Challenges to Consensual Politics: Democracy, Identity, and Populist Protest in the Alpine Region

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Daniele Caramani, Yves Mény
Peter Lang, 2005 - Political Science - 257 pages
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The book analyses the transnational Alpine region where historical, social, and geo-economic specificities have led to a distinctive type of democracy and identity. Differentialist identities, multi-level consociational accommodation, and corporatist intermediation are typical features of this region's «consensual politics», and the process of European integration adds further to this complexity. These forms of consensual politics are challenged today by large and persistent populist parties that express strong anti-elitist sentiments, local identities, and Euro-sceptic attitudes.
The book examines the defensive reaction of populist parties to the perceived threats of open borders (multi-culturalism and cheap labour) and elite negotiations (at all levels of governance). Protest attitudes translate into alternative views of European integration favouring proposals for an anti-assimilationist and labour protective «Fortress», as well as a religiously-based «Europe of the People». The book considers the possibility of a potential cleavage in the incipient European party system through alliances of «losers of integration» cutting across the left-right alignment and overlapping with ethno-linguistic, centre-periphery, religious, and rural-urban factors that survived in the Alpine region more than elsewhere.
An empirical analysis by a group of international experts focuses on the Alpine areas of Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland in which parties like FPÖ, CSU, Lega Nord, and Schweizerische Volkspartei have recently become crucial actors.

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Preface and Acknowledgements
Consensus and European Integration
Part I
Populism as the Other Side
The Alpine Political
Leadership Ideology and AntiEuropean
The Swiss SVP the Italian Lega Nord and the Austrian FPO
Once Again the Deviant Case?
The Sudtiroler Volkspartei
MultiLevel Populism and CentrePeriphery
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About the author (2005)

The Editors: Daniele Caramani has recently joined the University of Birmingham. During the making of this book he was a research professor at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research. He taught previously in Florence and Geneva, and has been a fellow of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (EUI). He is the author of the book and CD-ROM Elections in Western Europe since 1815 (2000) and The Nationalization of Politics (2004) awarded the Stein Rokkan Prize in Comparative Social Science.
Yves Mény is President of the European University Institute (Florence). Previously, he was the founding director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (EUI) and professor at the Universities of Rennes, Paris 2, and the Institut d'Études Politiques (Paris). His recent publications include Par le Peuple, Pour le Peuple: Le Populisme et les Démocraties, co-authored with Yves Surel (2000), and The Future of European Welfare, co-edited with Martin Rhodes (1998).

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