profile image for Dr Alvise Sforza Tarabochia

Dr Alvise Sforza Tarabochia

Lecturer in Italian


Office: Rutherford W4W.3
Office hours: Wednesday 10-11 and Thursday 15.30-16.30



After graduating cum laude in Philosophy at the Università degli Studi di Trieste, I moved to Kent, where I completed (2011) my PhD in Italian Studies, defending a thesis on the thought of the psychiatrist Franco Basaglia. I have been appointed Lecturer in Italian at Kent in the same academic year. I now research in the field of Italian studies, medical humanities, contemporary continental philosophy and psychoanalysis.

I co-founded the peer reviewed open access journal Skepsi of whose editorial board I am still a honorary member. I am currently editor of the European Journal of Psychoanalysis, for which I had previously worked as translator and copy editor.

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

    Sforza Tarabochia, Alvise (2013) Psychiatry, Subjectivity, Community. Franco Basaglia and Biopolitics. Italian Modernities, 15. Peter Lang, Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 216 pp. ISBN 978-3-0343-0893-9.


    Law 180, which abolished mental asylums in Italy, was passed in 1978. It came to be known as the ‘Basaglia Law’, after the physician whose work revolutionised psychiatry in Italy and worldwide. Franco Basaglia (1924-1980) battled to overturn an obsolete but prevalent conception of psychiatry, rooted in the asylum, where allegedly dangerous madmen were incarcerated rather than cured. Following Law 180, the asylum system was indeed dismantled in Italy, to be replaced by community centres. This radical transformation coincided with the emergence of ‘biopolitics’, a direct involvement of political power with the biological lives of the subjects, by means of homogenising disciplines such as the statistical analysis of the population. Examining both his practice and his theory of psychiatry, this book argues that Franco Basaglia foresaw this change in the paradigm of power, and that it is possible to trace its embryonic conception in his writings. Combining history of ideas, social and cultural history, and philosophical analysis, the book contextualises Basaglia’s works within the intense current debate on biopolitics. In doing so, it shows not only how his theory of the subject and his criticism of psychiatry are still as powerful and relevant now as they were in the 1970s, but also how Basaglia’s philosophy makes an integral contribution to the burgeoning field of contemporary Italian theory.


    Sforza Tarabochia, Alvise (2013) The Aphanisis of the Pirandellian subject. Italian Studies, 68 (1). pp. 123-137. ISSN 0075-1634.


    Although Pirandello’s oeuvre is very much open to a psychoanalytical reading, to date few have studied it in terms of Lacanian psychoanalysis. This article analyses Pirandello’s Enrico IV and Uno, nessuno e centomila in the light of Lacan’s theory of the subject. It demonstrates how both Pirandello’s and Lacan’s notions of subject rely on a paradoxical Aphanisis (disappearance) of subjectivity itself: according to both authors there is no subjectivity outside of otherness, or outside of the maschere created by the Other through which the subject is alienated.

    Sforza Tarabochia, Alvise (2011) Affirmative Biopolitics and Human Nature in Franco Basaglia's thought. Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, 16 (3). pp. 85-99. ISSN 0969-725X.

    Sforza Tarabochia, Alvise (2009) La questione della cura fra psicoanalisi e consulenza filosofica. Esercizi Filosofici, 4 (1). pp. 86-92. ISSN 1970-0164.

    Sforza Tarabochia, Alvise (2008) Grafting and De-Grafting Mental Illness: the Identity of Madness. Skepsi, 1 (1). pp. 67-74. ISSN 1758-2679.


    I wish to begin my paper with a statement by Foucault, how considers, in concluding his Histoire de la folie, madness as a graft onto the world of reason. The social implications of this thesis cross all of his work: as a plant grafted onto another plant not only produces a new species but also depends on the host for nutrition, so happens with madness. There is no autonomous space for something like an identity of madness in the contemporary culture. The social body defines its reason setting against an excluded background and affirming itself in a negative fashion. This social graft has an important echo in each individual be it sane or insane. The age of the asylum opened the gates to the so called positivist psychiatry. In turn, this current could be said to graft onto man’s nature mental illness, rendering him corrupt and dangerous in his very essence. In order to overcome this discriminating reductionist naturalism, phenomenological psychiatry introduces a new relationship between the physician and the patient, modelled on the idea that both their subjectivities have to be called into question. This is achieved primarily through and epoché: the psychiatrist has to bracket all his illusions of objectivity, as well as any organicist categories, in order to approach a fellow human being. This perspective is adopted and yet surpassed by Franco Basaglia, the psychiatrist who reformed Italian psychiatric health care. Not only should the psychiatrist bracket his assumptions in order to avoid treating madness as a graft onto the nature of man, but also he has to fight the asylum, that physical and metaphorical space from which madness could live only grafted, according to Foucault, onto the world of reason. Therefore, if there is something like an identity of madness, from these three perspectives we understand that it has to be sought to a paradoxical return: a return from a state in which it is grafted; a return to a state in which it has never been.

Book Sections
Edited Books

    Sforza Tarabochia, Alvise (2013) Italian Neorealist Cinema. Review of: Italian Neorealist Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, 2012) by Haaland, Torunn. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 33 (2). pp. 343-346.

