Mosca, Gaetano

Mosca, Gaetano
   One of the democratic age’s most uncomfortable thinkers, Gaetano Mosca is chiefly remembered today for his conviction that democratic regimes—like all other types of regime—are controlled by elites, who manipulate public opinion and the levers of power for their own ends.
   Born in Palermoin 1858, Mosca’s critique of democracy first surfaced in his 1884 work Teorica dei governi (Theory of Governments). But it was his 1896 work, Elementi di scienza politica (Elements of Political Science), that established his reputation. For Mosca, who by now was a close advisor of the conservative statesman Antonio Starabba Di Rudini, the rhetoric of popular sovereignty was simply a device used by Machiavellian politicians to facilitate their own pursuit of power. Moreover, paucity of political sophistication, shaky institutions, and a high tolerance for political corruption meant that democratic reforms were a gift horse that should be carefully examined for unscrupulous agitators willing and able to exploit popular prejudices and ignorance. For this reason, Mosca, who was elected to Parliament in 1909, opposed the introduction of universal male suffrage in 1912. Mosca, however, must be regarded as a liberal-conservative, not as a protofascist or a reactionary (his most famous pupil, Piero Gobetti, described him as a “conservative gentleman”). His objection to democracy was precisely that it increased the likelihood that an antiliberal elite would come to power—and post-1918 politics in Italy hardly persuaded him to question this analysis. Like Benedetto Croce, Mosca was initially inclined to give Benito Mussolini the benefit of the liberal doubt, but, by 1925, he had passed to the opposition. Mosca signed the manifesto of antifascist intellectuals published by Croce in the newspaper Il Mondo on 1 May 1925. Mosca’s final years were spent finishing off an enormous history of political thought, which was published in 1933. He died in Rome in 1941.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mosca, Gaetano — (1858 1941) An Italian political theorist and proponent of the theory of élite domination. In his most famous book The Ruling Class (1896), he argued that there are inevitably two classes of people, the rulers and the ruled. The former is a… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Mosca, Gaetano — born April 1, 1958, Palermo, Sicily, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies died Nov. 8, 1941, Rome, Italy Italian political theorist. Educated at the University of Palermo, he taught constitutional law there (1885–88) and at the Universities of Rome… …   Universalium

  • Mosca, Gaetano — (1 abr. 1858, Palermo, Sicilia, Reino de las Dos Sicilias–8 nov. 1941, Roma, Italia). Teórico político italiano. Estudió en la Universidad de Palermo, y fue profesor de derecho constitucional en esa misma universidad (1885–88), en la Universidad… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • MOSCA, Gaetano — (1858 1955)    Italian SOCIOLOGIST whose analysis of Marxism led him to foresee Stalinism (see STALIN). His best known work is The Ruling Class (1939) …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Mosca — Mosca, Gaetano …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Gaetano Mosca — (* 1. April 1858 in Palermo; † 8. November 1941 in Rom) war ein italienischer Rechts und Politikwissenschaftler und Soziologe und wurde als Elitetheoretiker bekannt. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • MOSCA (G.) — MOSCA GAETANO (1858 1941) Après avoir fait des études de droit et de sciences politiques, Gaetano Mosca enseigne lui même ces disciplines à l’université de Turin, puis à Rome. Parallèlement à son activité scientifique, il mène une carrière… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Gaetano — gaetano, na. adj. Natural de Gaeta. U. t. c. s. || 2. Perteneciente o relativo a esta ciudad de Italia. * * * (as used in expressions) Donizetti, (Domenico) Gaetano (Maria) Mosca, Gaetano Vestris, Gaetano Appolino Baldassare …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Mosca — (Del lat. musca.) ► sustantivo femenino 1 ZOOLOGÍA Insecto de cuerpo negro, ojos salientes, aparato bucal picador y chupador, patas con capacidad adherente, muy común y molesto. (Musca domestica.) 2 Pelo que le crece al hombre entre el labio… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gaetano — (as used in expressions) Donizetti Domenico Gaetano Maria Mosca Gaetano Gaetano Appolino Baldassare * * * …   Universalium

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