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.
‘Mummy’, he pleaded, ‘bend down so we can die together.’ Over the next week this became a regular ritual: the SS ordering everybody out and aiming guns at them. In the event, Lanzarini’s group was the one that largely escaped, though as they later made their way over the mountain in the chaos after the Germans left, Lanzarini and his family came across the decomposing bodies of the two elderly men who had tried to reassure him. Lanzarini, now in his mid sixties, has never been sure why they were
opposition movements seeking to take power needed to consolidate and broaden their political support through winning political consent gradually; in the process of winning consent, they would prefigure the nature of the alternative society.5 The PCI went a considerable distance in setting out an alternative ‘Italian road to socialism’. At its height, under the innovative and charismatic leadership of Enrico Berlinguer (1972–84), the party developed an impressive mass base, including significant
against the Mafia, were both assassinated within two months of each other in 1992. Falcone, together with his wife and bodyguards, was killed by a bomb returning from Palermo’s Punta Raisi airport in May. Paolo Borsellino, assistant chief prosecutor in Palermo, was killed two months later on the doorstep of his mother’s house. Both Falcone and Borsellino had been sentenced to death by Totò Riina at a meeting of leading mafiosi in 1987. According to the pentito Baldassare di Maggio, a whole range
available, Andrews 02 chap05 174 23/5/05 11:23:31 am From Postmodern Populism to Postmodern Politics? 175 along with local wines. It was a very civilised gathering, with polite conversation and cheery optimism about the forthcoming election. It was the epitome of that respectability the centre-left craved; as near as one could imagine to an ideology-free zone. Yet ideology remains vital for politics. As Freeden states: ‘Far from witnessing the end of ideology, a plethora of new ideologies
alternative hopes and visions – from pacifism to ‘slow food’ – show. Italy’s long-term future remains uncertain, with the country divided and evidence of its decline increasing. What became most obvious to me was that Italy had not been a ‘normal country’ before Berlusconi, and was even less of one under his rule, but would not become one in the years following. Attempts by politicians of left and right had not brought this any closer. Those commentators who saw in Gianfranco Fini’s post-Fascist