Common Sense and 'National Emergency': Italian Labour and the Crisis

  • Davide Bradanini Independent Scholar-Rome
Keywords: Collective bargaining, common sense, industrial relations, Italy.,


This paper has a twofold objective. First, it analyses recent developments in Italian industrial relations as an attempt by capital to destructure the collective bargaining system. Then, it seeks to explain the reasons for the relative acquiescence of organised labour to capital’s offensive. By adopting Bruff's concept of 'common sense', it is argued that labour and the left have internalised an assumption of economic vulnerability and the idea that in order to adjust Italy to economic change, real wages need to be kept sufficiently low. This particular intertwining between 'the national' and 'the international' is argued to be at the basis of labour's acceptance of punitive measures in times of 'economic emergency'.