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Berlusconi’s Italy: A critical review

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Lawrence W.
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documents in English
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book reviews
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  1. Introduction
  2. Second chance for organizing electoral politics in Italy
  3. Development of the system
  4. Vital role of Berlusconi
  5. The rise of Forza Italia
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

E. Shin and John A. Agnew is in many ways about the notorious Silvio Berlusconi but it is actually more focused on Italy and its politics as a whole. It is about what the authors call the ?followership? of Berlusconi more so than his actual leadership. This book review will discuss the three main themes that the authors present in the book. The first theme of the book discusses how the new system of politics that developed in Italy has worked and operated, the second theme of the book discusses how the new parties mobilized the old voters from the old system, and the third theme is the role of Berlusconi in contemporary Italian politics. The themes revolve around the emergence of a new party system in Italy after 1992 when the old post-war system finally collapsed, and then what form this system has taken since. Many are roughly familiar with the form it has taken, as it has emerged from what the authors call ?polarized pluralism?. The old system was polarized because there was the Communist Party (PCI) and the Christian Democratic Party (DC), as well as other parties that circulated around the main parties particularly the DC who also needed these other smaller parties to help them gain enough votes to run the country - they had to make coalitions. The divide in the old system between the center and the communists created a situation where there was no alternation between left and right ? the DC always won.

[...] The 2008 movie Il Divo tells the story of a leader similar to Berlusconi who is the centre of everything politics and is the one that holds the system together. The third theme of the book is that there are these various aspects to Berlusconi that he skillfully uses to his political advantage. In this essay we have given a critical review of the book Berlusconi's Italy Mapping Contemporary Italian Politics. The authors discuss how politics in Italy has changed from its old system to its new system, and how Silvio Berlusconi [...]


[...] This critical review will examine the three themes in the book, and from this it will be clear that Berlusconi has come to shape all aspects of Italy's political system. It could otherwise be thought of as a second chance for organizing electoral politics in Italy as the old system collapsed. The 1993 referendum created a new electoral system in the country, one that heavily favored majoritarian politics and a much weaker proportional representation element. Before this time Italy had had a classic proportional representation system, but the new system imposed in 1993 made 75 percent of the seats single member seats in hopes that this would get the parties to make coalitions with each other before elections. [...]

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