1st Edition

The Politics of Polarisation Conflictual Competition in Italy, Spain and Greece

Edited By Anna Bosco, Susannah Verney Copyright 2023

    Focusing on Italy, Spain and Greece, this book explores the extent of polarisation, as well as its causes, characteristics and consequences. It investigates varied manifestations of polarised politics including leader polarisation, policy polarisation and affective polarisation as well as providing case studies of polarised elections taking place at multiple levels.

    In recent years, polarisation has been a key feature of South European politics. Deep antagonism has moved party leaders against each other, hindered parliamentary and governmental cooperation, and triggered a cascade effect of harsh divisions among elites and citizens. Beyond the left-right axis, the chapters in this volume highlight multiple dimensions around which parties and voters polarise: the split around sovereign bailouts in Greece, the territorial cleavage in Spain, the divisions around immigration and European integration in Italy. This volume offers essential understanding of the specific features of polarisation in different national contexts and the consequences for political competition and government instability.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of South European Society and Politics.


    Polarisation in Southern Europe: Elites, Party Conflicts and Negative Partisanship 

    Anna Bosco and Susannah Verney 

    PART 1: Aspects of Polarisation 

    1. Leader Polarisation: Conflict and Change in the Italian Political System 

    Fabio Bordignon 

    2. Policy Polarisation in Italy: The Short and Conflictual Life of the ‘Government of Change’ (2018–2019) 

    Nicolò Conti, Andrea Pedrazzani and Federico Russo 

    3. Looking for Affective Polarisation in Spain: PSOE and Podemos from Conflict to Coalition 

    Lluís Orriols and Sandra León 

    4. Polarisation and Electoral Realignment: The Case of the Right-Wing Parties in Spain 

    Juan Rodríguez-Teruel 

    5. Political Polarisation in Greece: The Prespa Agreement, Left/Right Antagonism and the Nationalism/Populism Nexus 

    Athena Skoulariki 

    PART 2: Polarised Competition in the 2019-20 Elections 

    6. The Multiple Spanish Elections of April and May 2019: The Impact of Territorial and Left-right Polarisation 

    Pablo Simón 

    7. Populism Put to the Polarisation Test: The 2019–20 Election Cycle in Italy 

    Filippo Tronconi and Marco Valbruzzi 

    8. Two-partyism Reloaded: Polarisation, Negative Partisanship, and the Return of the Left-right Divide in the Greek Elections of 2019 

    Emmanouil Tsatsanis, Eftichia Teperoglou and Angelos Seriatos 

    9. Two-bloc Logic, Polarisation and Coalition Government: The November 2019 General Election in Spain 

    Pablo Simón 


    Anna Bosco is Associate Professor of Comparative Politics and Politics of the European Union at the University of Florence and Editor of South European Society and Politics and the related Routledge book series.

    Susannah Verney is Associate Professor of European Integration and European Politics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Editor of South European Society and Politics and the related Routledge book series.