This book provides a comprehensive interpretation of the multiple manifestations of populism using Italy, the only country amongst consolidated constitutional democracies in which populist political forces have been in government on various occasions since the early 1990s, as the starting point and benchmark.
Populism is a complex, multi-faceted political phenomenon which redefines many of the essential characteristics of democracy; participation, representation, and political conflict. This book considers contemporary versions of populism that pose a real challenge to representative and constitutional democracy. Contributors provide an integrative interpretation of populism and analyse its principal historical, social and politico-legal variables to provide a multi-dimensional reflection on the concept of populism, comprehensive analysis of the populist phenomenon and a theoretical and comparative perspective on the diverse political experiences of populism.
Based on conceptual and interdisciplinary reflections from expert authors, this book will be of great interest to scholars and post-graduate students of cultural studies, European studies, political sociology, political science, comparative politics, political philosophy, and political theory with an interest in a comparative and interdisciplinary theory of populism and its manifestations.
Table of Contents
Introduction Multiple Populisms. Italy as Democracy’s Mirror
Paul Blokker and Manuel Anselmi
Part 1 Which People for What Form of Democracy?
Chapter 1 The Construction of the People
Chapter 2 Neo-Populism and the Subversion of Democratic Quality
Leonardo Morlino and Francesco Raniolo
Chapter 3 Depoliticization, Anti-politics and the Moral People
Fabio De Nardis
Part. 2 Populism and the Transformation of Parties
Chapter 4 Anti-party-ism as a Structural Component of Italian Democracy
Chapter 5 "Particracy": The Pre-Populist Critique of Party Democracy, and Its Implications
Chapter 6 Populist Anti-party Parties
Part. 3 Populism and the Transformation of the Public Sphere
Chapter 7 Technopopulism and Direct Representation
Michele Sorice and Emiliana De Blasio
Chapter 8 Intellectuals and Cultural Populism
Chapter 9 Penal Populism in the Multi-populist Context of Italy
Manuel Anselmi and Stefano Anastasìa
Part. 4 Populism and the Transformation of Politics
Chapter 10 Citizen Democracy. "New Politics" in "New Participation" Models
Chapter 11 The Populist Assault on the Constitution
Chapter 12 Four Italian Populisms
Manuel Anselmi is currently Researcher at Unitelma Sapienza of Rome, as well as Affiliate Researcher at King's College in London and a member of the Centre for Conflict and Participation Studies of LUISS in Rome.
Paul Blokker is Associate Professor in political sociology at the Department of Sociology and Business Law, University of Bologna, Italy. He is also research coordinator at the Institute of Sociological Studies, Charles University Prague, Czechia.
"Contemporary nationalist populism is rich in paradox. Deeply rooted in and protective of individual cultures and histories, its movements share many characteristics across countries. They are highly political, but depend on an anti-political rhetoric. Paul Blokker and Manuel Anselmi’s collection confronts this complexity through the lens of a key case: Italy. Currently governed by two rival populist parties, Italy has a long record of populist movements and ideas. Again, however, as several of these authors clearly show, this is not a question of a national peculiarity, but a strong example of a phenomenon to be found far more widely." - Colin Crouch, Professor Emeritus, University of Warwick, external scientific member, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, Germany.
"This book fills a vacuum in the literature on contemporary populist regimes. These appeared first in Latin America in the mid-XXth Century, and their emergence, as well as the appearance of movements and parties with populist orientations is now reshaping contemporary politics in Europe and the United States. Globalization and the technological revolution are restructuring these countries' social structure and upending their political culture. More and more, the conflict between globalists and nationalists or populists is becoming the central political cleavage in industrial countries. The essays in this volume represent the most comprehensive analysis of the sources, mechanisms and consequences of populism in Italy, the paradigmatic case of the populist shift in consolidated democracies. They show the multiple ways, explicit and latent, in which in which populism in civil society, the parties, and now the government, in this country paradoxically governed by a coalition of a right-wing and a left-wing populist parties, is eroding and re-defining political and cultural institutions. Beyond Italy, their discussion of the impact of populism on the party system, the quality of democracy, and the cultural sphere is highly relevant for the understanding of the populist challenge to liberal democracy in other parts of the world. The question is whether Italy is pointing the way that will be followed by many other societies in the near future. For all these reasons, this book will become a central reference for the study of comparative populism. I give it my strong endorsement." - Carlos H. Waisman, Emeritus Professor, Department of Sociology, University of California, San Diego, USA.
"Populism became a convenient scapegoat explaining liberal flaws. This book proposes a more sophisticated understanding of this phenomenon. Rather than seeing it as a mysterious and poisonous political virus, populism is discussed as a multi-faceted condition, which involves the redefinition of some of the essential characteristics of democracy, such as participation, representation, and political conflict. Populism is a response to the erosion of liberal democracy and to the pathologies of neo-liberal economics. The Italian case shows that this response is legitimate, but probably misguided. Students of democracy in Europe and beyond should read this thought-provoking and timely collection of essays." - Jan Zielonka, Professor of European Politics at the University of Oxford, UK.