Keywords: Italian Intellectuals; Philosophes; Experts; Political History; History of Ideas.
Marco Gervasoni, Mauro Moretti and Roberto Pertici talk with Frédéric Attal about his most recent book, Histoire des intellectuels italiens au XXe siècle. Prophètes, philosophes et experts, an ambitious history of Italian intellectuals in the XX century that situates itself at those crossroads of the history of ideas, political history and social history. The dialogue focuses on several points raised by Attal's book: the emphasis on the organizational side of intellectual life in Italy; the distinction between the intellectual as a "philosopher" and the intellectual as a "technician"; the peculiar use of Bourdieu's category of "champ" in order to understand why in Italy as in France the intellectual essentially has an oppositional attitude toward politics. In the end, it is a discussion about the social development of ideas and the way it affects the political life of a nation.