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Italy and the community of Sant’Egidio in the 1990s. ‘Coopetition’ in post-Cold War Italian foreign policy?

De Simone, Carolina (2017) Italy and the community of Sant’Egidio in the 1990s. ‘Coopetition’ in post-Cold War Italian foreign policy? PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.n137sj6snn9b


The aim of this thesis is to explore a specific feature of post-Cold War Italian foreign policy, throwing light from a perspective blending Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) and other International Relations (IR) insights, on the interactions occurred in the 1990s between the Italian state institutions and the Community of Sant’Egidio (CSE), a Catholic lay organisation, one of the most influential non-governmental organisations (NGOs) based in Italy, with a remarkable level of international activity. Firstly, this work offers a detailed account of the Italian “Foreign Policy Community” (Santoro 1991; Hilsman 1967 and 1993) and of the Community of Sant’Egidio, taking into consideration the international and domestic changes occurred after the demise of the Cold War, in order to understand where foreign policy governmental actors and a non state actor (NSA) such as Sant’Egidio fit within the bigger picture of the foreign policy process in Italy. This mapping exercise demonstrates that the country’s foreign policy setting is rather fragmented, featuring a) centres of power and influence scattered along different “rings”, according to the different issues and subpolicies at stake, on a case-by-case basis; and b) an institutional “inner ring” with a relatively high number of “access points” for external actors, i.e. a proactive NGO such as Sant'Egidio, which is located in the “second ring”. Secondly, after identifying slowly emerging “policy subsystems” (Verbeek and van Ufford 2001) in the specific foreign policy subfields of a) preventive diplomacy/crisis management and b) peace-making, in which the Italian governmental foreign policy machinery and the Community are among the extremely small number of actors playing a role and enjoying a certain degree of policy autonomy, this thesis focuses on these two foreign policy areas, in order to try to understand how relations unfolded between the two actors in the cases of the Algerian crisis of 1994-1998 and of the Mozambican peace process of 1990-1992. The examination of these events has showed both competitive (even conflicting) and cooperative relations, respectively on the Algerian dossier and in the Mozambican case. This thesis argues therefore that “coopetition”, a concept borrowed from literature on regulatory theory, and defined as “a flexible mix of competition and cooperation between governmental and non-governmental actors” (Esty and Geradin 2000), is – with some modifications – possibly the most accurate definition to capture the nature of interactions analysed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 Carolina De Simone
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Alden, Christopher

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