Carlo Invernizzi Accetti

Carlo Invernizzi Accetti

Research Interests


Fall 2020

  • Politics in the European Union (3 credits)
    REGN U6315

    This course offers an overview of recent and contemporary politics in the European Union. On the basis of the assumption that the latter is inextricably determined by both supra-national and infra-national dynamics, it examines the European Union as a whole, as well as the politics of certain key member states. Classes are based on readings from foundational texts in the recent comparative politics and history literature on the European Union and its member states. They will involve initial lectures by the instructor and leave ample time for seminar-style discussion. In addition, students will be required to participate in a number of structured class debates, which will form an integral part of the pedagogy, and serve as one of the bases for individual evaluation. Throughout the duration of the course, students will also be working on a final research paper, whose topic will be determined individually with the instructor.


Carlo Invernizzi Accetti is Associate Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York (City College), and Associate Researcher at the Center for European Studies of the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po).

His research is at the point of intersection of democratic theory and comparative EU/US party politics. It combines a historical approach with a concern for contemporary normative issues, relating in particular to the relationship between politics and religion, the rise of populism and technocracy as structuring poles of electoral competition, and the ideological reconfigurations taking place in connection with the mainstreaming of environmental issues.

His first book, entitled Relativism and Religion. Why Democratic Societies Do Not Need Moral Absolutes (Columbia University Press, 2015) traces the history of religious critiques of relativism, examining their bearing on democratic theory and ultimately defending a form of moral relativism as the most solid philosophical foundation for democracy. His second book, entitled What is Christian Democracy? Politics, Religion and Ideology (Cambridge University Press, 2019) reconstructs the history and core principles of the political ideology of Christian Democracy, focusing in particular on its influence on the process of construction of the European Union.

He has published over two dozen articles in top international peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes on topics such as: militant democracy, party politics, intra-party reform, populism, technocracy, the philosophical foundations of human rights, and authors such as Hans Kelsen, Jurgen Habermas, Claude Lefort, Immanuel Kant, and the Marquis de Sade.

He is currently working on two separate book projects: one co-authored with Christopher Bickerton on the relationship between populism and technocracy as structuring poles of contemporary European politics (under contract with Oxford University Press) and one on the way in which environmental issues are being appropriated - and politicized - by traditional ideological and party families along the left/right axis (manuscript under preparation).

He is also a regular commentator on European and US political affairs for venues including: The Financial TimesThe GuardianForeign Affairs, The Wall Street JournalLa RepubblicaQuartzLe Monde Diplomatique, and France 24.


  • Ph.D. Political Science, Columbia University, 2012
  • M.Phil. Political Science, Columbia University, 2008
  • M.A. History and Theory of Politics, Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, 2006
  • B.A. Philosophy, Politics, Economics, Oxford University, 2004

Selected Publications


  • Between Populism and Technocracy. Politics in the Age of the Crisis of Party Democracy (co-authored with Chris Bickerton), Oxford University Press, under contract. 
  • What is Christian Democracy? The Forgotten Ideology, Cambridge University Press, 2019.
  • Relativism and Religion. Why Democratic Societies Do Not Need Moral Absolutes, Columbia University Press, 2015.
  • Hans Kelsen, The Essence and Value of Democracy, Rowman and Littlefield, 2013 (co-edited with Nadia Urbinati).

Academic Articles

  • ‘Is the European Union Secular ?’, Comparative European Politics, forthcoming.
  • ‘Catholic Social Doctrine and Human Rights : From Rejection to Endorsement ?’, Humanity, forthcoming.
  • ‘Reconciling Legal Positivism and Human Rights : Hans Kelsen’s Argument from Relativism’, Journal of Human Rights, forthcoming.
  • ‘The Crisis of Party Democracy, Cognitive Mobilization and the Case for Making Parties More Deliberative’ (co-authored with Fabio Wolkenstein), American Political Science Review, 111 : 1, 2017.
  • What’s Wrong with Militant Democracy’ (co-authored with Ian Zuckerman), Political Studies, 65 : 1, 2017.
  • ‘Populism and Technocracy. Opposites or Complements ?’ (co-authored with Chris Bickerton) Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 20 : 2, 2016.
  • ‘The Temporality of Normativity. Hans Kelsen’s Overcoming of the Problem of the Foundation for Legal Validity’, Philosophy and Social Criticism, 42 :1 2016.
  • Vers un Modèle de Démocratie Chrétienne ? Politique et Religion dan le Traité de Lisbonne’, Revue Française de Science Politique, 65 : 4, 2015.
  • ‘Hans Kelsen et le Fondement de la Validité du Droit’, Droit et Société, 92 : 1 2015.
  • ‘La Normativité Démocratique, Entre Vérité et Procédures’, Raisons Politiques, 55, 2015.
  • ‘Democracy Without Parties. Italy After Berlusconi’ (co-authored with Chris Bickerton), Political Quarterly, 85 : 1, 2014.
  • ‘Can Democracy Emancipate Itself from Political Theology? Habermas and Lefort on the Permanence of the Theologico-Political’, Constellations, 17.2, 2011.
  • ‘Kant et Sade: Les Lumières sont-elles Totalitaires?’, Raisons Politiques, 33, 2009.