Bulli, Giorgia

Italian populism and the new media: different approaches, variable success



Italian politics has been experiencing the rise of populism since the passage from the First to the Second Republic in the late 80ies. In the first stage, the Lega Nord (LN) was the main interpreter of populist attitudes, followed by Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI). While the LN’s populism referred to an ethnocentric concept of the people, Berlusconi made use of a wider concept of the people. In both cases, the political experience of the two parties gave rise to wide innovations in political communication and political language. On the other hand, neither the LN nor FI made use of an intense new-media communication strategy. The rise of Movimento Cinque Stelle (M5S) - Five Stars Movement - on the basis of Beppe Grillo’s blog and the citizens’ meet up experiences, dramatically changed the political communication of populist parties. The intensive exploitation of the resources offered by the internet and the 2.0 web, together with the M5S’s success in local and general elections, transformed both the Italian populist landscape and the perspectives of Italian political communication.