Sunday, 10 April 2022

2022 PSA Annual Conference (University of York, 11-13 April 2022)

 The Italian Politics Specialist Group is hosting five panels and events at the 2022 Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association. The details of each event are listed below (British time).

You are welcome to join the conference in person or online by registering here: https://www.psa.ac.uk/events/psa22-annual-conference.

 

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Time: Monday 11 April, 12:30-13:30 BST

Venue: SLB102 and online (https://tinyurl.com/5emepw73)

Agenda

1.     FUNDING (2021 END OF YEAR REPORT)

2.     LIAISON OFFICERS’ REPORTING

             SISP/Italy

             International

             PSA/UK

             APSA/CONGRIPS

3.    MEMBERSHIP

4.     WEBSITE AND TWITTER

5.     FUTURE ACTIVITIES

             Organisation of panels at PSA Annual Conference 2023

             Organisation of one-day Conference 2022 or 2023?

             Other future activities

6.    AOB

7.     DATE OF NEXT MEETING

 

PANEL “PARTISAN NARRATIVES AND PARTY COMPETITION IN TIMES OF CRISIS”

Time: Tuesday 12 April, 9:30-11:00 BST

Venue: SLB107 and online (https://tinyurl.com/582d5nfs)

The panel examines how recent crises and rising economic and social inequalities have affected political narratives and party competition in Italy with reference to both left and right-wing parties. 

Chair: Prof. Mattia Zulianello (University of Trieste)

Discussant: Prof. Davide Vampa (Aston University)

PAPER 1 – AGAINST IMMIGRATION, IN FAVOUR OF DEMOCRACY: NATIVISM AND DEMOCRACY IN THE ITALIAN POPULIST RADICAL RIGHT’S DISCOURSE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Marianna Griffini (King’s College London)

At the 2 June anniversary celebration of the foundation of the Italian Republic, Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni, leaders, respectively, of the Lega and of Fratelli d’Italia (FdI), staged a street march in Rome sporting Italian-flag-patterned masks. They meant to protest against Giuseppe Conte’s, the Italian Prime Minister, management of the Covid-19 pandemic. In doing so, Lega and FdI portrayed themselves as the saviours of Italy’s people and Italy’s democracy. The relationship between populism and democracy is fraught with tensions. On one hand, the populist framing of democracy in an exclusionary light, casting off certain groups such as immigrants, challenges the deep-seated link between liberal democracy, popular sovereignty, and minority rights (Finchelstein, Urbinati 2018). On the other hand, the populist framing of themselves as saving the will of the people suggests the strategic deployment of discourses around democracy to cover otherwise undemocratic discourse (Halikiopoulou, Vasilopoulou, Mock 2013). While vast attention has been cast on the paradoxes inherent to the relationship between populism and democracy (see, for instance, Moffitt 2020), the Covid-19 pandemic that has been shaking Italian politics poses a conundrum worth examining: in which ways has a stance against immigration been linked to a stance pro-democracy?  The analysis of this case study can yield important insights regarding the combination of nativist and democratic discourse in populist parties across Europe at a time when the continent had to face a new Other against which to fight, i.e. the Covid-19 pandemic. This paper uses interviews with 10 Lega and FdI representatives, and the analysis of the parties’ Faceboook (FB) posts on immigration in the period between March 2021 and May 2021. Qualitative discourse analysis is deployed, paying special attention to framings of immigrants and of democracy. FB is widely used by Lega and FdI and reaches out to a wider share of potential voters than Twitter. Interviews are used to explore more in-depth themes emerged through the FB posts. The tentative argument is that in nativist discourse, exclusionary traits were preserved but shrouded in democratic discourse, evident in the Lega’s and FdI’s contrasting the government’s apparent neglect of immigration with its apparent undemocratic management of the pandemic.

PAPER 2 – LOST IN ECONOMIC CRISIS: WELFARE MODELS AND LEFT-WING PARTIES, BETWEEN RESILIENCE AND CRISIS.

