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Beyond the "Berlusconi Common Sense". A New Model of Politics for the 21st Century


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Speaker(s): Professor Paolo Mancini
Chair: Professor Terhi Rantanen

Recorded on 19 January 2010 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

Mostly outside Italy, there is a widespread common sense about Berlusconi and his political adventure: he has been able to enter successfully the political arena because of his television empire and because of his unclear links with illegal groups and business. This interpretation is undoubtedly true but it is also a limited one as it is not able to point out all the novelties that Berlusconi may represent. Indeed, the paper argues that the political adventure of the Italian tycoon may be interpreted as a signal of the end of the forms of politics that featured the last two centuries in Europe and that was constructed on the role of the mass parties and their ideological nature. This is not just an Italian phenomenon as many other European leaders underline striking similarities with the Italian Prime Minister. In particular three main features of the new forms of politics that these leaders represent are discussed: 1) commodification of politics; 2) life style politics; 3) televised politics. Examples from other political leaders and theoretical frameworks are provided.

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