The political class is central to all political systems. Unavoidably, in the present democracies, any speech, even a critical one, on the political class goes together with those on the role of parties, on the problem of representation, and, more generally speaking, on the functioning of the democracy itself. Actually, the contemporary political classes substantially stem from parties and play elective, parliamentary, and government roles. This book aims to explain the ways political classes adopted to develop, to function, and to renew themselves. It also aims to evaluate not only the contribution they give to democracy, but also the problems they create. It then considers possible solutions to improve the quality of the political class, to control its power, to facilitate its renewal and it suggests more or less possible alternatives to substitute it.
Gianfranco Pasquino is Professor of Political Science at the University of Bologna and at the Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins University.