Wednesday, 27 December 2017

A conversation on Populism (Fahrenheit, Rai Radio 3)

Daniele Albertazzi discusses populism on Rai Radio 3 with Felice Cimatti and Marco Revelli. Listen to the recording here (in Italian).

Friday, 27 October 2017

IPSG Workshop: "Actions and Reactions: On the dynamics of competition between populist challengers and mainstream parties in Europe today"

The Italian Politics Specialist Group is pleased to announce the following workshop:

Actions and Reactions:
On the dynamics of competition between populist challengers and mainstream parties in Europe today

22-23 January 2018
University of Birmingham
Room: 429, fourth floor, Muirhead Tower

A Workshop organised by the PSA’s Italian Politics Specialist Group (IPSG),
the “Parties, Voters and Elections Research Group” of the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham, and the Department of Politics and International Relations at Aston University.

REGISTRATION: the workshop is free, but available places are limited. Those wishing to attend should contact Prof. James L. Newell ( by 13 November 2017.

Day 1: 22 January

12:30-1:30pm – Welcome Lunch
1:30-3:15pm – SESSION 1
Chair and discussant: Dr Daniele Albertazzi (University of Birmingham; IPSG co-convenor)
Emilie van Haute (Université libre de Bruxelles): Responses of mainstream parties to populist radical right
With the recent surge in support for far-right populist parties, xenophobia and nativism have suddenly become more mainstream across Europe. The far-right’s success has put fundamental civil and political liberties under threat at home, especially for visible minorities, and raised the question of how more mainstream parties should react to these extremists. Should they refuse to cooperate with the far-right and seek to isolate them from power? Or, should they accept them as legitimate democratic actors and include them in the political process? This study examines this question, focusing in particular on how isolation or inclusion strategies matter for the far-right’s support. Drawing on the four waves of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems data set and examining both party thermometer ratings and vote choice over time, we find that strategy matters.

Maurits Meijers and Andrej Zaslove (Radboud University): Creating a reliable and valid measurement of political parties' populism
The conceptual debate on the analytical concept of populism has produced a great number of definitions. The classification of populist or non-populist parties often depends on the specific definition one chooses. With an expert survey, we attempt to measure the constitutive ideological and representative traits of parties as specified by the dominant definitions of populism in the literature. Relying on a high number of party-based populism experts per country, this expert survey attempts to harness a conceptual consensus that is essential for the study of populism. Moreover, the results of the expert survey will allow us to compare the empirical repercussions of different definitions of populism. For instance, do ideology-based or style-based definitions of populism yield a different selection of populist parties? Moreover, factor analysis techniques will allow us to devise a minimalist definition of populism on the basis of quantitative indicators. The paper will assess the preliminary results of a pilot study conducted in the Netherlands by mapping the different empirical configurations produced by the different common definitions of populism.

3:15-3:45pm – Coffee Break

3:45-5:30pm – SESSION 2
Chair and discussant: Prof. James L. Newell (University of Salford; IPSG Chair)
Gilles Ivaldi (University of Nice): Crowding the market: the dynamics of populist and mainstream competition in the 2017 French presidential elections
The 2017 French presidential elections have seen a considerable rise in support for populist actors at the periphery of the party system, challenging the dominance of the more established parties of the mainstream. The electoral success of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Insoumise (LFI) has expanded the political space for populist politics to the left of the political spectrum, competing with Marine Le Pen’s Front national (FN) to the right. Meanwhile, the emergence of Emmanuel Macron as a politically viable centrist alternative has dislodged further the traditional bipolar dynamics of competition in French politics, resulting in a significant reshaping of the party system. Based on a national survey of French voters conducted in 2017, this paper will examine the dynamics of electoral support for populist candidates in the presidential election, looking at commonalities and differences between the left and right-wing manifestations of the populist phenomenon, and to which extent these differed from the mainstream. In doing so, the paper will position itself in the current comparative literature on populism, addressing in particular how populism interacts with other dimensions of competition, most notably globalization and European integration which were paramount in the 2017 elections in France.

