Daniele Albertazzi is Professor of Politics in the Politics Department of the University of Surrey. He is also the Co-Director of the Centre for Britain and Europe. Before moving here in September 2021, he was Reader in Politics at the University of Birmingham.
Daniele has been the principal investigator of several research projects focusing on right wing populism, Italian politics, political communication and party organisation. These have been funded by major British research organisations, such as the Leverhulme Trust, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and The British Academy. At present, Daniele is leading “The survival of the mass party: Evaluating activism and participation among populist radical right parties (PRRPs) in Europe”. This is a large comparative project funded by the ESRC (Ref: ES/R011540/1) which pioneers the systematic comparative study of European populism thanks to unprecedented access to four populist radical right parties in Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and Finland.
Daniele has published widely on European politics in international journals such as West European Politics, Party Politics and Government & Opposition, and on Italian politics in Contemporary Italian Politics, Modern Italy and the Journal of Modern Italian Studies. He is the author, co-author or co-editor of several volumes, special issues of journals and monographs.
Daniele is regularly called upon as a key-note speaker, external supervisor, and media pundit on areas such as populism and democracy, the European radical right and contemporary Italian politics.
He has convened or co-convened the Italian Politics Specialist group of the Political Studies Association between 2008 and 2018.
The major strands of Daniele’s research have been about populism in Western Europe, party organisation, Italian politics, Swiss politics, and the communication strategies and mass media use of political parties.
The major strands of Daniele’s research have been about populism in Western Europe, party organisation, Italian politics, Swiss politics, and the communication strategies and mass media use of political parties.
Daniele is an experienced programme leader and teacher, having devised, set up and led two interdisciplinary programmes in the past. Throughout the years, he has taught comparative and party politics, contemporary history, political communication and media studies.
During his first year at Surrey, Daniele will contribute sessions to a variety of modules at all levels of the curriculum, focusing on Europe-related matters, populism, the crisis of democracy and political ideologies.
This book analyses how party competition has adjusted to the success of populism in Western Europe, whether this is non-populists dealing with their populist competitors, or populists interacting with each other.The volume focuses on Western Europe in the period 2007-2018 and considers both right-wing and left-wing populist parties. It critically assesses the concept and rise of populism, and includes case studies on Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, the United Kingdom, Greece, and Italy. The authors apply an original typology of party strategic responses to political competitors, which allows them to map interactions between populist and non-populist parties in different countries. They also assess the links between ideology and policy, the goals of different populist parties, and how achieving power affects these parties. The volume provides important lessons for the study of political competition, particularly in the aftermath of a crisis and, as such, its framework can inform future research in the post-Covid-19 era.This wide-ranging study will appeal to students and scholars of political science interested in populism and political competition; and will appeal to policy makers and politicians from across the political spectrum.
Today, arguably more than at any time in the past, media are the key players in contributing to what defines reality for the citizens of Europe and beyond. This book provides an introduction to the way that the media occupy such a position of prominence in contemporary human existence. This expanded and fully updated third edition of the bestselling The Media: An Introduction collects in one volume thirty-six specially commissioned essays to offer unrivalled breadth and depth for an introduction to the study of contemporary media. It addresses the fundamental questions about today's media - for example, digitisation and its effects, new distribution technologies, and the implications of convergence, all set against the backdrop of a period of profound social and economic change in Europe and globally. Key features: Expert contributions on each topic Approachable, authoritative contributions provide a solid theoretical overview of the media industry and comprehensive empirical guide to the institutions that make up the media. Further Reading and related web-resource listings encourage further study. New to this edition: New five part structure provides a broad and coherent approach to media: Part 1 Understanding the Media; Part 2 What Are the Media?; Part 3 The Media Environment; Part 4 Audiences, Influences and Effects; Part 5 Media Representations. Brand new chapters on: Approaches to Media; Media Form; Models of Media Institutions; The Media in Europe; Photography; Book Publishing; Newspapers; Magazines; Radio; Television; The Internet and the Web; News Media; Economics; Policy; Public Service Broadcasting in Europe; Censorship and Freedom of Speech; Audience Research; Sexualities; Gender; Social Class; Media and Religion; The Body, Health and Illness; Nationality and Sex Acts. Other chapter topics from the last edition fully updated A wider, more comparative focus on Europe. The Media: An Introduction will be essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of media studies, cultural studies, communication studies, journalism, film studies, the sociology of the media, popular culture and other related subjects.
