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Edited by Gianfranco Baldini and Anna Cento Bull
332 pages, 50 tables, bibliog.
ISBN 978-1-84545-783-9 $59.95/£47.95 / Pb / Published (January 2010)
“Governing Fear: Italian Politics 2008 is the twenty-forth volume of the essential guide for students of contemporary Italian affairs. As such, it more than lives up to the series’ tradition for concise and timely analysis. In its coverage of the year, it takes us through Berlusconi's electoral victory over a divided center left to show how the Lega Nord has been able to set the political agenda and how a former neo-Fascist leader became mayor of Rome. The book is more than just an analysis of headline events, however; it digs into the evolving fabric of Italian social life as well to show how the changing role of women, successive waves of educational and health reform, and simmering conflicts around Naples and Alitalia reflect profound underlying dynamics. Scholars will find this book an essential resource and interested readers, a rich buffet.” · Professor Erik Jones, Johns Hopkins Bologna Center
In 2008, Silvio Berlusconi returned to power — thanks to a decisive electoral victory — to head a slimmer coalition whose cabinet consisted of members very close to him. The year began with the garbage crisis in Naples and ended in a climate dominated by economic uncertainty. In between some unexpected events happened: during the administrative elections, held with the general elections in April, the right in Rome claimed many victories; for the first time ever, a woman, Emma Marcegaglia, was elected President of Confindustria; and the Alitalia airline had to be rescued from the brink of economic collapse. For consecutive months, opinion polls gave Berlusconi an unprecedented level of popular support; those polled attributed their approval to either his ‘decisionism’ or to what they viewed as a successful strategy of continual announcements. Others pointed to the executive’s success in ‘governing the fears’ of Italians, which was helped by a change of register in the way the media dealt with issues of security. This volume shows that the politics of vetoes, which characterised the previous center-left government, could not conceal the structural, economic and social problems that still need to be resolved, a situation not helped by the fact that the opposition parties were still unable to develop an effective political strategy by yearend. With the contribution of Italian and international experts, the volume also addresses the issues of the difficult integration of immigrants, the mismanagement of public health and the reform of the education.
Gianfranco Baldini is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Bologna, where he teaches Parties and Pressure Groups in the European Union and the European Political System. His recent publications include Elections, Electoral Systems and Volatile Voters, with A. Pappalardo (Palgrave 2009), and La Francia di Sarkozy, co-edited with Marc Lazar (Il Mulino, 2007).
Anna Cento Bull is Professor of Italian History and Politics in the Department of European Studies and Modern Languages, University of Bath. Her recent publications include Italian Neofascism: The Strategy of Tension and the Politics of Non-Reconciliation (Berghahn 2007) and Speaking Out and Silencing: Culture, Society and Politics in Italy in the 1970s, co-edited with Adalgisa Giorgio (Legenda 2006).
Subject: History: 20th Century to Present
Area: Southern Europe
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