Carlo Invernizzi Accetti

Associate Professor

Main Affiliation

Political Science


North Academic Center





Accetti Profile Photo

Carlo Invernizzi Accetti


Carlo Invernizzi Accetti is Associate Professor of Political Theory at The City College of New York (CUNY); Associate Researcher at the Center for European Studies of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po); and Visiting Associate Professor of European Politics at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

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).


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


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

Courses Taught

Political Ideas and Issues (PSC 12400)

Democratic Theory (PSC 31134)

Political Ideologies: From Left to Right (PSC 27700)

Political Systems of Europe (PSC 23100)

Politics in Film (PSC 31160)



Techno-Populism: The New Logic of Democratic Politics (co-authored with Chris Bickerton), Oxford University Press, 2021. 
What is Christian Democracy? Politics, Religion and Ideology, Cambridge University Press, 2019.
Relativism and Religion. Why Democratic Societies Do Not Need Moral Absolutes, Columbia University Press, 2015.


Edited Volumes


Hans Kelsen, The Essence and Value of Democracy, Rowman and Littlefield, 2013 (co-edited with Nadia Urbinati).

Ideologies and the European Union (co-edited with Jonathan White), London : Routledge, 2021.


Articles In Peer-Reviewed Journals


‘Repoliticizing Environmentalism, Beyond Populism and Technocracy’, Critical Review, forthcoming.


‘What Is A Consultative Referendum ? The Democratic Legitimacy of Popular Consultations’ (co-authored with Giulia Oskian), Perspectives on Politics, 2020.


‘The European Union as a Christian Democracy. A Heuristic Approach’, Journal of European Public Policy, 27 : 9, 2020.


‘Techno-Populism as a New Party Type : The Five Star Movement and Podemos’ (co-authored with Christopher Bickerton), Contemporary Italian Politics, 10 : 2, 2018.


‘Is the European Union Secular ?’, Comparative European Politics, 16:4, 2018.


‘Catholic Social Doctrine and Human Rights: From Rejection to Endorsement ?’, Humanity, 9:2, 2018.


‘Reconciling Legal Positivism and Human Rights : Hans Kelsen’s Argument from Relativism’, Journal of Human Rights, 17:2, 2018.


‘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.



Contributions To Edited Volumes


‘Christian Democracy in America and Vice Versa: Sturzo, Maritain and the United States’, in Christian Democracy in Exile (W. Kaiser and P. Kosicki eds.), Leuven: Leuven University Press, forthcoming.


‘Militant Democracy as Decisionist Liberalism. Reason and Power in the Work of Karl Loewenstein’ (co-authored with Ian Zuckerman), The Decisionist Imagination (N. Guilhot and D. Bessner eds.), New York: Berghahn, 2019.


‘Populism, Technocracy and the Critique of Party Democracy’  (co-authored with Chris Bickerton), Oxford Handbook on Populism (C. Mudde, P. Taggart and R. Kaltwasser eds.) 2018.


‘Party Democracy, Between Populism and Technocracy’ (co-authored with Christopher Bickerton), Next European Democracy: The Battle to Change Europe, Milano: Feltrinelli, 2016.


‘Religious Truth and Democratic Freedom. A Critique of the Religious Discourse of Anti-Relativism’, Beyond Post-Secularism: Political Religion, Legal Pluralism and Democratic Constitutionalism, (J. Cohen and C. Laborde eds.), Columbia University Press, 2015.


'Claude Lefort: Democracy as the Empty Place of Power', Thinking Radical Democracy: The Return to Politics in Post-War France (M. Breaugh ed.), University of Toronto Press, 2015.


‘Lefort, Claude’, The Encyclopedia of Political Thought, Wiley Blackwell, 2011. 



Review Essays


'Is Truth Safe for Democracy? On Sophia Rosenfeld's Democracy and Truth', Contemporary Political Theory, forthcoming.


‘Between Reason and Will: On Christopher Meckstroth’s The Struggle for Democracy’, European Journal of Political Theory, 16:4, 2017.


‘In Defense of Relativism: A Reply to My Critics’, contribution to the critical exchange on my Relativism and Religion. Why Democratic Societies Do Not Need Moral Absolutes’, Journal of Politics Religion and Ideology, 17 : 2-3, 2016.


‘From Personalism to Liberalism: On Samuel Moyn’s Christian Human Rights’, The Immanent Frame, June 2015. 



Book Reviews


Partisanship and Political Liberalism in Diverse Societies, Matteo Bonotti, in Perspectives on Politics, forthcoming


What is Populism?, Jan-Werner Muller, in Revue Française de Science Politique, 67: 1, 2017.


Religion Without God, Ronald Dworkin, in Revue Française de Science Politique, 65: 4, 2015.


The Disclosure of Politics. Struggles over the Semantics of Secularization, Maria Pìa Lara, in Constellations, 21:4, 2014.


Democratic Statecraft, Jason Stuart Maloy, Revue Française de Science Politique, 64:6, 2014.


The Last Utopia. Human Rights in History, Samuel Moyn, (co-authored with G. Oskian) in Critica Liberale, 185, 2011.


Democracy in What State?  eds. G. Agamben, A. Badiou, D. Bensaid, J-L. Nancy, J. Ranière, S. Zizek, (co-authored with G. Oskian), in Critica Liberale, 184, 2011.