Scholarly literature has devoted a lot of attention to the declining number of party members in post-industrial societies, arguing that parties now lack the incentives to maintain a large membership. However, some right-wing populist parties have continued to rely on activism by being rooted at the local level and by fostering the creation of closed communities of ideologically committed members. In short, they have adopted the organizational model of the mass party. By focusing on one of these organizations, the Italian Lega Nord (Northern League, LN) under the leadership of Umberto Bossi (1991-2012), and by drawing on individual and group interviews with party members, this article explores the latter's experiences of activism. It highlights the reasons why activists stayed in the LN and what they gained from doing so and provides evidence of the strength of their commitment to their party, showing that the fostering of a strong collective identity among people was an important ingredient of the LN's appeal. The article concludes that the model of the mass party is far from having become obsolete, even today.
In a political context where the concept of 'community' seems to be enjoying a striking come back it is necessary to investigate the prevalence of such a term in political discourse. What has made the notion of 'community' a favourite in political rhetoric? More importantly, it is indispensable to question the validity of such a concept in political propaganda. Such an interrogation partly relies on the simple question: What is meant by 'community' in our globalising world? This article explores such issues through a study of the particular case of the Lega Nord in Italy.
Despite its hardly enticing title (‘Making Politics Count’) and the equally uninspiring choice of topic for its plenary lecture (‘Political Science After September 11’), the 52nd Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association (PSA), hosted by the University of Aberdeen, was an apparent success: it stimulated interdisciplinar y discussion among an international audience while also providing an arena for the presentation of comparative perspectives on issues, such as European politics and devolution, which are at the forefront of academic interest.
The ‘Italian Politics Group’ of the Political Studies Association (PSA) convened for the second time at the organization's annual conference, held this year at the University of Leicester. Co-ordinated by Felia Allum (Bath) and Jim Newell (Salford), the group provides a forum for debating Italian politics and generating collaborative publications among scholars largely, but not exclusively, based in the United Kingdom. This year, apart from its own panels, the group organized joint discussions on ‘decentralization’ and ‘presidentialism’ with the PSA's specialists in French politics.
This article provides a comparative conclusion to the thematic issue on the organisational characteristics of 12 right-wing populist parties (RWPPs) across Europe. We observe that many RWPPs - at least partially - adopt features of the mass party model. This finding illustrates the ideological aspects behind organisational choices: For populist parties, in particular, it is important to signal societal rootedness and "closeness to the people." It furthermore challenges the idea that there is a one-way teleological movement towards more lean, electoral-professional kinds of party organisation. At the same time, the case studies clearly illustrate that RWPP leaders and executives continue to exercise great power over their members, who are essentially offered "participation without power."
This article investigates the impact of sub-national contextual variations on the performance of populist actors in a country in which several electorally relevant populist parties exist: Italy. By employing a multi-model Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) of the 2018 Italian general election, it explores the extent to which factors such as the distribution of 'economic losers' and the impact of migration, political discontent and societal malaise have influenced the performance of the Lega (League) and the Movimento Cinque Stelle (Five-star Movement, M5s). The study shows that, while the League has thrived especially in areas characterized by 'cultural backlash', but also in contexts characterized by Euroscepticism and societal malaise, the success of the M5s cannot be explained without reference to poor economic and institutional performances. Moreover, by stressing the advantages of assessing sub-national variations, the study encourages us to move away from one-size-fits-all grand narratives that see some factors (or combination of factors) as necessarily impacting populist performance throughout national territories in a consistent manner.