Jim Shields (Aston University): Populism at the Polls: France's Presidential and Parliamentary Elections
The French presidential election of 2017 was both a victory and a defeat for Marine Le Pen’s far-right populist campaign ‘Au nom du peuple’. The victory was the Front National leader’s second-place finish among 11 presidential candidates; the defeat lay in Emmanuel Macron’s run-off win by 66% to Le Pen’s 34%. This paper analyses the strengths and weaknesses both of Le Pen in the presidential poll and of her party in the parliamentary elections that followed. What do these elections tell us about the current challenge and prospects of far-right populism in France? Does 2017, with 10.6 million votes for Le Pen, mark a high point or just one more stage in the FN’s rise? The paper will consider the FN’s electoral strategy and reach. It will also look beyond the elections to the difficulties the FN has encountered since, with questions raised over Le Pen’s continued leadership and over the durability of the FN’s populist appeal within the shifting dynamics of electoral competition in France.

7 pm – DINNER

Day 2: 23 January
9:00-10:45 – SESSION 3
Chair and discussant: Dr Davide Vampa (Aston University; IPSG Member)
Paolo Graziano (University of Padova) and Manuela Caiani (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa): Party Realignment, Economic Crisis and Varieties of Populism in Europe
The paper examines how the recent economic and political crisis within the EU has affected the diffusion or consolidation of varieties of populisms in Europe, making this category increasingly difficult to be attributed only to some specific (ideologically determined) political parties. Focusing on several current empirical cases of populisms in various European countries, we will try to disentangle the role of the crisis with respect to other variables referred to party (system) change - such as party realignment and party system restructuring – to the growing electoral strength of populist parties in Europe. The general hypothesis which inspires the article is that the redefinition of Western parties (Mair, 2013) has offered opportunities for the emergence of populist parties, whereas the crisis has provided a specific opportunity for their consolidation. The paper will test this hypothesis by a) mapping populist parties currently existing in Europe, and classifying them according to different ’types of populisms’ (especially in terms of inclusionary and exclusionary types: Mudde and Kaltwasser, 2013); b) analysing the relationship between the economic crisis and the recent evolution of party systems in all 28 EU countries.

Kyriaki Nanou (University of Nottingham): Economic crisis and the rise of welfare nationalism across the EU
Nationalism has been criticised as an irrational doctrine associated with some of the most violent right-wing movements of the 20th century. Because it tends to be understood in terms of ethnic exclusion, nationalism is considered a prerogative of radical right-wing parties. This view is based on the problematic assumption that nationalism is always extreme. Observing the current economic crisis, we discern the rise of nationalism as a broader phenomenon cutting across party lines and spatial boundaries, suggesting that economic crises need not necessarily generate a radical right-wing variety of nationalism, but rather a nationalism that can also be found in the mainstream. This paper hypothesizes that the current economic crisis has triggered nationalist rhetoric among European political elites aimed at facilitating solidarity within countries but not between EU member states. Mainstream parties have capitalised on the issue of who should be entitled to the collective goods of the state, thus linking the economic crisis with the immigration issue: what we term ‘welfare nationalism’. To test this argument, we examine whether an increase in nationalist rhetoric from parties has contributed to a rise in nationalist attitudes amongst citizens. We combine cross-national survey data with data on party positions to analyse the relationship between them.

10:45-11:15am – Coffee Break
Chair and discussant: Dr Arianna Giovannini (De Montfort University; IPSG co-convenor)
Caterina Froio and Bharath Ganesh (Oxford Internet Institute): The transnational dimension of Far right Islamophobia on Twitter
While an increasing number of contributions addresses the topic of Islamophobia and transnationalism in far right politics, few systematic investigations exist on the discourses favored in transnational anti-Islam exchanges on social media. Building on the literature on far right politics, opposition to Islam, transnationalism and the Internet, the paper addresses this gap by studying the issues that are favored to oppose Islam in online exchanges between audiences of far right organizations across France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. We use a new dataset on the activities and audiences of far right Twitter users that is analyzed through a mixed methods approach. Using Social Network Analysis, we detect transnational anti-Islam links between far right organizations across countries based on retweets from audiences of far right Twitter users. Retweets are qualitatively coded for content and compared to the content retweeted within national communities. Finally, using a logistic regression, we quantify the level to which specific anti-Islam issues enjoy high levels of attention across borders. Subsequently we use discourse analysis to qualitatively reconstruct the interpretative frames accompanying these patterns. We find that although social media are often ascribed much power in favoring transnational anti-Islam exchanges between far right organizations, there is little evidence of this. Only few dimensions of the opposition to Islam (security and Islamization of Europe) garner transnational far right audiences on Twitter. In addition, we find that more than the parties themselves, leaders play a prominent role in the construction of a transnational anti-Islam far right discourse.

