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Culture, Values and Social Basis of Northern Italian Centrifugal Regionalism. A Contextual Political Analysis of the Lega Nord

Abstract : The Lega Nord intended to create a party which represented the whole of the northern regions, capable to defend their interests and culture. If we examine the profile of people that voted for the Lega Nord, we find some discordant features compared to the project. A large majority of the party's electorate naturally supports federalism and devolution. However, the party's electorate paradoxically displays value trends and convictions that, for many aspects are in countertendency compared to the population of northern Italy, and much closer to those of the southern electorate. The relationship between the Lega Nord and northern society remain ambivalent and the party is unable to represent the whole of value instances that its citizens consider most important. Bossi's party gave only partly expression to the dominant ideas and values in northern Italy. It would seem a quite strange paradox for a regionalist party born to draw attention to the northern question. A paradox which is all interior to political dynamics, where actors interact in a complex way, considering the context in which they are included, that binds them, but doesn't determine them: far from being the expression of a homogeneous territory as regards culture and values, the Lega Nord is a particular political actor that builds its own identity by selecting themes and questions to represent. On the other hand, the North presents some very noteworthy interior differences both in territorial and socio-cultural terms; even if in the last years some converging dynamics are emerging around the medium enterprise model with long networks. Centrifugal regionalism reveals deep conflicts not only between territories, but also and above all, within the same regional territory, of the same "regional culture", showing this way the value heterogeneity internal to every territory. The Lega was able to intercept and mobilize a specific type of electorate - present above all in particular territorial contexts and within the popular and less educated sectors of the population - that on the point of view of values, of public spirit and of social attitudes, is distinguishable from the prevailing trends within the northern population and resembles the most diffused ones in the South. The Lega Nord was able to obtain support especially in these areas, by reinforcing fears, prejudices and some specific value trends of its inhabitants. By acting in such way, however, it progressively mobilized around a number of political matters quite distinctive different from the territorial ones, engaging itself rather in the defence of identity and national frontiers. The chapter presents inedit analysis and new survey data
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Roberto Biorcio, Tommaso Vitale. Culture, Values and Social Basis of Northern Italian Centrifugal Regionalism. A Contextual Political Analysis of the Lega Nord. Contemporary Centrifugal Regionalism: Comparing Flanders and Northern Italy, Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts Press, pp.171-199, 2011. ⟨hal-01044408⟩



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