The growth of populist radical right parties at the expense of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI) has recently reconfigured the right in Italy. Changes in power relations created for the Lega (League), Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy, FdI) and FI, different competitive pressures, resulting in distinctive – and often conflicting – responses to the pandemic. Based on the analysis of these parties’ Twitter accounts and on survey data, this article examines how right-wing actors positioned themselves vis à vis the government, and each other, throughout 2020. Eventually, the League became the government’s most vocal critic, forcing FdI to follow suit; meanwhile, FI reinvented itself as a moderate, pro-EU party. Despite these changes, our analysis also stresses continuity, insofar as the alliance continued to craft its message around taxation, the EU, immigration and law/order, as it had done in the past. It also continued to enjoy electoral support similar to that of recent decades.
Partisan dealignment in Western Europe has gone hand in hand with the decline of electoral participation and activemembership in political parties. Yet political participation and activism are not necessarily a thing of the past, and scholarshave for instance observed these characteristics in several contemporary populist radical right parties (PRRPs). Drawing onthe analysis of 124 interviews with party representatives from four European PRRPs (the League, the Finns Party, FlemishInterest and the Swiss People’s Party), we ask what motivates PRRP elites to foster the creation of tight communities ofactivists. Three reasons appear to stand out: campaigning prowess (to gain public support); legitimising the party; andorganisational survival. The final section offers reflections on the wider implications of our study and suggests avenues forfuture research, questioning the assumption that parties are necessarily and uniformly shifting away from activism andsocietal rootedness.
Populism in Europe 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.
This article provides a comparative conclusion to the thematic issue on the organisational characteristics of 12 right‐wing populist parties (RWPPs) across Europe. We observe that many RWPPs—at least partially—adopt features of the mass party model. This finding illustrates the ideological aspects behind organisational choices: For populist parties, in particular, it is important to signal societal rootedness and “closeness to the people.” It furthermore challenges the idea that there is a one‐way teleological movement towards more lean, electoral‐professional kinds of party organisation. At the same time, the case studies clearly illustrate that RWPP leaders and executives continue to exercise great power over their members, who are essentially offered “participation without power"
The video streaming app TikTok is increasingly deployed by politicalactors to reach younger voters, and this includes populist radical right(PRR) parties. In this study, our expectation is that longstanding PRRparties will be more likely than new PRR challengers to try to de-demonisetheir image as they land on the platform, in order to counteract years ofnegative coverage. To test this argument, we use a novel theoreticalframework that captures visual de-demonisation and eudaimonic appeals,applying it to the study of strategic communication on TikTok by acombination of established and novel radical right parties and leaders.Our selection includes Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini on the one hand,and Eric Zemmour and Vox Spain on the other. We find that - contrary towidespread assumptions linking radical communication with toxic rhetoricand the spreading of fear – positive and optimistic appeals includinginspirational cues that foster hope and communicate values and virtuesplay a significant role in how PRR actors adjusts their communication tothe needs of the medium. Moreover, long standing PRR parties are foundto be less likely than new PRR challengers to focus mainly on negativecontent.
