Synopses & Reviews
Not a Normal Country explores Italian politics and culture in the era of Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's richest man and one of its longest serving Prime Ministers. Based on interviews with leading figures, diaries of key events and his extensive travel throughout Italy, Geoff Andrews argues that the Berlusconi phenomenon was a populist response to widespread cynicism about politics. Berlusconi posed as an 'anti-politician' and attempted to extend his success as a salesman into his role as a statesman.
However, as the second part of the book shows, a new opposition began to challenge Berlusconi's grip on power. This is the first book to address Berlusconi's decline and the nature of the movements which grew in response, including the anti-global protests at Genoa in 2001, less conventional ones like the girotondi, led by the film director Nanni Moretti, and the revival of civil society in some of the remotest corners of southern Italy. According to Andrews, this new associationism helped rebuild Italian politics in ways beyond the imagination of political parties.
Finally, Andrews looks to the future and, through the varied examples of anti-mafia protest in Sicily, the huge demonstrations for peace and the Slow Food movement, asks what this richer 'postmodern' mix of politics, culture and ideology will mean for Italy after Berlusconi.
Geoff Andrews has written widely on Italian and British politics. His books include Endgames and New Times: The Final Years of British Communism (Lawrence and Wishart 2004). He is Staff Tutor in Politics at the Open University and an associate editor of Surroundings.
'I know of no book in English dedicated with such focus and depth on Berlusconis politics. ... Geoff Andrew's grasp of political culture is profound and reflective.' --Gino Bedani, Research Professor in Italian, University of Swansea '[Andrews provides] unusually penetrating insights ... Beautifully written.' --Jim Newell, Reader in Politics, University of Salford
A gripping account of modern Italian politcs that gets inside the Berlusconi phenomenon.
Not a Normal Country explores Italian politics and culture in the era of Silvio Berlusconi, Italys richest man and one of its longest serving prime ministers. Geoff Andrews argues that the ‘Berlusconi phenomenon was a populist response to widespread cynicism towards politics. Berlusconi posed as an ‘anti-politician, and based his appeal on his virtues as a salesman rather than a statesman. The second part of the book discusses the varied opposition to Berlusconi. This ranges from the anti-global demonstrations in Genoa in 2001 to unconventional protests such as the Girotondo movement led by the film director Nanni Moretti. According to Andrews, this new associationism has helped rebuild Italian politics. Finally, Andrews looks to the future and, through the examples of anti-mafia protests in Sicily as well as opposition to the Americanisation of Italian culture, considers the prospects for the new post-Berlusconi Italy.
Addresses some of the most crucial questions of the current era. Dowd brings formidable qualities to this challenging task. An impressive achievement.' Noam Chomsky
About the Author
Douglas Dowd is a widely respected academic and political activist. He has taught at Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, University of California, Berkeley, and San Jose State University and is currently teaching at the University of Modena in Italy. He is the author of Capitalism and its Economics (Pluto, 2004).
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgements
Map of Italy
Introduction: Not a Normal Country
Section One: Berlusconi and Friends
1 From Salesman to Statesman: The Postmodern Populism of Silvio Berlusconi
2 History Matters: The Battle for the Memory of Monte Sole
3 Bossi's Last Shout
Section Two: The Remaking of Politics
4 The Failure of the Italian Third Way and the Return of Ideology
5 Italy's New Opposition
6 The South Strikes Back
Section Three: Another Italy?
7 Civic Renaissance in Sicily
8 Slow Food in the Fast Lane