N. Cavazza, P. G. Corbetta, M. Roccato, “L’asse sinistra-destra e le sue euristiche: Cambiamenti in Italia 1975-2006”, in “Psicologia Sociale” n. 4, Pagine 455-465. (Read abstract)

The left-right dimension may be conceived as the basis of some important heuristics used by voters to reduce the complexity of their political judgments. Which decision rules linked to the left-wight counterposition do voters actually use? We hypothesized that different rules are used in relation both to individual (cognitive ability and motivation) and contextual (cultural and political variables) factors. To test such hypotheses, we analyzed the answers given by two representative samples of the Italian population to the same open-ended questions about the meaning they attributed to the political “right” and “left”, asked in 1975 (N =1,657) and in 2006 (N = 1,377). We detected five main decision rules, differing according to the level of abstraction of the content taken into consideration. We discuss the changes occurred between 1975 and 2006 in the use of such heuristics and their relationships with the main individual characteristics in the frame of a changing context . We argue that the «right» and «left» labels are tools suitable to meet a need for simplification which did not lose importance in the 31 years passed between the first and the second survey, even if the level of motivation and cognitive ability of the Italians, as their political context, did actually change.


▪ P. G. Corbetta, N. Cavazza, “Capire il comportamento di voto: dalla debolezza dei fattori «sociologici» all’insostenibile tesi dell’individualizzazione”, on “Polis” n. 23, pages 367-398.

▪ P. G. Corbetta, “Il voto delle donne dalla Prima alla Seconda repubblica”, in “La fatica di cambiare. Rapporto sulla società italiana” edited by R. Catanzaro, G. Sciortino, Bologna, Il Mulino, pages 223-240. (Read abstract)

The women vote in Italy from 1968 to 2006 is analysed, with a description of the trends over time.

▪ P. G. Corbetta, “Capire il comportamento di voto: dalla debolezza dei fattori sociologici all’insostenibile tesi dell’individualizzazione”, in “Polis” n. XXIII, pages 367-398. (Read abstract)

The article analyzes the evolution from 1968 to 2008 of the relationship between voting choices and six structural factors: social class, religion, geographical area, age, gender and education. Results confirm that all the factors, but especially religion and gender, lost a great deal of their influence on voting behaviour over time. Many scholars have interpreted these results in terms of «individualization» of political choice. This interpretation is criticised by the authors, which emphasise the need to identify new and meaningful social entities as sources of political identification, focused on personal relationship networks as fuzzy categories of identification and lifestyles as forms through which these identifications are expressed.

▪ G. Legnante, A cosa servono le campagne elettorali? Un confronto tra il 2006 e il 2008, in G. Legnante, R. Mannheimer e P. Segatti (a cura di), Il cittadino-elettore in Europa e America. Studi in onore di Giacomo Sani, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009, pp. 215-247.(Read abstract)

This study analyzes the relevance and the meaning given by Italians to the political labels of “left” and “right” between 1975 and 2006. Based on the responses to the open-ended question “What do you mean by ‘left/right’ in politics?” we compare five alternative hypotheses on the meaning of the left-right axis and show that, despite the alleged end of ideologies, the relevance of the axis has increased over time. A core of abstract meanings (e.g. values and principles) persists throughout the thirty-year period considered. As the importance of abstract meanings has increased over time, reference to more concrete contents (e.g. parties and leaders) has decreased. Our findings thus support the hypothesis that the left-right axis has the functional characteristics of social representations.

▪ P. Segatti, R. K. Herrmann, P. Isernia, “Attachment to the Nation and International Relations : Dimensions of Identity and Their Relationship to War and Peace”, on “Political Psychology” n. 30, pages 721-754.

▪ P. Segatti, G. Legnante, “Intermittent abstensionism and multi-level mobilisation in Italy “, on “Modern Italy” n. 2, pages 167-181.

▪ P. Segatti, “La fiducia degli italiani verso le istituzioni: un problema solo italiano?”, in “Il cittadino elettore in Europa e in America. Studi in onore di Giacomo Sani” edited by G. Legnante, R. Mannheimer, P. Segatti, Bologna, Il Mulino, pages 215-247.

▪ H. Schadee, G. Ballarino, C. Vezzoni, “Classe sociale e voto in Italia, 1972-2006”, on “Rivista italiana di scienza politica” n. 39, pages 263-293.

Garzia, D. (2009). The Dynamics of (Personalized) Party Identification in the Second Italian Republic. Politikon 15: 24-48.


▪ G. Legnante, R. Mannheimer, P. Segatti (edited by), “Il cittadino elettore in Europa e in America. Studi in onore di Giacomo Sani”, Bologna, Il Mulino.