The war in Ukraine has put energy security front and centre once again. Energy transformations have bubbled away in the EU with predictable familiarity: rising and falling in tandem with geopolitical shifts or climate change pressures. 2022 however has been an epochal year in European energy terms, and 2023 and beyond are likely to be just as seismic. The EU has folded energy security, sustainability, foreign and security policy, strategic autonomy and trade into one enormous package, and used it to both cohere itself as anegotiating actor, and render itself influential with regional and global powers, from Ukraine and Russia to the US, NATO and the UN. Some turning points are long overdue, including the broader area of European energy security. Others, in terms of possibilities by which to overhaul the European oil, gas, electricity and renewable markets, have come online in a more radical fashion. There are however, two clear themes to be considered. First, the largely joint efforts made by the EU to break the asymmetric dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Second, the collective approach to tackling the consequent energy crisis brought on by the interruption of gas supplies at regional, market and individual levels. As this CBE Policy Paper explores, there is much context that needs to be set out, in order to fully understand the sweeping nature of some of the energy mobilisation that has taken place in the EU’s attempt to move towards a form of energy independence. It is easy enough to cite the statistical drop in numbers of imported Russian gas to the EU from roughly 40% to 9%, or list the series of EU policies that have arisen throughout 2022, including REPowerEU, the revamped ‘Fit For 55’ and European Green Deal. But the wider transition that the EU is now embarking upon requires reflection, before identifying the current challenges and proposing policy options. As the Policy Paper illustrates, energy security itself is a highly contested definition, depending on which end of the metaphorical pipeline one finds oneself. Each Member State is also approaching the energy crisis from different standpoints, whether they be geographical (e.g. proximity to Russia), financial, political and domestic. Some are keener on energy autonomy – and the costs incurred - than others. Some are independently-minded in approaching the ensuing changes, others are keen to work with the EU, still others are determined to ensure market forces and energy actors take precedence over policies. The results will need to produce an EU far more effective in managing its energy needs autonomously than previously, combining ambitions for strategic autonomy to robustly bolster its foreign and security policy, with demands for a socially just and equitable transition in implementing an ambitious climate policy. Whatever the outcome, what lies ahead is an unparalleled opportunity for the EU to recast itself as a coherent regional energy actor.
Since 1994, Italian politics has seen a number of coalitions including parties whose identity has been strongly based on their ‘outsider’ status as uncompromising opposition movements which would not previously consider government participation. This article examines the contrasting experiences in office of two such parties: the regionalist populist Lega Nord (LN) and the radical left Rifondazione Comunista (RC). While the Lega confounded expectations not only simply by remaining in the centre-right coalition from 2001 to 2006, but by influencing policy, increasing its vote-share and maintaining its ‘outsider’ identity, RC was unable to match its fellow outsider’s success when it served in the centre-left government from 2006 to 2008. Looking at the experiences in office of the RC and the LN in terms of the three temporal divisions ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’, this article seeks to analyse and explain the differing experiences and effects of government on both parties.
Twenty-First Century Populism analyses the phenomenon of sustained populist growth in Western Europe by looking at the conditions facilitating populism in specific national contexts and then examining populist fortunes in those countries. The chapters are written by country experts and political scientists from across the continent.
The alliance between the Lega Nord (LN) and Forza Italia (FI), later Popolo della Libertà (PDL), continued, uninterrupted, for over a decade, until November 2011. The problems that beset it under the fourth Berlusconi government are known; however, there is a lack of academic analysis of how such an alliance was seen and experienced by the people who made up the fabric of its constituent organisations. Based on interviews with institutional representatives and members from both parties, this article addresses the question of how people within them saw their ally and its leaders, and what they thought of the centre-right alliance under the fourth Berlusconi government. The analysis reveals that, although the LN's rhetoric, style and uncompromising stances on policy were the target of much criticism within the PDL, the latter nonetheless showed much respect for its ally, the way it was led, its ability to communicate effectively and its rootedness at the local level. However, LN members and representatives were, in turn, extremely critical of the PDL and its leader, and very much conceived of the alliance as a ‘marriage of convenience’. This notwithstanding, it is reasonable to expect that the PDL and the LN may find ways to rebuild their alliance in the future, if indeed the PDL continues to exist in its present form, due to their fundamental compatibility at the ideological level and their understanding of each other's priorities.
Love him or loathe him, Silvio Berlusconi is widely assumed to be Europe's most remarkable politician of recent decades, one who has not only affected the nature of electoral competition or the shape of the party system in Italy, but one who has influenced the country's political agenda to the extent that he himself and his role in politics have for long periods been the most important issues around which party competition has taken place.
