the Northern League

  • Why Did Italian Democracy Become Vulnerable? Theorizing the Change from Neo- to Quasi-Militant Democracy

    Published online: 21 June 2021
    Final submission: 2 June 2021
    Printed issue: December 2021
    Author: Joanna Rak
    E-mail: joanna.rak@amu.edu.pl
    Institution: Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland)
    ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0505-3684
    Source: Show
    Page no: 11
    Pages: 51-61
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppsy202109
    PDF: ppsy/50/ppsy202109.pdf

    Embedded in scholarship on militant democracy, this research aims to explain how Italian legislation was positioned to militant democratic measures and how this changed over time. Drawing on the qualitative source analysis and the explanatory frameworks of democratic vulnerability tests two competing theory-grounded assumptions. While the first one assumes that Italian democracy became vulnerable when traditional militant democracy instruments were outmoded, the second considers the misuse or abandonment of those means with social consent as the source of vulnerability. The crisis-induced socioeconomic inequality and uncertainty weakened the Italian political nation. As a result, the latter supported populists in return for a promise of political change. The anti-democratic legal means employed to extend power competencies and prevent the exchange of ruling parties were the way to and the costs of the expected political change. At the same time, the political nation became unable to self-organize to strengthen democracy self-defense. As a result, Italians co-produced a quasi-militant democracy that turned vulnerable because militant democracy measures were misused or not used with the consent of Italians that relinquished their political subjectivity in favor of the Northern League and the Five Star Movement.

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