Coresearch and Counter-Research: Romano Alquati’s Itinerary Within and Beyond Italian Radical Political Thought Viewpoint Magazine, No. 3 (September), 2013



The personal, political and intellectual itinerary of Romano Alquati was inextricably bound up with Italian postwar history, when a generation of militants relegated the importance of their own profession to second place, seeking instead jobs that could support their political commitment. In doing so, they created a new way of “being-political” that would prove to be a watershed for successive generations, up to the present day. This was the premise for a new social science in which the scholar and the political “vanguard” assumed the task of discussing and criticizing the constitution of society through both theoretical elaboration and empirical research. They did this together with subjects who were no longer seen as objects of research, but rather as subjectivities playing an active part in envisioning and realizing social change. The stages in Romano Alquati’s research can be periodized within the Italian workerist thought of the Sixties and Seventies; more generally, they are inscribed in the furrows of the phenomenological approach developed by Enzo Paci and Guido Davide Neri, which questioned the philosophical presuppositions of the Marxist orthodoxy, starting with its more deterministic and philosophical aspects. More specifically, Alquati’s research program was directed towards the radical renewal of the study of industrial sociology and to the development of social coresearch in Italy. In the notes that follow, we will attempt to draw out the key facets of this undertaking.