Total publications in KAR: 8 [See all in KAR]




  • C. Sini, ‘Image and Imagination in Wittgenstein and Freud’, in European Journal of Psychoanalysis, forthcoming.
  • G. Goretti Regazzoni, ‘On Procreating Today’, in International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 93(5), 2012: 1153–1173.
  • D. Tarizzo, ‘Biopolitics and the Ideology of “Mental Health”’, Filozofski vestnik, XXXII(2), 2011: 135–149.
  • M. Bonazzi, ‘Lacan’s Onto-graphy’, in European Journal of Psychoanalysis, 32, 2012.
  • D. Tarizzo, ‘Untamed Ontology’, in Angelaki, 16(3) 2011: 53–61.
  • E. Schachter, ‘Gli Ebrei d’Italia dal 1848 al 1915: fra tradizione e trasformazione’, in Pagine Ebraiche, 4, April 2011: 6–7.
  • R. Madera, ‘C.G. Jung as a Forerunner of a Philosophy for the Soul’, in European Journal of Psychoanalysis, 29, 2009: 79–106.
  • C. Cimino, ‘The Gaze on the Real. Marco Bechis’ Political Poetics’, in European Journal of Psychoanalysis, 28, 2009: 35–44.
  • V.A., ‘Introduction to the New Edition’, in European Journal of Psychoanalysis, 26/27, 2008: 7–10.

Other Publications

  • Un Carpe Diem per il Duemila. In “L’Altrapagina”, Jun. 2007.
  • Terra, Uomo, Legge, Storia: Invito all’Eredità Culturale degli Aborigeni Australiani, In “L’Altra- pagina”, Jan. 2007
  • De Senectute, In “L’Altrapagina”, Nov. 2006.
  • La Cura di Sé e la Cura dell’Altro, In “L’Altrapagina”, Oct. 2006
  • Il Problema dell’Altro dallo Scontro al Dialogo fra Culture. In “L’Altrapagina”, Sept. 2006.

Conference Papers

  • Il soggetto nella 'Italian Theory' fra biopolitica e psicoanalisi (Psychoanalysis and Political Theory. International Conference, Università di Salerno, 5-7 June 2013)
  • Communitas, Immunitas, and the Empty Subject. Subjectivity between Biopolitics and Psychoanalysis (Italian Biopolitical Theory: Immanenge and Subjectivity. International Conference, Ljubljana, 24-25 May 2013)
  • Radicalità del pensiero di Franco Basaglia in regime di biopolitica (CEDEP Séminaire résidentiel, Paris, 18-20 May 2013)
  • (with Marco Piasentier) The Unborn and the Undead: Exclusive Inclusion in The Walking Dead Idea of Community. (Skepsi Fifth International Conference, University of Kent, 26 May 2012)
  • Mental Illness between Brackets: Foucauldian Ascendancy on the Italian Psychiatric Reform. (Transfaculty Foucault Seminar, Kent Law School, University of Kent, 28 February 2012).
  • The Lacking Subject and the Subject of Lack: Basaglia, Lacan, Foucault. (Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series, University of Kent, 12 December 2011).
  • (with Wissia Fiorucci) The aphanisis of the Pirandellian Subject. (Graduate Seminars, University of Kent, 10 April 2011).
  • Opening the Doors: From the Asylum into the Community. Invited Speaker (Friends of Italian at Kent, Canterbury, 18 May 2009).
  • Demarginalising Madness: Marco Cavallo and the Italian Psychiatric Reform. (‘De-marginalising the Marginal Research Forum’, University College Dublin, 1 April 2009).
  • ‘Il Filosofo Basaglia’: a Philosophical Reading of the Italian Psychiatric Reform. (Graduate Conference in Italian Studies, University College Cork, 20 February 2009).
  • Testimony in Franco Basaglia’s Practice. (Cultural Memory International Conference, University of Kent, 10 September 2008).
  • ‘Legge Basaglia’ Thirty Years Later: the Road to Psychiatric Health Care Reform in Its Symbol. (Society for Italian Studies Postgraduate Colloquium, University of Reading, 6 June 2008).
  • Grafting and De-Grafting Mental Illness: the Identity of Madness. (Graft and Transplant, Identities in Question, Skepsi Graduate Conference, University of Kent, 24 May 2008).
  • When the Outside Met the Inside: Marco Cavallo as a Symbol of Demarginalisation in Italian Psychiatry. (Chiasmi Harvard-Brown Postgraduate Conference, Brown University, USA, 15 March 2008).
  • La questione della cura fra psicoanalisi e consulenza filosofica. Invited speaker. (Università degli Studi di Trieste, Dipartimento di Filosofia, Ciclo di seminari La cura di sé, 23 March 2007).
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After completing a major research project, resulting in the publication of the monograph on Franco Basaglia, I have recently embarked on a long term project on the photographic visualisation of the politics of life, aimed at the popularisation of the academic debate on biopolitics. I also research in the emerging field of the 'Italian theory', with particular focus on the relationship between biopolitical criticism and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Among my primary research interests are:

  • Documentary photography
  • The notion of subjectivity in Italian Theory, biopolitics and psychoanalysis
  • Psychiatry, the implications of the DSM-5 and the role of the neurosciences in shaping the notion of subjectivity
  • Contemporary Italian cinema and episodic TV shows
  • Game studies and the new media
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Italian, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 827159 or email Italian

Last Updated: 20/12/2013