Sorina Soare, Matteo Boldrini, Mattia Collini (University of Florence)

Traditional left-wing parties have been facing a complex crisis across Europe, both in terms of electoral results or capacity to mobilise members and/or sympathisers, with traditional left-wing parties often registering relevant losses. On the other hand, we can also observe the presence of four main traditional welfare models across Europe (Mediterranean, Continental, Liberal, post-communist), which responded differently to the economic crisis and policy changes.  In this context, we aim to provide a comparative analysis of the relevance of the different welfare models on the electoral results of left-wing and radical-left parties in 27 EU countries, plus Norway, Switzerland and the UK. We take into account their electoral results at the lower chamber between the first election prior to the European economic crisis (2009) and the most recent legislative elections.  Our research aims to look at the correlation between welfare models, changes in the welfare systems and electoral results for parties on the left of the political spectrum. In other words, we aim to assess if changes in welfare policies, considered with regard to social expenditures, can be a relevant variable for explaining electoral shifts from left-wing parties to other parties on the left (radical-left parties) or contenders on the right that endorse forms of welfare chauvinism (radical-right populist parties). Our analysis is based on largely quantitative research examining electoral data and macroeconomic variables, plus data on political orientation of parties (GALTAN positions and economic left-right) from the CHES.

PAPER 3 – FROM THE PANDEMICS TO THE REGIONAL ELECTIONS. ONE PARTY, TWO APPROACHES: THE LEAGUE AND THE NORTHERN LEAGUE

Marco Almagisti & Matteo Zanellato (Univesity of Padova)

In recent years, the Matteo Salvini’s League is turning into a TAN party. However, the first signs of a division between the National League and the traditional political culture of this party seem to be manifesting precisely from the north-east, where the League had taken its first steps thirty years ago. After the Covid-19 pandemic, the League regional governors have maintained an attitude which is more similar to that of national governments than to the positions of their leader Matteo Salvini. The research question is: has the transformation of the League into a national party happened in  north also or are the legacies of Northern League still decisive for the explanation of the different attitudes of the two sides? The hypothesis of this article is that in Northern Italy the League has not completely transformed into the national and nationalist party as the secretary Matteo Salvini designed it, due to its primary political culture. This approach is also promoted in the Parliament by the Minister of Economic Development Giancarlo Giorgetti. The research methodology will be based on historical political Science and the research technique will be discourse analysis of the main League leaders in the last ten years aiming to identify the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the increasing divide between the two political currents. The result of our analysis is that the transformation of the League into a national party has been hindered by the regional leadership and by the League ministers from the North.

PAPER 4 - POPULISM 2020: ITALY (LOMBARDY), USA, BRAZIL AND INDIA FACING COVID-19

Prof Fabrizio Tonello (University of Padova)

This paper analyzes the behavior of populist governments surfing the first months of the pandemic. In the case of Italy, we looked at Lombardy, where the local government is firmly controlled by the League, a populist party. We considered four areas: hostility toward science, authoritarian impulses and decisions, violent language, and finally institutional chaos. Our hypothesis is that this experience will show important common characters of the four political populist actors examined. Moreover, this can help the theoretical research about neopopulism itself.

 

ROUNDTABLE “ITALY AFTER THE STORM”

Time: Tuesday 12 April, 12:30-13:30 BST

Venue: SLB107 or online (https://tinyurl.com/582d5nfs)

This round table, organised by the Italian Politics Specialist Group, will examine Italy's political, societal and institutional change set against the recent Covid-19 pandemic. It will focus especially on two recent volumes which will be discussed with the authors: 'Populism in Europe: Lessons from Umberto Bossi's Northern League' (by Daniele Albertazzi and Davide Vampa) and 'Politics in Italy 2022' (by Giliberto Capano and Giulia Sandri). Has the pandemic eroded populism? Have Italian parties and institutions, at their multiple levels, come out stronger from the crisis? Ultimately, is Italy building back better?

Chair: Prof Arianna Giovannini (De Montfort University)

Discussants: Prof Laura Polverari (University of Padova) & Prof Mattia Zulianello (University of Trieste)

Speakers:

Prof Daniele Albertazzi, University of Surrey

Prof Giliberto Capano, University of Bologna

Prof Giulia Sandri, Université catholique de Lille

Prof Davide Vampa, Aston University

 

PANEL “INSTITUTIONAL AND POLICY CHANGE UNDER CRISIS CONDITIONS. ITALY IN A COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE”

Time: Tuesday 12 April, 13:30-15:00 BST

Venue: SLB107 and online (https://tinyurl.com/582d5nfs)

This panel explores the institutional, policy and political changes linked to the recent Covid-19 pandemic, namely how the crisis has affected Presidents’, governments’, regions’ and citizens’ strategies and policies, as well as perceptions of the EU. All papers in this panel are cross-country.

