Tribute to Luigi Bobbio16th March 1944 – 9th October 2017

09/10/2017 Bruno Dente


The sudden death of Luigi Bobbio, full professor of Public Policy Analysis at the University of Turin, is a major loss not only for Italian Political Science and Public Policy, but also for international scholarship. The participants of ICPP 2 Milano 2015 will remember his excellent discussion of Helen Ingram keynote speech on Democracy and Public Policy. Citizen participation, deliberative democracy and the theory of public policy decisions, however, were only some of his many scientific interests. To be fair, one must at least mention the study of local government, as well as his works on urban policies and cultural heritage protection.


Luigi approached academia relatively late, perhaps because he was born in it, being the son of Norberto Bobbio, the world-famous political philosopher. Before his academic commitment, he spent the first part of his life as a far-left militant and later decided to be a teacher in high school. Such origins in “real-world” practice marked his most original and theoretically profound works, which always had a clear understanding of the different contexts where public policy analysis was to be applied. In other words, he had a strong commitment to produce “usable knowledge”, as a way to achieve better policies, more democracy and even better citizens.


But the author of this obituary, a close personal friend of Luigi for almost 50 years, wants to remember him for his human qualities: a deep-felt kindness, a well-meaning irony as well as good humor and a natural elegance. He will be sorely missed.


Bruno Dente