Pietro Castelli (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa) and Lorenzo Zamponi (EUI): Contested borders: pro- and anti-refugee movements in Italy
The increase in asylum applications over the past years set in motion two interrelated processes across European societies: on the one hand, the radical right mobilized to ‘defend the borders’ of Europe, promoting institutional and extra-parliamentary initiatives against refugees; on the other, a wide set of grassroots actions in solidarity with asylum-seekers were promoted by left-progressive movements at the national and transnational level. Thus far, however, very little research has looked into the competitive interaction between these two camps. Conversely, we consider the recent dynamic as a potentially fruitful chance to overcome a known limit of social movement studies – the tendency to focus on individual movements as isolated actors – and investigate the reciprocal influence of the opposing movements. Accordingly, the paper offers an in-depth analysis of movement-countermovement dynamics in the wake of the ‘refugee crisis’ in Italy. What are the main frames and repertoires of action promoted by the pro-refugee and anti-refugee camps? To what extent their choices have been shaped by initiatives taken by their opponents? How did they attempt to limit the expansion and resonance of the opposing camp and its influence on mainstream actors and narratives? Based on new empirical data from over 40 face-to-face interviews with activists from anti-immigration as well as solidarity groups in Italy, we show that discursive opportunities and interaction with the state contributed to shaping the frames of both movements around similar resonant themes, although triggering conflicting interpretations and distinct repertoires of action. Furthermore, our analysis shows a visible interaction between the two movements, with the pro-refugee camp often intervening in reaction to initiative of the opposite front. While the pro-refugee movement effectively mobilized in solidarity to asylum seekers, intervening in situations perceived as critical, it was considerably less successful in countering the hegemonic frames promoted by anti-immigration and populist right-wing coalitions.

Yaprak Gürsoy: The Peculiarities of Turkish Populism: Nationalism, Neoliberalism, Strong Party Organization and Authoritarianism
The electoral successes of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, first as the Prime Minister (between 2003 and 2014) and then as the President (since 2014) of Turkey have been attributed partly to his populist appeal. Indeed, the antagonistic and divisive style of Erdoğan is similar to other populist leaders in Europe as identified by the literature. Yet, this paper argues that, in four respects the Turkish variant differs from other the European cases. First, Turkish populism is nationalist, but not anti-immigrant. Non-Turkish citizens within the country, such as the Kurds, are seen as the “other” although Sunni Muslims from Syria have been welcomed. Second, Turkish populism has been following neoliberal, free trade policies rather than advocating protectionist and socialist or mixed economic policies.  Third, Erdoğan’s appeal relies not only on his personal charisma but also on strong, grass-roots party organization of the Justice and Development Party (JDP), with high mobilization capacity. Finally, the electoral successes of the JDP and its mobilization against the 15 July 2016 coup attempt have led Erdoğan and the governing party to dismantle democratic institutions further and attempt to consolidate competitive authoritarianism. The paper shows that these four attributes of populism, together, do not exist in other European countries, which makes Turkish populism under Erdoğan’s leadership a different, if not a peculiar, case.

1:15-2:00 – Lunch
2:00-3:00pm – Final Roundtable & Concluding Remarks

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

There’s an election in Italy next year – and M5S has some familiar problems

The anti-corruption appeal of the Five Stars Movement may be starting to fade, argues Daniele Albertazzi **

Those in charge of auditing Rome have said that the budget should not be approved as it does not “truthfully and correctly” reflect the municipality’s financial situation.
Meanwhile, Patrizio Cinque, the mayor of Bagheria, a town in Sicily, is under investigation for abuse of office and omission of official acts.
Both Cinque and the Rome administration come from the populist movement M5S, which came to prominence pledging to fight the corruption that has dogged Italian public life for so long.
But hardly a week has gone by since the mayoral elections of June 2016 – when the M5S gained control of several cities across Italy – without one scandal or another casting doubt on the reputation of M5S-run local administrations. Is the anti-establishment, anti-corruption movement founded by Beppe Grillo, a comedian, becoming a bit too similar to the “traditional” parties it attacks? If so, does it risk losing the support of the people who have flocked to it in recent years?

