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Opposition in Italy in the 1990s: Local Political Cultures and the Northern League*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2014

Extract

SINCE 1989 THE NATURE OF OPPOSITION IN SEVERAL WESTERN democracies has been subject to change, and Italy is no exception. But the Italian case is distinct because the changes which occurred in Italy after 1989 amount to a revolution compared to the traditional political equilibrium. The Italian political scene was dominated, from the post-war years (1948) to the 199Os, by two political parties: the DC (Christian Democracy) and the PCI (Italian Communist Party), which respectively occupied the positions of ruling party and opposition party for over forty years.

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Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Government and Opposition Ltd 1998

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References

1 Galli, G., Bipartitismo imperfetto, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1966 Google Scholar.

2 Sartori, G., Teoria dei partiti e caso italiano, Milan, Sugarco, 1982 Google Scholar.

3 Rokkan, S., Citizens, Elections, Parties, Oslo, Universitietsvorlaget, 1970 Google Scholar.

4 Cf. Bagnasco, A., Tre Italie, La problematica territoriale dello sviluppo italiano, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1977 Google Scholar.

5 Cf. Trigilia, C., Grandi partiti, piccole imprese, Bologna, II Mulino, 1986 Google Scholar

6 Cf. Bagnasco, A. and Trigilia, C. (eds), Società e politica nelle aree di piccola impresa. Il caso di Bassano, Venice, Ed. Arsenale, 1984; and Società a politica nelle aree di piccolaimpresa. Il caso della Valdelsa, Milan, Angeli, 1985 Google Scholar. (Contrary to what is proposed by these two authors, the present article attempts to offer a comparison which emphasizes differences rather than similarities.).

7 Triglia, 1986, op. cit.

8 Allum, P., ‘La DC vicentina nel secondo dopoguerra. Appunti per una ricostruzione’, Strumenti, 3–4 (1984) pp. 3535 Google Scholar and Allum, P., ‘Al cuore della democrazia Cristiana: it caso Veneto’, Inchiesta, 70 (1985) pp. 5463 Google Scholar.

9 On the differences between the aggregative and the integrative institutions cf. March, J. G. and Olson, J. P., Rediscovering Institutions. The Organizational Basis of Politics, New York, The Free Press, 1989 Google Scholar.

10 Hirschman, A. O., Exit, Voice and Loyalty. Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations and States, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1974 Google Scholar.

11 Ginsbourg, P., ‘Italian Political Culture in Historical Perspective’, Modern Italy, 1 (1995) pp. 1717 Google Scholar and Parker, S., ‘Political Identities’, in Forgacs, D. and Lumley, R. (eds), Italian Cultural Studies. An Introduction, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996, pp. 107–28Google Scholar.

12 The Ulivo is a centre‐left coalition made up of the PDS and European Left, the Green Party, some components of ex‐PSI and Social Democrats; the PPI and other components of the centre of the ex‐DC, like Lista Dini and Comitati per I’Italia the vogliamo (Prodi) and other minor lists. The Ulivo government takes advantage of the external support of RC (Rifondazione Comunista).

13 Diamanti, I., La Lega. Geografia, storia e sociologic di un nuovo soggetto politico, Rome, Donzelli, 1993 Google Scholar.

14 See my essay Messina, P., ‘Persistenza e mutamento nelle subculture politiche territoriali’ in Gangemi, G. and Riccamboni, G. (eds), Le elezioni delta transizione, Torino, Utet, 1997, pp. 1955 Google Scholar.

15 One can remember the Non expedit encyclical to delegitimize the new Italian State by inviting all Catholic people to abstain from political life (both as voters and elected); electoral abstentionism and exit are still, in fact, a typical protest in the White context.

16 See Stella, G. A., ‘Schei’. Dal boom alla rivolta: il mitico Nordest, Milan, Baldini & Castoldi, 1996 Google Scholar.

17 Pizzorno, A., ‘Opposition in Italy’, Government and Opposition, 32:4 1997 pp. 647–56Google Scholar.

18 On the concept of ‘transaction cost’ see Williamson, O. E., ‘Transaction‐Cost Economics. The Governance of Conflictual Relations’, Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 22 (1979) pp. 6161 Google Scholar. and North, D. C., ‘A Transaction Cost Theory of Politics’, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2 (1990) pp. 355–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19 For these reasons I do not agree with Bull’s suggestion (cf. Bull, A., ‘An End to Collective Identities? Political Culture and Voting Behaviour in Sesto San Giovanni and Erba’, Modern Italy, 2 (1996) pp. 4343 Google Scholar. About the change of the subcultures ‘function: ‘Whereas in the past a political subculture encompassed the whole spatial community, nowadays it appears to represent the interests and needs of specific groups within a territory (p. 23). Although this argument can be applied to the White subculture (small businesses), I do not think that it can work for the Red one.

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