Welcome to the Bulletin of Italian Politics, a new political-science journal aimed at academics and policy makers as well as others with a professional or intellectual interest in the politics of Italy. In launching this new publication we have two specific and related aims in mind.

Our first aim is to provide rigorous analysis, in the English language, about the politics of what is one of the European Union’s four largest states in terms of population and Gross Domestic Product. We seek to do this aware that too often those in the English-speaking world looking for incisive analysis and insight into the latest trends and developments in Italian politics are likely to be stymied by two contrasting difficulties. On the one hand, they can turn to the daily and weekly print media. Here they will find information on the latest developments, sure enough; but much of it is likely to lack the incisiveness of academic writing and may even be straightforwardly inaccurate. On the other hand, readers can turn either to general political science journals – but here they will have to face the issue of fragmented information – or to specific journals on Italy – in which case they will find that politics is considered only insofar as it is part of the broader field of modern Italian studies. So what we are seeking to do in this new journal is to provide a forum which is designed to promote research in Italian politics and to offer an outlet that counterbalances the fragmentation of the field. In doing this, we also seek to rely on research conducted in Italian, which hardly reaches the English-speaking world.

Our second aim follows from the first one insofar as, in seeking to achieve it, we hope thereby to provide analysis that readers will find genuinely useful. In this way we hope to make our own small contribution to demonstrating the relevance of what political science has to say to those beyond the academic ‘ivory towers’. The importance of this task, in 2009, can hardly be underestimated. With research funding bodies of all kinds giving increasing emphasis to knowledge transfer and increasingly demanding of applicants that they demonstrate the relevance of what they are doing to non-academic ‘end users’, political scientists have a self-interested motive for attempting a closer engagement with outside practitioners. And with the world economic crisis and the spiralling levels of public debt that have come with it, this pressure can only increase as governments seek to curtail spending, especially on activities whose more immediate utilitarian value may be somewhat in doubt.

Maurizio Carbone and James L. Newell