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‘Alternation? What alternation?’ The second republic and the challenge of democratic consolidation

Edwards, Phil (2015) ‘Alternation? What alternation?’ The second republic and the challenge of democratic consolidation. Bulletin of Italian politics, 3 (2). pp. 319-342. ISSN 1759-3077

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Abstract

The concept of ‘transition’ has been widely used an analytical frame for understanding the continuing turbulence of the Italian political system since the fall of the First Republic. Critics argue that, after nearly two decades of ‘transition’ and with no endpoint in sight, the model has lost its explanatory force. In this paper I argue that the ‘transition’ perspective represents a political reality - a coherent set of expectations and pressures, widely acknowledged by Italian political actors - and one which the Italian Left, in particular, cannot afford to ignore. In terms of timescale, I argue for the continuing relevance of the ‘democratic consolidation’ model and suggest that the Italian Republic has been ‘in transition’ since 1948.

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