A skeleton in every closet

Italy’s recent history would suggest that this is a distinct possibility. It’s widely believed that the governing Christian Democracy and the Italian Socialist Party would not have collapsed as quickly as they did at the beginning of the 1990s were it not for corruption scandals. A series of investigations had a serious impact on public opinion at the time.
Since its inception, the M5S has exploited (and, in turn, fuelled) public anger towards the country’s “profiteering” political class. But now the tables seem to be turning and there is a question mark over whether it retains credibility as an anti-corruption party today.
The M5S has recently changed the rules on who can run to become prime minister so that even would-be candidates who are under investigation for wrongdoing can stand.
This change has enabled the selection of Luigi Di Maio – the current vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies – to become the M5S candidate for PM in next year’s election. This despite the fact that he is under investigation for defamation.
Whatever the seriousness of the allegations made against Di Maio, it just doesn’t look good that the rules have been bent to allow him to stand. It looks even worse considering he was the candidate favoured by the party’s founder, Beppe Grillo.

Beppe Grillo and Luigi Di Maio. EPA
The party that could have benefited from the M5S’s troubles is the Lega Nord (Northern League – LN), which started attacking the political class “of Rome” many years before the M5S even came into existence. Pity, however, that the LN is embroiled in a quagmire of legal proceedings of its own.Following an investigation that started back in 2013, its founder and former leader, Umberto Bossi, as well as his children, were given prison sentences for misappropriating party funds. The party’s accounts have now been frozen, too.
In the meantime, neither of Italy’s other main parties – Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI) and Matteo Renzi’s Partito Democratico (Democratic Party – PD) – can reinvent themselves as a credible “corruption bashing” force. They’ve received their fair share of attention from investigating magistrates in recent years. Indeed, Berlusconi is still barred from parliament, let alone from governing, having been found guilty of bribery as recently as 2015.

Better the devil you know

Where does this leave the Italian electorate? It has clearly been deprived of any credible political actors that can put forward those “anti-corruption” discourses that tend to have resonance in the country. And yet there has been no sign that these recent events are having any noticeable impact on the way people are inclined to vote. In fact, the polls have hardly moved for years, with the respective electoral support of the left (i.e. the PD), the right (i.e. FI + LN) and the M5S remaining remarkably stable.
In 2013 each party or “block” attracted around 25% of the vote. Now, four years later, each appears to have increased its support slightly, attracting about 27% to 28% of the vote.
Unlike in the 1990s, Italian voters seem to have been “immunised” against political misconduct. Or, perhaps, it is just that anti-corruption voters have nowhere to go now, so they are forced to stay put.
Be that as it may, what is certain is that a general election is coming next spring at the latest. Whether one of the main parties or blocks will be able to govern without some sort of unnatural “grand” coalition becoming a necessity may well depend on the mechanics of whatever electoral law is adopted (a crucial question that parties are debating right now). And there is no guarantee that the matter will be resolved any time soon.

** this blog was originally published on the blog The Conversation

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Europe’s populist tide has turned – leaving Brexit Britain washed up

Italy’s elections are the latest sign of many that populist insurgent parties are losing their grip. The European Union is growing stronger, argues James Newell** 

Riding the tide of popular protest against established institutions and parties, Italy’s Five Star Movement (M5S) came to prominence in 2012, promising a new form of nonideological politics based on direct democracy and opposition to elites. In local elections earlier this month it came a poor third in most of the 160 larger municipalities where voting took place, making it through to the runoff ballots, held at the weekend, in only 10 cases.
True, in these cases it did well, winning in eight of them. But there was nothing unusual about this, for it is a protest party drawing support from across the left-right spectrum. So it almost always does well in runoffs. The headline result has been the success not of M5S but of the centre right, along with the increased vote share of the two established (centre-right and centre-left) coalitions. This is not dissimilar to what happened in the UK on 8 June, when the Ukip vote collapsed.

M5S has been quite resilient in the face of evidence that seems to fly in the face of its claim to stand for a new, more honest politics. But this time it has been handicapped by a lack of well-known faces, by its disastrous administration of Rome, and by internal conflicts. As it has penetrated political institutions, it has been called upon to make choices it could avoid as a mere protest movement, shouting from the outside.

As elsewhere in Europe, the Italian populists have found themselves grappling with the classic dilemma that arises when such parties join coalitions: do they make concessions in the interests of stability, hoping thereby to retain the support of moderates? Or do they threaten government stability so as not to lose the support of diehards?

They have suffered as a consequence, and the pattern is repeated elsewhere. In Norway, the Progress party has slipped back in opinion polls from the 16.3% of the vote it won in 2013, having been damaged by its unsympathetic response to the refugee crisis as well as its record in government. In Latvia, the National Alliance has seen a steady decline in its poll ratings, down to 9.1% from the 16.6% it won in 2014. In Finland, support for the Finns party dropped from 17.7% to 10.7% over just six months in 2015.

