Dr. Giorgia Bulli

Rhetoric or reality? Populist parties between communication overpromising and policy making

Zeit: 14.07.2021, 18-20 Uhr

In September 2018, four months after the creation of the first coalition in Italy between the right wing populist Lega (League) and the “pure populist” Movimento Cinque Stelle (M5S - Five Star Movement), the then speaker of the M5S, and Minister of Labour Luigi Di Maio announced the “abolition of poverty”. The resounding statement was pronounced from the balcony of the seat of the Italian government and received an extraordinary media coverage. The declaration announced the new economic course of the Italian government and the introduction of the new "citizens' income" provisions. After less than one and a half years, the coalition with the Lega collapsed, the "citizens’ income" norms can hardly be described as implemented, and the two parties are now supporting the new Cabinet led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi that followed the coalition between the M5S and the Partito Democratico (PD) established after the end of the “pure populist coalition”. 
The example above can be considered as the representation of the endemic crisis of political representation affecting Italy, as well as other European and non-European countries. Yet, it also can be understood as a typical manifestation of the populist overpromising strategy and of the difficulties that populist parties encounter when they face the passage from opposition to government. 
Starting from the scientific frameworks adopted to interpret populism and its relationship with the current forms of political communication, the talk will deal with the following questions: i) can populism be described as a communication strategy? ii) how does the populist rhetoric intercept the legitimation crisis that affects contemporary democracies? iii) how far are populist parties able to keep their promises in the policy making when they are in power, and how do they describe their political action in symbolic terms? 

Giorgia Bulli, University of Florence (giorgia.bulli(at)unifi.it

Giorgia Bulli is Lecturer in “Political Communication” and “Discourse Analysis” at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Florence, where she teaches “Political Communication” and “Discourse Analysis”. She is the author of publications in the field of poulist and right-wing parties and movements.  

·       Caterina Froio, Pietro Castelli Gattinara, Giorgia Bulli and Matteo Albanese (2020) CasaPound Italia. Contemporary extreme right politics, (Routledge, 2020). 

·       Giorgia Bulli (2020). The Long Evolution of Extreme Right Music in Italy and Germany. PARTECIPAZIONE E CONFLITTO, vol. 13, pp. 207-231, ISSN:2035-6609 

·       Giorgia Bulli (2019) CasaPound Italia’s cultural imaginary, Patterns of Prejudice, 53, 2019, 253-269,  

·      Giorgia Bulli (2019) Environmental politics on the Italian far right. Not a party issue?. In: Bernhard Forchtner. The Far Right and the Environment: Politics, Discourse and Communication, 88-103 Routledge 

·       Giorgia Bulli (2018). The populist representation of the people in the Italian ius soli political debate. The Lega Nord and the Movimento Cinque Stelle. In: Gregor Fitzi, Juergen Mackert, Bryan S. Turner. Populism and the Crisis of Democracy Volume 3: Migration, Gender and Religion, pp. 8-25 Routledge, London 

·       Giorgia Bulli (2017). Anti-Islamism and beyond: Pegida. MONDI MIGRANTI, vol. 2017, pp. 119-135,