Debora Spini

debora-spiniPh.D., Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento, Universita’ di Pisa, Italy


Debora Spini has published essays in English and Italian on democracy and globalization, human rights, and European identity. Publications include La Società civile post nazionale, Meltemi ed., Roma, 2006, and Le parole del mondo globale (co-editor with Andrea Giuntini e Piero Meucci). Numerous essays and book chapters include: “Of Leviathan and other animals: Notes on European Identity,” in L. Leonardi, ed.; “Sociology of Europe,” Firenze University Press, 2008; “Lobbying for Values. La società civile e la governance europea,” in Imago Europae, Dec 2007; “European Civil Society, Identity and Legitimacy” in F. Cerutti, S.Lucarelli, eds.; “European Union: Identity and Legitimacy,” London: Routledge, 2008; “Fra Valori e Interessi: la società civile in un mondo post nazionale,” in Iride, anno 2008, n. 1.

Research interests

Early research interests focused on the history of Protestant theology and early contractualist political thought: on these topics she published the monograph “Diritti di Dio, diritti dei popoli: Perre Jurieu e il problema della sovranita’ 1681-1691, Torino: Claudiana, 1997.

More recent research focuses on political and social philosophy:

– Civil society in a globalised world. Her book takes into consideration the genealogy of the category of civil society, from its emergence in early contractualist political theory to its XVIII century conceptualization by authors such as Smith and Ferguson. The essay reconstructs how the category of civil society will later become central in the thought of G.F.W. Hegel, and how its Hegelian definition will later be questioned and radically transformed by more contemporaries definitions. This essay maintains Habermas’s theory as one of its central points of reference, and examines the current literature on global civil society. The goal of this research is to challenge and question some of the received assumption about the birth of a global civil society. In the background, remains a constant interest in the future of democracy in the era of globalization.

– Democratic legitimacy, European identity. Is involved in the network of excellence “Garnet”, funded by the 6th Framework Program of the European University. Is researching the relationship between the construction of a European identity and democratic legitimacy for the European Union.

– Religion, Politics and Public Space. In recent months, Spini has been researching and publishing on issues related to the transformation of the Public Space, and on the relationship between religion and politics in the Age of Second Modernity. Her article on Politica, Religion y Espacio Publico will soon appear on the Spanish Journal “Claves de Razon Practica”.