Not a Normal Country: Italy After Berlusconi
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'I know of no book in English dedicated with such focus and depth on Berlusconi’s politics. ... Geoff Andrew's grasp of political culture is profound and reflective.' Gino Bedani, Research Professor in Italian, University of Swansea
'[Andrews provides] unusually penetrating insights ... Beautifully written.' Jim Newell, Reader in Politics, University of Salford
Not a Normal Country explores Italian politics and culture in the era of Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s richest man and one of its longest serving prime ministers. Geoff Andrews argues that the ‘Berlusconi phenomenon’ was a populist response to widespread cynicism towards politics. Berlusconi posed as an ‘anti-politician’, and based his appeal on his virtues as a salesman rather than a statesman.
The second part of the book discusses the varied opposition to Berlusconi. This ranges from the anti-global demonstrations in Genoa in 2001 to unconventional protests such as the Girotondo movement led by the film director Nanni Moretti. According to Andrews, this new associationism has helped rebuild Italian politics.
Finally, Andrews looks to the future and, through the examples of anti-mafia protests in Sicily as well as opposition to the Americanisation of Italian culture, considers the prospects for the new post-Berlusconi Italy.
populism. POSTMODERN POPULISM Postmodern populism, Berlusconi’s mode of governance, helps explain his capacity to exercise power through the global media, his contempt for the conventional norms of politics and his particular way of communicating with his electorate, which also doubles as his media audience. As a phenomenon it had its roots in the crisis of ideological politics that characterised the late 1980s and early 1990s when firstly the Italian Communist Party, the biggest of its kind in
Italian politics came to an end. The old partitocrazia was over and an opening beckoned for new political forces. The collapse of Italy’s dominant ideological framework was only part of the story however. The decline of mass political parties and Fordist forms of work preceded this crisis and were behind widespread socioeconomic shifts in most European countries. In Italy, the link between left-wing politics and its industrial support in manufacturing, which had been particularly strong, now
and Paolo Borsellino. Events in Sicily at this time represented a brutal and critical challenge to the Italian state, before Tangentopoli brought things to a head. At the centre of what was a complex web of duplicity was Giulio Andreotti, seven times Prime Minister, whose contacts with the leaders of the Cosa Nostra were the subject of prolonged public discussion and, from 1993 to 2004, judicial scrutiny in a range of court cases. In 2002, Andreotti was found guilty of the murder of Mino
are returning once more to the neighbourhoods of Italy…9 Importantly, a distinction is drawn between ‘standardisation’ and ‘globalisation’. Globalisation is inevitable and desirable because it creates new networks of contact and communication, which could enable poor countries in the South to develop. The ‘standardisation’ that it causes, however, has ‘swept away all the customs and habits of eating’. Andrews 02 chap05 157 23/5/05 11:23:26 am 158 Not a Normal Country This might seem
providing accommodation for demonstrators. The websites also provided a source of political identity, whereby forums and debates consolidated or challenged political beliefs and assumptions. The invisibility and spontaneity of the websites was crucial to the mobilisation of political action. Latterly, they provided a source of information on how to take action against police brutality and offered support for victims of violence. Mobile phones, digital cameras and conventional independent filming