Re-inventing the Italian Right: Territorial politics, populism and 'post-fascism'

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-08-10
  • Publisher: Routledge

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The former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was the most controversial leading politician in Europe. This is a sharp examination of the Berlusconi phenomenon, explaining the development of his former ruling coalition and how it proved so successful despite heavy domestic and international criticism. Each of the three main partners in the former ruling coalition - Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, the 'post-fascist' National Alliance and the Lega Nord - are examined in detail and the discussion is framed in a comparative perspective, exploring the nature of the Italian Right in the context of right-wing parties and the populist phenomenon elsewhere in other liberal democracies. The authors also discuss whether the Italian Right poses a threat to democracy in Italy. This is an excellent insight into a key European nation.

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsp. xii
Series Editors' Prefacep. xiv
Acknowledgmentsp. xviii
Abbreviationsp. xx
Introductionp. 1
Structure and general approach of bookp. 6
Right and centre right in the post-war party systemp. 10
Christian democracy and the post-war centre rightp. 11
The MSI and the extreme rightp. 13
The political system of the post-war republicp. 16
The decline of the old party systemp. 19
The foundation of the League and the re-discovery of the centre-periphery dimensionp. 21
The political crisis of the 1990s and the collapse of the party systemp. 23
Berlusconi enters the field and the right enters governmentp. 27
The right in opposition - consolidation and radicalisationp. 28
The CdL and the second Berlusconi governmentp. 31
Re-invention and resurrection: 2006-8p. 38
Conclusionp. 41
Populism and the right - an explanatory modelp. 42
Defining the rightp. 43
Dynamics related to the political system, societal factors and institutional developmentsp. 46
Social change and its interpretersp. 47
Institutional developments and emerging new political spacep. 47
Ideologies of the rightp. 48
A framework for understanding the success of the rightp. 50
Populism and anti-politicsp. 51
Methodological notesp. 57
A model to study populismp. 60
Conclusionp. 61
The Northern Leaguep. 63
The League in a changing political environmentp. 64
Elections and electoratesp. 67
Leadershipp. 71
The party organisationp. 75
The party in governmentp. 77
Ideologyp. 80
Frame analysis - the main ideological features of the Leaguep. 85
The politics of the enemy, immigration and ethno-populismp. 89
General racism and xenophobiap. 96
Language in the League's political culture and communication strategyp. 98
Conclusionp. 102
Forza Italiap. 104
The foundation of Forza Italiap. 105
The 1994 electionp. 107
FI in opposition (1995-2001) - consolidation and re-organisationp. 109
The 2001 general election and the return to governmentp. 111
Electoratesp. 112
Berlusconi's populist leadershipp. 114
The business-firm party modelp. 121
A party with institutional and territorial roots?p. 124
Forza Italia in governmentp. 126
Ideologyp. 128
Frame analysisp. 129
Anti-bureaucracy, anti-partyocracy and anti-politicsp. 130
Welfarism, liberalism and protectionismp. 132
Security, traditional family, law and orderp. 133
Europe and the nationp. 134
Immigrationp. 135
Populism and the peoplep. 136
Conclusionp. 137
The MSI-ANp. 141
Historical backgroundp. 142
Elections and electoratesp. 145
Fini's changing leadershipp. 146
The partyp. 149
Ideologyp. 158
Frame analysis: continuity and change in the ideology of the ANp. 163
Conclusionp. 181
Sources of success of the Italian rightp. 183
Reviewing the findings: core and peripheral elements in Italian populismp. 186
Mythologies of the right and their fit with the electoratep. 196
Convergence and divergence in populist frames: three types of rightp. 205
The PdL and the 2008 electionp. 208
Conclusionsp. 213
Conclusion: populism and the rightp. 214
Introductionp. 214
Reassessing the literature on the rightp. 214
Explaining the success and failure of the populist rightp. 221
The role of the mediap. 227
Leadership, charisma and theatrical politicsp. 228
The policies of the right and Italian societyp. 231
Italian politics and European democracyp. 234
Election results 1994-2008p. 239
Frame analysisp. 240
Notesp. 244
Party materialsp. 250
Referencesp. 253
Indexp. 267
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