Though a number of western democracies have recently seen elections or referenda that have been widely dubbed as “populist revolts”, much depends, in interpreting the outcomes, on one’s chosen points of reference. Nothing makes this clearer than the result achieved by Corbyn’s Labour last month: yes he lost, but he has been immeasurably strengthened because he did so much better than expected. Trump, who by contrast won, did better than expected; but still, he lost the popular vote by some 2 million. Norbert Hofer, Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen were all decisively beaten.

All these results have significant implications for the outcome of the Brexit negotiations and the future of Europe. On the one hand, governments under pressure from anti-establishment parties may be tempted to resist concessions to the UK in order not to encourage anti-European forces within their own borders.

On the other hand, if the growth of such forces has reached a peak, as recent results suggest they may have done, then the size of the obstacles in the way of European integration ambitions has been reduced. Either way, the European project is perhaps more secure than has been widely assumed; and it would still be relatively secure even if parties such as M5S were to find themselves doing better than they have done this week. In government, M5S would be uniquely badly placed to withstand the threats deriving from the capital flight and economic turmoil its promise of a referendum on Italy’s membership of the euro would probably bring. And it would have to overcome a whole series of constitutional obstacles (not least the ban on referenda on international treaties) in order to hold such a vote in the first place.

At a time of uncertainty, when even the smallest political shifts can seem portentous, last Sunday’s local elections in Italy bode well for Europe. The same cannot be said for the UK which now looks likely, in the event of Brexit, to find itself left out of an EU that is increasingly integrated, and increasingly powerful.

** This blog post was originally published on 27 June 2017 in The Guardian

Monday, 5 June 2017

Populists are not taking over Europe, but neither are they on the way out

Populists must be taken seriously as builders of organisations, shapers of political agendas and, increasingly, as parties in power - argues Daniele Albertazzi.**

The political developments of the last year or so have inspired a flurry of articles and analyses on the future of populism in Europe. However, too often the term “populism” is deployed in inconsistent, loose and undefined ways; moreover, the commentary tends to be characterised by unfounded claims about, either the populists’ alleged successes, or indeed their impending demise.

Populism is not the attempt to put forward “popular” proposals, nor is it about appealing to emotions during campaigns, or else every politician should by default be called a “populist” and the term would become useless. Moreover, the essence of populism is not necessarily overpromising. Whether we conceive of populism as a “thin”, simplistic ideology attaching itself to other ideologies (for instance, socialism and nationalism), or “just” a rhetorical style, its core argument is that the people, depicted as virtuous and homogeneous, are always pitted against a set of elites, who are depriving the people of everything they own - from their material wealth to their very identity. In other words, the core of populism is its anti-establishment rhetoric and anti-elitism.

Following the events leading to Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory in the USA, it may be understandable to find so many commentators buying into a narrative whereby Europe would be on the verge of being “swept” by a populist tide. This narrative often reveals the Anglo-centric perspective of its proponents, as it is predicated on an understanding of political competition whereby only two/three actors can have a go at forming the government, usually on their own. But since the majority of European electoral systems have strong elements of proportionality, and in several of them (such as, for instance France, Germany, Belgium and, more recently, also the Netherlands) mainstream parties would find it very difficult to engage in forms of collaboration with their populist competitors, the picture on our continent seems in fact more nuanced. This, however, does not mean, as some commentators have concluded after Macron’s victory in the French Presidential election, that populism must now have “peaked”, let alone that it is on the way out. Assertions of this kind are not substantiated by the electoral data, nor indeed by a simple consideration of how often populists have been included in governing coalitions in recent years.

As far as elections are concerned, European populist parties have quite simply seen their vote share increase steadily and consistently since the 1970s. Even the recent and much discussed “defeats” that populists are alleged to have suffered in the Netherlands, France and Austria were very honourable indeed. Geert Wilders’ Party of Freedom increased its tally of seats, the Austrian Norbert Gerwald Hofer came very close to being elected President of his country with 46 per cent of the vote, and Marine Le Pen attracted a much higher vote share than her father ever did when attempting to capture the French Presidency in the past.

As for populists accessing governments, all the signs are that they have a realistic hope to go on being included in government coalitions in several countries in the future.This has happened on numerous occasions in the recent past, and shrinking support for moderate parties militates in favour of populists remaining “coalitionable”.

Indeed, in countries as diverse as Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Hungary, Poland, and others, this has happened fairly recently - not to mention nations such as Denmark and again, the Netherlands, in which populists have provided essential external support to executives. If this were not enough, in many European countries it is the populist parties that are now the most seasoned and durable parties of all, sometimes benefiting from very rooted and efficient organisations. In other words, they are most certainly not “new” challengers – quite the opposite in fact.

