Dizionario di Politica

Authors: Bobbio, Matteucci, Pasquino
Summary: The entry defines the term by distinguishing between traditional and fascist corporatism. Corporatism is a doctrine that envisions, and advocates, the organization of a community on the basis of representative professional associations (broadly termed corporations). It sees, in the solidarity of concrete interests, a means to neutralize and limit economic, social, and political conflicts.
The entry identifies the industrial revolution as both the progenitor and destroyer of traditional corporatism. The industrial revolution brought with it new forms of association, characterized by conflict among interests and classes (trade-unionism), not the conciliation of interests. Traditional corporatism arose as a protest against the capitalist firm and more generally, against the industrial revolution and its concomitant political and economic transformations. The main supporters of traditional corporatism were Catholic scholars and politicians, who modeled their thinking on medieval communal structures-semi-sovereign autonomy of different professions, hierarchical relations, and hereditary transfer within professions. Politically, thus, corporatism stands as an alternative to the representative democratic model associated with modern capitalism.
Fascist corporatism differentiated itself from this traditional corporatism in its elevation of the state as the highest object of loyalty. Fascist corporatism sees the various corporations comprising society as, in the final analysis, organs of the state.