Norberto Bobbio

Norberto Bobbio was a giant of post-war Italian political philosophy and one of Europe’s leading liberal socialist voices. Imprisoned several times during the Second World War by Mussolini for his leftist activism, he stood unsuccessfully for political office in 1946 before focusing on academia. Over the many years he spent as a distinguished scholar at the University of Turin, his thought reflected his opposition to the authoritarianism of both fascist Right and communist Left. In particular, he passionately made the case for a humane socialist vision that respected fundamental liberal values. In later years he became perhaps most famous for his trenchant defence of the continuing validity of the Left–Right distinction in politics, defined in his view by fundamentally different attitudes to equality. He was appointed a Senator-for-life in 1979 and awarded the prestigious Balzan Prize in 1994. Polity has published many of his most important books, including The Future of Democracy, Democracy and Dictatorship, Which Socialism>, The Age of Rights, Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction and his autobiography, A Political Life.