Chair: Prof. Laura Polverari (University of Padova)

Discussant: Prof. Sorina Soare (University of Firenze)

PAPER 1 – GOING PUBLIC STRATEGIES OF FORMALLY CONSTRAINED PRESIDENTS IN EUROPE

Selena Grimaldi (University of Padova)

Constrained presidents considerably use going-public strategies among their possible patterns of behaviour. This occurs both because going public is less likely to be negotiated or controlled by other actors -such as the PM and or the Parliament- since it is a typical informal tool, and because during the digital revolution the possibility to go public has increased exponentially for all public figures. In addition, external crises tend to create a “rally round the flag” effect causing short-term boosts in presidential popularity. During such exceptional times, including the COVID pandemic, presidents as heads of state are more likely to utilize going public strategies as well as become more involved in national policy-making. However, presidential going public is under-investigated in Europe. This paper specifically addresses this gap in literature by focusing on the going-public tactics of Western European presidents in office since the ‘90s. This is a comparative research involving two semi-presidential and (Austria and Finland) two parliamentary regimes (Germany and Italy). More precisely, 101 New Year’ speeches are analysed by using qualitative content analysis. The main findings reinforce the argument according to which going public is used in areas where presidents are most constitutionally constrained: thus, in the policy sphere and specifically in domestic issues. In fact, empirical evidence confirms that policy issues prevail on polity issues and that domestic issues are the most developed in presidential speeches.

PAPER 2 – RESILIENCE, A NEW PARADIGM OF EU’S FOREIGN POLICY? A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ROMANIAN AND ITALIAN NATIONAL RECOVERY AND RESILIENCE PLANS

Octavia Moise (SNSPA Bucharest)

Constrained presidents considerably use going-public strategies among their possible patterns of behaviour. This occurs both because going public is less likely to be negotiated or controlled by other actors -such as the PM and or the Parliament- since it is a typical informal tool, and because during the digital revolution the possibility to go public has increased exponentially for all public figures. In addition, external crises tend to create a “rally round the flag” effect causing short-term boosts in presidential popularity. During such exceptional times, including the COVID pandemic, presidents as heads of state are more likely to utilize going public strategies as well as become more involved in national policy-making. However, presidential going public is under-investigated in Europe. This paper specifically addresses this gap in literature by focusing on the going-public tactics of Western European presidents in office since the ‘90s. This is a comparative research involving two semi-presidential and (Austria and Finland) two parliamentary regimes (Germany and Italy). More precisely, 101 New Year’ speeches are analysed by using qualitative content analysis. The main findings reinforce the argument according to which going public is used in areas where presidents are most constitutionally constrained: thus, in the policy sphere and specifically in domestic issues. In fact, empirical evidence confirms that policy issues prevail on polity issues and that domestic issues are the most developed in presidential speeches.

PAPER 3 – THE rEscUer? NEW PATHS IN THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE EU

Antonella Seddone & Giuliano Bobba (University of Torino)

The COVID19 emergency has had sudden and very dramatic consequences on societies at large. Moreover, the implications of the pandemic emergency have not been confined to the health field alone, but they also involve - and will involve in the years to come - the economic field with consequences at the political level too (Devine 2020). The literature agrees that in times of crisis a round-the-flag rally effect is triggered: citizens, in fact, appear more keen to support their own governments regardless their political views. While numerous studies have addressed the effects of the pandemic on vertical trust levels (e.g., Bol et al. 2020; Kritzinger et al. 2021), issues related to the European Union are so far less explored (Basile et al 2021; Bobba & Seddone 2020). In this paper, by relying to panel survey data on the Italian case study, we investigate the determinants of citizens’ shift in evaluations about the European Union. According to our data, nearly one-fourth of the respondents has changed the evaluation on the EU and more specifically about one fifth of the whole representative sample reports to have improved the opinion about the EU membership. The paper clarifies whether and to what extent the following factors: party cueing, economic outlook and pandemic risk have driven the positive shift in the EU opinion.

