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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: August 2012

3 - Multi-level government

Summary

Introduction

In the last chapter we looked at the institutional framework as laid out by the Constitution, that is, we looked at the principal institutions of government. By contrast, in this chapter and the next we look at how these and other institutions function and interact in the processes by which policy is made and administered. What will hopefully be apparent by the time the reader reaches the end of this chapter is the extent to which policy and its implementation is the product of the interaction of a large number of institutions at the national, sub-national and supra-national levels. In other words, far from policy being the product of autonomous decision-making by those at the apex of Italy's political institutions, it is, rather, something that emerges from consultation and negotiation between decision-makers located in a wide range of institutional settings. This has become increasingly the case in recent decades, partly as the consequence of processes of globalisation, so that political scientists talk about government having given way to governance. In other words, ‘the overall administration of social affairs which must take place in any society’ (that is, governance) ‘is said to be slipping away from national governments to be partially re-located at sub-national or supra-national levels’ (Barrett, 1996: 6). It is for this reason, then, that in looking at the structures through which governance is carried on in Italy, this chapter and the next look at a range of institutions, including but going beyond the institutions of central government.