CIRCaP has broad experience participating in and coordinating national and transnational research programs in the field of Elite studies.


Up until 2004, the Centre has participated in an extensive European research project on the political elites –EURélite: European Political Elites in Comparison. The Long Road to Convergence – coordinated by Prof. Maurizio Cotta and Prof. Heinrich Best (University of Jena), aimed at the development of historical databases on the European parliamentary elites and ministries. 
The comparative dataset (DATACUBE) established within the framework of this research project and covering 12 European countries from 1848 to 2000 is in the process of being updated and extended to other countries.

Published books:
  • Best, H., Cotta, M., (Eds.) Parliamentary Representatives in Europe 1848-2000. Legislative Recruitment and careers in Eleven European Countries, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Cotta, M., Best H. (Eds.) Democratic representation in Europe. Diversity, change and convergence, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007.

CIRCaP scholars have conducted and continue to conduct studies about the recruitment of Italian members of Parliament and Italian ministers. The studies initiated by Maurizio Cotta on the parliamentarians of the first republic have been continued and expanded by Luca Verzichelli, producing a rich dataset on Italian political elites.

Since 2008, CIRCaP contributes to a national project on “European integration at an institutional deadlock: changes in representation, decision-making and social citizenship” funded by the Italian Ministry of Education and Research. Within the project, the Siena team is developing a work on “Changing geometries of representation in a complex polity: (national and supra-national) actors and mechanisms of representation in an Integrated Europe”. The research addresses, in particular, the problems tied to the transnationalisation of parties; leadership in European representation and its connections with national representation processes; and national parliaments and their recent attempts to link national and European representation through a greater domestic parliamentary control over the EU decisions.

Published books:
  • L. Verzichelli, Vivere di politica, Bologna, Il Mulino 2011