CONGRIPS is the Conference Group on Italian Politics and Society. CONGRIPS was formally initiated on September 2, 1975, at the American Political Science Association (APSA) convention in San Francisco, California. Norman Kogan of the University of Connecticut spearheaded the effort which, in the first year, garnered 117 members. The original purpose of the organization was to encourage and support academic research and writing on current and past Italian political issues and practices. That charter was expanded in 1986 to include Italian social issues, hence the name change that year to the Conference on Italian Politics & Society ( CONGRIPS ). During its first year, CONGRIP also adopted a Constitution and Bylaws .
The launch of this new website marks the start of a new phase for CONGRIPS.
First, this new website will replace the group’s Newsletter, Italian Politics & Society. After 38 years of publication, the Congrips Executive decided to discontinue this publication. All past issues will continue to remain available from the website, but the new website will provide a more interactive and fresh forum for communication and debate with CONGRIPS membership and the wider public. Without having the ambition to compete with the existing sites and blogs of organisations that are much larger than CONGRIPS, the intention is to provide a dynamic platform for dissemination and discussion of topical themes about Italian politics in a comparative light, on top of the dissemination of the more ‘standard’ Congrips news (such as the annual call for papers). Crucially, the new site continues to include the paypal link where CONGRIPS membership can be obtained and renewed online, in a very straightforward process.
A second innovation relates to the intention to strengthen the links and cooperation with the PSA’s Italian Politics Specialist Group (IPSG) and with SISP. Having appointed Daniele Albertazzi (IPSG Chair) as PSA liason officer and having the SISP President, Simona Piattoni, in the Congrips Executive will provide an opportunity to exploit synergies and foster collaboration.
A third change relates to the enhancement of the comparative approach in all Congrips’ activities. Increasingly over the past few years, we have realised that study Italy solely from within its boundaries provides limited analytical insights, as the changes that the Italian political system is undergoing are intrinsically linked with and affected by wider EU and global trends and, in many ways, mirror evolutions that are occurring in other Western democracies. In the past few years, we have been able to imprint a marked comparative character to the CONGRIPS panels and efforts in this direction will be continued by our current program chair, Prof. Martin Bull.
A fourth element that will characterise this new phase of CONGRIPS relates to a desire to mobilise a higher number of PhD and Post-Doctoral students and early career researchers. After all, this will be the new generation of scholars and it is CONGRIPS’ desire to nurture the interest in the comparative study of Italian politics amongst the new recruits to the profession. This will ensure the necessary turnover and long-term prosperity of our group!
Lastly, this new phase opens up with an ambition of an ever growing inclusivity and reach, an ambition to mobilise more scholars than even before from both sides of the Atlantic and to revitalise the study of Italian politics outside Italy, especially in the United States. We therefore look forward to receiving posts from members on their research results and ideas, to receiving paper proposals for the Congrips panel at the annual APSA Meetings, to welcoming as many colleagues as possible at the Annual APSA meetings, to fruitful discussions at the annual CONGRIPS panel and through this website. Congrips has traditionally been a very open group and we will welcome any new idea, proposal and suggestion on how to move the group forward.