve his students if his attention was divided. After retirement he was awarded the honorary life senatorship—one of five in Italy—and he took his place in the government as an independent socialist. In his later years he published two autobiographies, and continued to air his views on current world crises such as the Persian Gulf War and its aftermath. Up to his death he remained a staunch defender of human rights, but with his philosophical bent he sought to define those rights and to question how they could be applied evenly to all levels of society. To quote Guardian reviewer Roy Hattersley, Bobbio's collection of essays The Age of Rights explains "the impossibility of setting out a cogent and convincing list of essential freedoms." Indeed, the book seeks to promote societal action through the clarification of theories regarding and defining the essence of human rights. This, according to Hattersley, results in the "gloomy conclusion" that "there are so many ways of defining 'inalienable rights' and so many theories of how they are derived, that it is virtually impossible to create an objective test against which the conduct of all governments should be measured."
Bobbio's Idealogical Profile of Twentieth-Century Italy, has been published in many forms and editions since its first appearance in 1969. The book attempts to chart a contextual history of ideological thought in Italy. Delzell called Bobbio's work "stimulating," stating that it "provides a brilliant overview" of the topic.
Though Bobbio is best known for these political and philosophical works, his book De senectute e altri scritti autobiografici, translated as Old Age and Other Essays, is a memoir written in essay form. The memoir relates Bobbio's intellectual history and his life as it spanned an entire century. Bobbio also writes of his break with his bourgeois upbringing and his involvement in politics after the fall of Mussolini. In his review of the memoir, Dauzat stated, "The honesty with which Bobbio relates his waverings is itself sufficient cause for admiration. He endeavors most scrupulously to understand and to show his inner struggle between conformism and rupture."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bobbio, Norberto, Old Age and Other Essays, Polity Press (Malden, MA), 2001.
Diogenes, summer, 1998, Pierre-Emmanuel Dauzat, review of De senectute e altri scritti autobiografici, p. 165.
Guardian (Manchester, England), February 9, 1996, Roy Hattersley, review of The Age of Rights, p. 16.
Journal of Modern History, December, 1997, Charles F. Delzell, review of Ideological Profile of Twentieth-Century Italy, p. 868.
Filosofico.net,http://www.filosofico.net/ (October 20, 2004), "Norberto Bobbio."
Guardian (London, England), January 13, 2004, Richard Bellamy, "Norberto Bobbio: Key Italian Political Philosopher Whose Vigilance and Clarity Helped Guide His Country's Postwar Democracy," p. 27.
Times (London, England), January 22, 2004, p. 38.*