PAPER 4 – FROM MULTI-LEVEL GOVERNANCE TO MULTI-LEVEL CRISIS: FRAMING THE STUDY OF SUB-NATIONAL REGIONS IN AN ERA OF POLITICAL TURMOIL

Davide Vampa (Aston University)

Multiple crises of different nature have occurred since the late 2000s. While their effects on national democratic systems have been thoroughly investigated, some questions about their territorial implications remain open. By drawing on the existing literature and referring to the Italian case and other Western European countries, this paper seeks to provide a framework for the study of changing regional politics and public policy in a context of growing political instability. Sub-national regional actors (parties and movements) have had to adapt and respond to evolving national and transnational political environments. In turn, this may have significantly altered political equilibria and dynamics within regional party systems, with consequent effects on regional governments and the policies they promote and implement. However, the framework proposed here rejects unidirectional theoretical and empirical approaches, which move vertically and rigidly from the national to the sub-national arena. A comprehensive analysis should not just consider regional reactions and adjustments to what happens at higher levels of government. It should also account for the existence of feedback effects and circularity. To be sure, national political crises may lead to changes in regional politics, regional government and regional-central relations, which, ultimately, produce a shift in sub-national policy making. Yet new regional and territorial policy paradigms emerging from this process may also have an “upward effect” and may exacerbate or stabilise national political crises. The result could be either a spiral of instability – threatening the territorial integrity of a country – or the emergence and consolidation of a new territorial settlement.

PAPER 5 - SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEES, GOVERNMENT AND EMERGENCY. SOME INSIGHTS DRAWN FROM THE MANAGEMENT OF THE COVID EMERGENCY IN ITALY

Giuseppe Ieraci (Università di Trieste)

The role of expertise in the decision making process has been traditionally linked to the relevance of contextual knowledge for the decision. We can observe two phenomena related to the role of experts in politics, namely the externalization of policy advice and its politicization. In the case of the action of the technical committees in the management of the Covid-19 emergency in Italy, the effect of outsourcing the expertise, compared to the traditional administrative circuit, was evident, as shown by the growing influence of professionals from the medical environment and by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità on the institutional decision-making bodies. Politicization, in turn, derives from the possibility that the bearers of technical-scientific knowledge, while carrying out their role as advisers, take sides more or less consciously in policy-making in a partisan way. To investigate these phenomena, the most direct tool is the analysis of decision-making processes in the network, or policy arena, which includes the government, ministries and technical-scientific committees (as an element of externality of the decision). The Italian case  is pointed out to enlighten this new circuit of the decision-making in contemporary democracy, which by-passes the traditional representative and parliamentary circuit.

 

ROUNDTABLE ON THE BOOK: 'THE STRAINS OF BREXIT: UK POLITICS AND THE RESILIENCE OF THE WESTMINSTER MODEL'' BY G. BALDINI, E. BRESSANELLI AND E. MASSETTI

Time: Wednesday 13 April, 12:30-13:30 BST

Venue: PL001 or online (https://tinyurl.com/e5v5zh7e)

This round table, organised by the Italian Politics Specialist Group, will discuss a forthcoming book by Gianfranco Baldini, Edoardo Bressanelli and Emanuele Massetti 'The Strains of Brexit: UK Politics and the Resilience of the Westminster Model'. The volume adopts the conceptual reference of the “Westminster model”, as it was proposed by Arend Lijphart and applied to the UK case by Matthew Flinders. The book rests on substantive empirical research, including several types of primary sources – electoral data, parliamentary and government documents, rulings of the Supreme Court, newspaper articles, policy papers, party manifestos, and more than seventy interviews with experts, politicians and policymakers conducted between December 2018 and October 2019 in London, Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh. The analysis focuses on three dimensions of the political system in which Brexit has caused or exacerbated evident strains: electoral dynamics and the party system; executive-legislative relations; and centre-periphery relations. The findings point to the emergence of a clear and common tendency across these three dimensions: the Brexit process has not only brought to a halt most of the institutional reforms that had been undertaken or discussed in the previous twenty-five years, but it has also put them under attack, in a view to weaken or undo some of them. Therefore, during the Brexit years, the UK political system has moved in the direction of a (partial) return towards the “Westminster model”. This direction of change has met great resistance from peripheral or minor political forces, as well as a more ambiguous resistance from the main party of opposition (Labour). The round table will discuss the nuances and contradictions of political and institutional change during the Brexit years across the three dimensions, besides speculating on the solidity of the emerged trend towards a return to Westminster and viability/feasibility of alternative projects.

