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"Ricerche di storia politica” was established in 1986 as an annual journal that aimed at becoming an important reference point for the comparative study of the political dimension of history. The founders of the journal held methodological convictions that for that time were nonconformist: the importance and the autonomy of the political dimension of the historical process; the need for a new comparative view of research in order to set the history of Italy in a wider context. They strongly believed that with this new perspective the historical reconstruction could become more “scientific” in a departure from contingent ideological confrontation. The journal – as the title implies –was published with the aim of proposing the “politics” as a problematic concept, able to provide an objective of analysis. In this sense, “politics” is a structure that organizes, coordinates and conveys meaning to the different relationships that are found together in a given system and therefore as a structure that makes the system itself independently significant, self-referential and included in a universe of interrelationships with other similar systems. An analysis of such a kind, in its complexity and wide variety of aspects, has brought the authors of “Ricerche di Storia Politica” to take into consideration all the different fields of research that can be helpful to understand the political phenomenon in its entirety: from the history of political cultures and ideas to the history of constitutional systems; from the history of political and religious groups to the study of representative and administrative institutions; from the history of international relations to gender studies. As for the comparative dimension of the historical process, the authors do not intend just a “comparison of material” but, most of all, the collection of material useful to understand thoroughly the functioning of the political system in the XIX and XX centuries. Because of the importance and tireless attention given to the comparative dimension of the historical process, “Ricerche di Storia Politica” has played a great role in drawing the attention of Italian scholars to comparative history, subject that did not receive much consideration in Italy at that time.
Since its very beginning, the journal was intended to gather existing international research materials and analysis of political history. For more than ten years, the annual issue of “Ricerche di Storia Politica” has reviewed Italian and European historical works– original research articles and historical reviews – showing the progress made in all relevant topics. Furthermore, the journal is also a useful instrument for scholars who want to keep up to date about international historical works. The journal’s section “Biblioteca” (Library) has soon stood out for the wide variety and richness of its reviews and description of books published in Italy, England, France and Germany.
In 1998, thanks also to its publisher, Il Mulino, “Ricerche di Storia Politica” underwent some structural changes and became a four-monthly journal with a broader spectrum of comparative studies – today the journal covers new areas, such as Spain, Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Americas. Each issue is composed of two articles of political history with a comparative perspective (all the articles are chosen with the blind peer-review system) and a review of the main topics covered in the international debate. Furthermore, the journal publishes a variety of reviews: “Confini” (Borders) deals with the topic of interdisciplinarity; “Memoria” and "Testimoni della Storia" (Witnesses of History) presents interviews to Italian an international witnesses of a key historical period, trying to demonstrate how witnesses with their stories are of great help for historical research; and lastly, “Dialogues” that gives space to debate on the most interesting current historical topics.
The new four-monthly format has given the opportunity to increase the number of the volumes reviewed in the section “Biblioteca” (Library); in fact, every year more than 200 volumes are reviewed by Italian and international scholars, making our “Biblioteca” the richest section of historical reviews in Italy, as for the international publishers taken into consideration.
In 1999, with the third issue of “Ricerche di Storia Politica”, the journal decided to publish a series of special monographic issues on topics of great significance from an intellectual, political and historical point of view: from the Treaty of Versailles to the transition from Franco’s dictatorship to democracy; from the Resistance and the Nazi-fascism in Europe to the construction of the contemporary political leadership; from the concept of Populism to the figure and works of Alexis de Tocqueville. All monographic issues have received great acclaim in international scientific circles. During the past twenty years, the journal has gathered experience from collaborators and has published contributions from internationally recognized scholars, becoming one of the most important Italian journals on the international scene.
In 2004, “Ricerche di Storia Politica” has been recognized by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities as “a journal of high cultural value”. The journal has obtained great results thanks to the enthusiasm, commitment and support of many people: young scholars that have worked as editorial assistants, current and past members of the editorial staff, international friends that offer their contribution to the journal as correspondents and consultants, and all those people (more than 200) that have contributed with articles, reviews and essays for the monographic issues; and last, all those who have subscribed to the journal, giving it the opportunity to grow and conquer its place in the international scene.

Sito internet dell’Associazione a cura di Salvatore Botta

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