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  • Cited by 5
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2021
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Book description

The new wave of populism that has emerged over the last five years in Europe and in the US urgently needs to be better understood in a comparative and historical context. Using Italy – including the experiment of a self-styled populist coalition government – as a case study, this book investigates how populists in power borrow, use and manipulate categories of constitutional theory and instruments of constitutional law. Giuseppe Martinico goes beyond treating constitutionalism and populism as purely antithetical to dive deeply into the impact of populism on the activity of some instruments of constitutional democracy, endeavoring to explore their role as possible fora of populist claims and targets of populist attacks. Most importantly, he points to ways in which constitutional democracies can channel populist claims without jeopardizing the legacy of post-World War II constitutionalism. This book is aimed at academics and practicing lawyers interested in populism and comparative constitutional law.


'Populist ideas are often confused with totalitarian ones. Professor Martinico, taking Italy as a case study, convincingly demonstrates how the two actually contradict each other at several points. Populism manipulates and instrumentalises constitutionalist ideas, and it does not simply deny them. It is a thoroughly researched, well-reasoned and clearly written book, both for those who are interested in contemporary Italian political and constitutional developments and for those who wish to understand the effects of populism on constitutional law in general.'

András Jakab - Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law, University of Salzburg

'This is a carefully researched and insightful book that offers a sophisticated and original account of the tensions between populism and constitutionalism. Anyone interested in the rise of populism in Europe and throughout the world should read Martinico’s book.'

Aida Torres Perez - Professor of Constitutional Law and Deputy Director of the Law Department, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona

'This is, by far, the best comparative law book on the relationship between constitutionalism and populism. It offers a fresh view on a fascinating topic thanks to its conceptual and analytical toolbox. Mimetism and parasitism are key to understanding the latest developments in Italian populism. This is mandatory reading for scholars interested in populism.'

Oreste Pollicino - Professor of Constitutional Law, Bocconi University, Milan

‘Is there a populist theory of the constitution? Probably not, but the relationship between populism and constitutionalism is much more complex than we might think at first glance. Filtering Populist Claims to Fight Populism investigates this relationship, offering a fascinating examination of comparative law, in which diachronic and synchronic comparisons are skillfully employed. The subtitle (‘The Italian Case in a Comparative Perspective!’) should not betray the fact that this is not just a book about Italy. It is, in fact, a volume in which the Italian case is treated as a particular example of the broader trend that is post-totalitarian constitutionalism … this volume is interesting not only for constitutional and comparative lawyers, but also for scholars interested in European Union law.’

Matteo Monti Source: EU Law Live

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