Chair: Prof Daniele Albertazzi (University of Surrey)

Discussants: Prof Arianna Giovannini (De Montfort University), Prof. Matthew Flinders (University of Sheffield) & Prof Sofia Vasilopoulou (University of York)

Speakers:

Prof Gianfranco Baldini (University of Bologna)

Prof Edoardo Bressanelli (Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies)

Prof Emanuele Massetti (University of Trento)

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Book launch: Populism in Europe - Lessons from Umberto Bossi's Northern League

We are happy to announce the publication of a new book on the Northern League by two long-standing PSA-IPSG members:

Daniele Albertazzi and Davide Vampa (2021). Populism in Europe: Lessons from Umberto Bossi's Northern League. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

The book offers a detailed and systematic analysis of the ideology, electoral and governmental performances, organisational model, type of leadership and member activism of the Northern League under its founder, Umberto Bossi (1991-2012). Based on a wealth of original research, the book identifies the Northern League’s consistent and coherent ideology, its strong leadership and its ability to create communities of loyal partisan activists as key ingredients of its success. Through their in-depth analysis, Albertazzi and Vampa show that the League has much to teach us about how populists can achieve durability and rootedness and how parties of all kinds can still benefit from a committed and dedicated membership today.

Full details on how to order the book can be found here.

A launch event for the book is being co-organised by the University of Surrey, Aston University, PSA Italian Politics Specialist Group and facilitated by the ESRC funded Populism in Action project led by Pro. Daniele Albertazzi and Dr. Stijn van Kessel. Register for the event running 16:00-17:30 (UK time) on 20th October 2021. 

Monday, 20 September 2021

CfP - PSA22 Annual Conference (deadline 4 October 2021)

Political Studies Association Annual International Conference 2022
University of York – 11-13 April 2022 - #PSA2022
Call for papers and panels of the Italian Politics Specialist Group - IPSG

Within the broader theme of ‘Politics at the margins’, the Italian Politics Specialist Group, in collaboration with the Italian Political Science Association’s Standing Groups on ‘Regional and Local Policies’ and ‘Political Science and Public Policies’, invites papers and panels that deal with the following topics and questions:

The economic and social effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – What has been the impact of Covid-19 on Italian polity and economic fabric? To what extent has this impact been differentiated territorially and among different groups of individuals? Which factors have played a role, e.g. pre-existing levels of GDP, social capital, labour market structure, institutional quality and administrative capacity, etc.?

Public policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic – What policies have been put in place to tackle the effects of the pandemic – economic, social, institutional - at different levels, for example to support firms and the young, to tackle poverty and the furthering of territorial disparities, to promote digitalisation and a reform of public administrations, etc.? What kind of bottlenecks might hamper the effectiveness of these policies?

The political consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic – What has been the impact of the pandemic on the Italian party system, e.g. coalition dynamics, polarisation, fragmentation? How have populist and/or non-populist actors framed their pandemic narratives? To what extent the Covid-19 has impacted the fortunes of political parties, and what explains the different trends? What is the role of experts and technocracy in today’s party politics?

Papers and panels are invited that address with these topics from both theoretical and empirical perspectives, including exploratory papers that utilise new research methods and techniques. Comparative panels and papers, that couch the Italian case within a comparative perspective, are particularly encouraged.

The PSA Italian Politics Specialist Group is strongly committed to equality and to the support of early career researchers. A balanced gender representation will be ensured in all panels, as well as a ring-fencing of places for ECRs and scholars from underrepresented groups.

Submitting through our Specialist Group provides with several benefits including a better within-panel coherence and a high quality of accepted submissions thanks to a thorough and constructive review process.

Individual papers as well as full panel proposals will be accepted to feature within the section. Proponents should send by October 4th 2021 the following to the Group’s co-convenors Laura Polverari (laura.polverari@unipd.it) and Mattia Zulianello (mattia.zulianello@dispes.units.it):

- For papers: Title; author(s) name(s) and institutional affiliation(s); 250 words abstract (max);
- For panels: 
  • Panel title, chair and discussant(s), and brief description (200 words max) 
  • Title, author(s) name(s), institutional affiliation(s) and abstract (250 words) of each paper included in the panel. 

For further information, contact: laura.polverari@unipd.it and/or mattia.zulianello@dispes.units.it.