PRIN 2017

Science, technology and international relations: case studies in Italian foreign policy

From the mid-1960s to the early 1990s, technological and scientific innovation played an increasingly critical role in shaping the cultural and economic modernization of Italy, as well as its capacity to remain a credible actor in the international scene. Yet, the crucial interaction between science, technology and diplomacy has been usually neglected by the academic literature. This project intends to close this gap by investigating some closely interconnected case studies which posed unprecedented challenges for Italian policy makers, as each one of them was deeply significant both for its domestic repercussions and for Italy’s international standing. It will look at the interplay between such fields as energy security, the environmental impact of energy choices, and the technological challenges of innovation in the aerospace and nuclear industries. A key feature of the project will be its focus on the interaction between technical experts and decision makers, to bypass the problematic methodological dichotomy caused by rigid approaches which tend to concentrate exclusively on either one of these categories. The availability of some hitherto unavailable archival sources, and the extensive use of interviews, will allow the project to move beyond these conceptual rigidities.