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Studia Politica, vol. XVII, no. 4, 2017


SORINA SOARE, MORENO STAMBAZZI, La démocratie au temps des populismes : acteurs et perspectives en France et en Italie. Quelques paroles introductives. (Democracy in Times of Populisms: Actors and Perspectives in France and Italy: Introductory Remarks) (pp. 475-477) 

SORINA SOARE - LecturerUniversity of Florence,
MORENO STAMBAZZI - Ph.D. Candidate, University of Florence and University of Turin, 


GUY HERMET, Histoires des populismes (A Brief History of Populism) (pp. 481-490) 

This introductory article presents a short overview of the evolution of populism since the late-19th century forms to the most recent Western European formulas. Starting from a short conceptual inquiry, the article provides a precise analytical picture of the different changes in the form and content of populism across time and space. Previously connected with radical right formulas, the article illustrates how different new populist parties have partly embraced a left-wing program such as in the case of Podemos in Spain or La France insoumise in the French case. The last part of the article provides possible scenarios for the future. In particular, despite the recent evolutions in the Austrian, Dutch and French elections, the analysis stresses the fact that the populist mood has progressively influenced traditional politics (i.e. the topic of immigration, the search of charismatic figures, the questioning of representative democracy). The article concludes with an open question about the future of a populist from below.
populism, origins, radical left, radical right, Europe.

GUY HERMET, Professor, Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris,

MARCO TARCHI, Un prince et une chaussure : où est-elle la princesse ? Le « complexe de Cendrillon » dans la science politique cinquante ans après (A Prince and a Shoe: Where is the Princess? The “Cinderella complex” in Political Science, Fifty Years Later) (pp. 491-516) 
Fifty years later, the concept of populism is still plagued by the disorder that Isaiah Berlin labelled as the “Cinderella complex”, meaning there is a shoe, the shape of populism, but no foot to fit it or almost none. In order to go beyond this ironic situation, the analysis claims it is necessary to
avoid seeing populism as a form of ideology characterized by a certain degree of internal coherence. Similarly, it considers it is necessary to avoid reducing populism to a simple rhetorical and demagogic style every political actor can use according to his/her needs. If we adopt a 
comparative perspective, take into account the populism’s most recent manifestations and search for their lowest common denominator, we can identify the elements of a psychological predisposition that, in line with Theodor Geiger and Juan Linz, can be considered the basis of a
characteristic mentality. Within this context, this article aims to identify the specific elements belonging to this mentality and to include them in a definition able to cover the multiplicity of meanings given to the word “people”. Finally yet importantly, this definition aims to shed light on the nature of the relationship between populism and democracy.
populism, people, democracy, ideology, mentality.

MARCO TARCHI, Professor, University of Florence,

FLAVIO CHIAPPONI, Personnalisation et leadership. Le cas du Mouvement Cinq Étoiles (Personalisation and Leadership: the case of Five Star’ Movement) (pp. 517-540) 
The article draws a characterisation of the late comer among the Italian populist parties, the Five Star’ Movement, led by the ancient comedian Beppe Grillo. Starting with a definition of what he means by “political personalisation”, the Author first describe this party as a political organisation in which the leader masters all the key areas – notably, communication, rules setting, and resolution of internal conflicts. Then, he argue that the Five Star Movement is a “personalist party”, in which Beppe Grillo embodies a powerful but non-charismatic leader. In the closing section, the Author tries to shed light above the probable evolutions of the party, particularly dealing with its institutionalisation process.
            populism, political personalization, leadership, personalist party.

FLAVIO CHIAPPONI, Assistant Professor, University of Pavia,

CECILIA BIANCALANA, Désintermédiation et populisme. L’emploi d’internet par le Mouvement 5 Étoiles (Disintermediation and Populism: The Use of the Internet of the Five Star Movement) (pp. 541-559) 
Disintermediation, that is the process of removing an intermediary from a relationship, is an increasingly relevant phenomenon in contemporary societies, also fostered by the diffusion of new technologies. In the political field, disintermediation processes can be seen in the trend towards (apparently) more direct and immediate forms of political mediation. The adversity towards mediations, whether of structural or procedural nature, is an invariant feature of populist manifestations: populists seem to be the best interpreters of disintermediation processes, because of the correspondence between certain features of populism and the characteristics of new technologies. The aim of this article is threefold. First, it will define the concept of political disintermediation. Second, it will analyse the connection between the concept of disintermediation and populism, and the relationship between the internet and populism. Finally, through this interpretative framework, it will examine the case of the Five Star Movement, in particular its use of the Internet.
populism, disintermediation, Five Star Movement, Internet, Italy.

CECILIA BIANCALANA, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Turina and University of Lausanne,

SELIM NADI, Front Populaire ou Front Populiste ? Les communistes français, le peuple et les colonies (Popular Front or Populist Front? French Communists, the People and the Colonies) (pp. 561-574) 
This article focuses on a very specific issue: the French left and its concept of people. More specifically, it aims to map the way this concept evolved in the period of the Popular Front and the challenges due to the colonial issue. More specifically, as the French historian René Gallissot
writes, the 1930s and the fascist threat in Europe have contributed to a new theoretical understanding of the people by the French Communist Party. This new understanding means that the pluralistic concept of “people” – namely the “oppressed people of the colonies” – was replaced by the concept “the French people”. While the concept of “people” was used in order to stress the internationalism of French communists in the 1920s and early 1930s, with the Popular Front, this concept evolved and had an important impact on what has been called the social-chauvinistic turn of the French Communist Party (i.e the absence of support for the anticolonial movements). However, it is true that this question is not specific to the French Communist Party only; similar behaviours have been chronicled in the cases of the US and British communist parties. Despite this caveat, the article illustrates how the study of the “populist” dimension of the French Communist Party can provide a better understanding of the complex relations between the Left and the colonial question.
          colonialism, France, Communist Party, Popular Front, social chauvinism.

SELIM NADI, Ph.D. Candidate, Centre d’histoire at Sciences Po (Paris) and Universität Bielefeld,

SORINA SOARE, MORENO STAMBAZZI, Y-at-il quelque chose de pourri dans la démocratie contemporaine ? La vision des populismes contemporains (France et Italie) (Is there Something Rotten in the Contemporary Democracy? The Vision of Contemporary Populisms [The French and the Italian Cases]). (pp. 575-608) 
Frequently considered a catch-all concept aiming to stigmatize political opponents, populism seems to be the political buzzword of the new century across Europe. Within this context, this article aims to map the way in which different interpretations of the idea of “people” influence
the populists’ critique of contemporary representative democracies. The analysis starts from an outline of the theoretical challenges linked to the concept of populism. Following these conceptual delimitations, the theoretical overview provides the background for the operationalization of the concept of “people” and of “populism”. The empiric part is focused on four case studies: France Insoumise (Unbowed France), Front National (National Front), Movimento 5 Stelle (Five Stars Movement) and Lega Nord (North League). The analysis uses qualitative content analysis of the most recent public documents provided by the parties under scrutiny. The main conclusion is that the three concepts of the people have a major impact on the way the four populist parties relate themselves to democracy and the type of reforms of the traditional representative democracy they take into consideration.
          populism, democracy, Five Stars Movement, North League, Front National, France Insoumise.

SORINA SOARE - Lecturer, University of Florence,

MORENO STAMBAZZI - Ph.D. Candidate, University of Florence and University of Turin,