The time has therefore come to take populists seriously as builders of organizations, shapers of political agendas and, increasingly, as parties in power. Their success may be far from inevitable, but they are definitely here to stay.

**this blog was originally published on the University of Birmingham website.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

IPSG is the PSA Specialist Group of the Year!

The PSA has awarded to us the coveted Specialist Group of the Year prize 2017!

In its letter to the group's convenors, the PSA spoke highly of our activism and the high quality of the work that we do over the year.
Prof. Matt Flinders (PSA Chair) awards the prize to IPSG conveners 
It recognised that we have been "working with other specialist groups, putting on international conferences, including some great speakers and guests, whilst also promoting diversity and supporting early career academics". 

We are delighted that the work of our members has led us to gain this recognition from the PSA and aim to continue doing our best to promote the study of Italian politics in comparative perspective. 
We are committed to continue to organise international events, collaborate with other specialist groups and, more generally, play an active role in the promotion of the study of politics. 
We remain particularly interested in welcoming PhD students and young researchers to our group and provide them opportunities to organise/participate in events with us so as to acquire experience and develop networks. 

Join us at this most exciting time for our group by contacting our membership officer Dario Quattromani, or simply log into the PSA website, then click on this link, and hit the 'request group membership' button! 

Jim Newell (IPSG Chair and founder), Arianna Giovannini & Daniele Albertazzi (IPSG Convenors), Laura Polverari (IPSG Secretary)

Sunday, 2 April 2017

IPSG at PSA Annual Conference, Glasgow (10-12 April 2017)

The Italian Politics Specialist Group has organised a wide number of panels at this year's PSA conference focussing on timely issues, with contributions from international academics: 

The full conference programme is available at this link, and on the PSA website.

The IPSG will hold its Annual Business Meeting on Tuesday 11 April (12:30-13:30, Conference Room 8). We encourage anyone interested in Italian and comparative politics to attend the meeting: this will be an excellent opportunity to get to know the IPSG executive, and familiarise with the wide range of activities that we are planning for 2017 and beyond. Existing, new and perspective members are welcome! 

We look forward to seeing you in Glasgow!

PSA 67th Annual International Conference

10 – 12 April 2017, Technology & Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Politics in Interesting Times

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Great success for our conference in Turin!

The PSA Italian Politics Specialist group held its annual conference, entitled European Democracy Under Stress, at the University of Turin (Italy) on the 13th and 14th of January 2017. The event was organised in collaboration with the Department of Cultures, Politics and Society (DCPS) at the University of Turin, the PSA Anti-politics Specialist Group and the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences at the Universidade Nova De Lisboa, with the support of the PSA Pushing the Boundaries Scheme.

Simona Piattoni (Professor of Politics, University of Trento and President of the Italian Political Studies Association) opened the conference with a compelling keynote entitled ‘Revisiting democratic principles in times of heightened interconnectedness’.  
Prof. Franca Roncarolo (Head of DCPS, University of Turin), Prof. Simona Piattoni (University of Trento, SISP President), Dr Arianna Giovannini (IPSG Co-convenor), Dr Matt Wood (APSG Convenor)

Throughout the two days, scholars from across Europe presented their research, and the conference provided a forum for debating the complex and multiple pressures currently faced by European democracies. It also hosted a workshop on experiments of deliberative democracy in Turin, delivered by leading experts at DCPS.

The event closed with a roundtable discussion with Alfio Mastropaolo (Professor of Politics, University of Turin), Daniele Albertazzi (Senior Lecturer in European Politics, University of Birmingham) and Anna Masera (Editor-in-chief of the Italian daily La Stampa and director of the Master in Journalism, University of Turin) – which focused on lessons from comparative analysis, and helped to set an agenda for future research.

Dr Matt Wood, Prof. Alfio Mastropaolo, Dr Daniele Albertazzi, Dr Anna Masera

The conference was a great success: it attracted a large audience and it offered the opportunity both to develop international research networks and to promote the work of the PSA abroad. The organisers are planning a series of blogs drawing on the papers presented in Turin, and they are preparing a proposal for a special issue. They have also set the foundations for creating an institutional link between the PSA and the Italian Political Studies Association.

Luigi Einaudi Campus, University of Turin

Luigi Einaudi Campus, University of Turin

Conference Dinner