The enduring electoral success of populist parties across Europe and the increasing opportunities they have gained to access government in recent years bring once more into relief the question of whether populism and democracy are fully compatible. In this article we show how, despite playing different roles in government within very different political systems, and despite the numerous constraints placed upon them (for instance, EU membership, international law and domestic checks and balances), populist parties consistently pursued policies that clashed with fundamental tenets of liberal democracy. In particular, the idea that the power of the majority must be limited and restrained, the sanctity of individual rights and the principle of the division of powers have all come under threat in contemporary Europe. This has contributed to the continuing erosion of the liberal consensus, which has provided one of the fundamental foundations of the European project from its start.
Following the 2008 general election, the Italian regionalist populist party Lega Nord returned to government as part of a centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi. Since then, the party has been able to thrive thanks to its holding of key ministries and its consolidation of 'issue ownership' over its main themes of federal reform and immigration/law and order. In this period, it has also made major gains in the 2009 European Parliament and 2010 regional elections. This article analyses the Lega's success since 2008 by considering the actions of the party (in particular the legislation it has sponsored and the narrative offered of its time in government) as well as the reactions of mid-ranking leaders and activists. The authors argue that, contrary to the expectations of scholars, populists serving as junior coalition partners are not necessarily destined to tame their rhetoric, face splits or see their electoral support decline. On the contrary, by focusing on selected themes and policies and adopting effective communication strategies, the Lega has continued to enjoy electoral success and seen its membership grow. The article concludes, therefore, that claims about populists being inherently unable to survive in government and enjoy success seem to have been premature.
The Italian populist movement Lega Nord once famously claimed that the north of Italy was a nation ('Padania') that should be granted independence. Padania was posited by the party through a combination of outrageous anti-Italian statements, gatherings in places of historic and symbolic significance and through the selective appropriation of the past. This article takes this new 'nation' as a case study through which to further our understanding of the discursive strategies of nationalist movements, as they reinvent and rewrite history and redefine identities. It argues that some within the Lega, far from simply adopting a covert strategy of reinvention of the past (like many of their fellow nationalists do), openly advocated such strategy as a means of 'liberation'. Moreover, the analysis highlights crucial contradictions between: the reality of strong, heterogeneous local identities in northern Italy and the effort of creating a new unitary community in the area; the needs of a hyper-modern economy and the longing for a mythic past; and, finally, a dubious rediscovered paganism and rooted Catholic traditions. The article argues that the lack of territorial and symbolic coherence in northern Italy was a crucial factor in making the Lega's attempts at re-invention less than compelling.
This article views ‘populism’ as an ideology, the key features of which are identified and briefly discussed. Having assessed the extent to which such features match the profile of the Swiss Lega dei Ticinesi, the author concludes that this party should be seen as a paradigmatic embodiment of populism due to: a) the party's uneasiness with representative democracy; b) the crucial role played by the concept of the ‘people’ in its propaganda; c) the power of the leader within the organisation; and d) the party's chameleon-like tendency to borrow keywords and ideas from both sides of the political divide.
Whilst the Lega Nord has traditionally been defined as a regionalist populist party, since Matteo Salvini became its leader in 2013 it has undergone a process of profound ideological transformation. This article assesses this momentous change and the impact it could have on the future of the Lega, drawing on a content analysis of Salvini's and the party's Facebook posts, as well as interviews with regional leaders. It argues that, under Salvini's personal style of leadership: (a) regionalism has been replaced by an empty form of nativist nationalism, which fails to address socio-economic issues related to the North-South divide; (b) populism remains central to the party's strategic communication, but the EU has taken Rome's place as the people's 'enemy'; (c) this ideological shift has paid-off at the 2018 general election, but is underpinned by latent fractures between the leader and regional representatives which could have profound implications in the future.
