Sociology Open Lectures
Populist movements and parties have thrived in Southern Europe in recent years. Their success is often related to the influence of the financial crisis and its disastrous impact on the quality of life of ample sectors of the population throughout the region, that is, to demand-side variables emerging from an impoverished populations. This presentation reviews reaction to the crisis in Italy, Greece and Spain and examines why political outcomes have been markedly different in these three cases.
It argues that the success of populist formations needs also to be related to distinctive supply-side and contextual factors, that is, to opportunities newly available to political entrepreneurs on the basis of different institutional set-ups, political cultures and rival newcomers in the political market. The resulting structure of populist formations is described and compared. The analysis frames populism as a discursive strategy that selectively benefits populist formations in their attempt to expand their relevance as political representatives of disaffected groups of the population. It concludes by examining the relevance of these three case studies for other European countries.
Carlo Ruzza (MA SUNY, PhD Harvard) is Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Trento where he teaches courses on European Studies and Political Sociology. He has previously taught at the Universities of Leicester, Essex and Surrey, and was a Jean Monnet fellow at the European Institute in Florence. His research interests focus upon social movements, civil society organizations, human rights, populism and right wing parties. He is especially interested in processes of institutionalisation of social movements at EU level and has studied peace movements, environmental movements, ethno-nationalist movements, and EU-level public-interest associations, particularly those concerned with racism and xenophobia.
Other lectures in this series include:
- The broadening political scope of anti-politics in Britain
- Vertical: The city from satellites to bunkers
- We believe (think, plan), but who are 'we'?