EBES-LCSR Training Methodological Workshop
Economic and Social Changes: Values Effects Across Eurasia
31 March – 5 April 2015, Antalya, Turkey
[Conference homepage...]

Civic Traditions or Cultural Heritage: How Northern is Central Italy?


Putnam’s (1993) path-breaking analysis of the cultural north-south divide of Italy seems to converge with the fact that the Gallo-Romance and Venetian dialects of northern Italy took part in an abrupt grammatical shift affecting Western Europe during the Middle Ages, while the southern Romance dialects (including today’s standard Italian) kept their previous structure in this regard. Assuming that the grammatical shift in north-western Europe reflects a cultural shift towards ‘subjectivism’, i.e. a cultural trait supporting modern norms of inter-subjective rationality, I hypo­thesize that the Italian north-south divide in civicness is not twofold but tripartite. This hypothesis will be tested on the basis of cross-sectional survey data at the individual level. Resulting findings will have important implications for all theories establishing a link between the evolution of culture, language, and human development.


  • Putnam, Robert D., in collaboration with Robert Leonardi and Raffaela Y. Nanetti (1993). Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.