For regionalist populists like the Lega Nord, participation in coalition at national level requires striking a delicate balance between being a party of government and a movement of opposition. The key to this is choosing the right 'friends' and 'enemies' within government. In contrast to its previous time in power in 1994, in the second Berlusconi government (2001-05) the Lega cast itself as the Forza Italia leader's most faithful ally, while being seen to be in almost constant conflict with its fellow junior coalition partners: Alleanza Nazionale (AN) and the UDC. Indeed, as AN repositions itself within a respectable governmental 'European' Right, so the Lega appears ever more in a league of its own within the Italian centre-right. Based on exclusive recent interviews, this article examines the Lega's relationship to its heartland and its positions on issues such as immigration, Europe, globalisation and constitutional reform. We argue that the party has transformed itself into an 'institutionalised' populist movement that has successfully walked the tightrope of being seen to have 'one foot in and one foot out' of government.
This introduction sets the background for the analysis developed in this special issue. The focus is on the new developments that have emerged in the aftermath of the momentous 2013 general election, and the way in which these have impacted so far on the Italian political system and its main political actors.
This thematic issue assesses the organisational forms of a broad range of right-wing populist parties (RWPPs) across Europe (12 in total). It interrogates received wisdom about the supposed leader-centeredness of such parties and investigates, in particular, the extent to which the mass party, as an organisational model, remains popular among RWPPs. This introduction presents the aims, research questions, and analytical framework of the issue and justifies its selection of cases. The resilience of the mass party model highlighted in many articles challenges the dominant trend that party organisation literature has identified: a unidirectional shift towards “catch-all,” “electoral-professional,” or “cartel” organisations.
In recent years two populist regionalist parties have emerged in the alpine region, the Lega dei Ticinesi (LDT) in Switzerland and the Lega Nord (LN) in Italy. However, while typical populist themes such as the constant attacks against professional politicians and appeals to the ‘people’ resonate in the rhetoric of both movements, what differentiates them is the style of their propaganda, as the LDT's paper, Il Mattino della Domenica, constantly strives to shock its readers in ways that are alien to the Italian leghisti. Following a discussion of the strength, organisation and rhetoric of the two parties, this articles addresses the reasons why they have adopted different strategies of communication by considering the parties’ constituencies, the nature of their media and the personalities of their leaders.
This article focuses on the strategic communication of four populist parties which have served in national and/or sub-national governments during the last two decades: the Lega Nord (LN) and Forza Italia (FI) in Italy, as well as the Lega dei Ticinesi (LDT) and the Schweizerische Volkspartei/Union Démocratique du Centre (SVP/UDC) in Switzerland. The analysis identifies two strategies which have been adopted by these parties (i.e. the ‘opposition within government’ and ‘role playing’), as they try to maintain their identity and balance their recourse to ‘spectacular politics’ with the responsibilities of office. Unlike others, this study provides little support for the idea that government participation must bring with it the ‘moderation’ of populists, at least as far as their strategic communication is concerned.
Edited by members of the Department of Italian Studies at the University of Birmingham, and bringing together academics in Britain, Ireland, the US and Italy, this volume takes an international perspective on Italian events. It investigates how resistance to the new conservative culture has been articulated, and how this has been expressed and explained by those involved. The volume is divided into four areas: 1. The Economic and Media Landscapes, which sets the scene for the rest of the book by explaining how Italian society, and particularly its media environment, have developed in recent years; 2. Political Challenges, which discusses the main threats to the authority and policies of Berlusconi coming from within his own centre-right coalition, the left and social movements; 3. Texts, which analyses films, internet sites, television programmes, novels, newspaper articles and theatre performances that sought to resist increasingly dominant conservative norms and/or respond to events set in motion by the Berlusconi governments; 4.Experiences, covering the voices and practices of those who have opposed Berlusconi from within the cultural industries and identity movements, such as journalists, LGBT activists, feminists and associations representing immigrant communities. Wide-ranging, innovative and challenging, this volume should appeal to all those who have an interest in Italy, political-, media- and cultural studies.