The “Post-Modern” Populism in Italy: The Case of the Five Star Movement

The Many Faces of Populism: Current Perspectives

ISBN: 978-1-78350-258-5, eISBN: 978-1-78350-257-8

ISSN: 0895-9935

Publication date: 17 September 2014


The chapter analyzes the characteristics of a new political subject, the Five Star Movement, which arose in Italy in 2005 (as local civil lists), was officially constituted in 2009, and became the most voted-for party in the 2013 general election, when the country was hit by a strong surge of populism. This party was founded by the Italian comedian Beppe Grillo and launched via his Internet blog. The chapter will be divided into five parts: a brief introduction about the general context and a description of the Italian political framework and the general crisis of traditional parties, setting the scene from which the discussion will develop. Then, in Section “‘People against the Parties’: The Five Star Movement’s Populist Messages,” I will describe the global characteristics of the Five Star Movement, with an analysis of Grillo’s party communication style, especially its use of social media, its people call (with its enemies), and its mobilization strategies. In Section “Inside the Movement: The Party’s Structural Characteristics,” I will describe the party’s internal organization, in order to underline some controversial elements. In the conclusion I will hazard some hypotheses about the party’s destiny, compared to other populist examples.


Maria Elisabetta Lanzone (2014). 'The “Post-Modern” Populism in Italy: The Case of the Five Star Movement', The Many Faces of Populism: Current Perspectives (Research in Political Sociology, Volume 22). Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 53-78

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