Francesco Andreani

MPhil title The Identity of the Italian Left

Having graduated in Contemporary History at the Università di Bologna and completed my studies with a Masters in Modern Philology at the same university, I’ve recently started a MPhil in Italian Politics here at the University of Birmingham. I’m currently working under the supervision of Dr Daniele Albertazzi.

Research project

In its history, Italy has had the most powerful Communist Party (PCI) in the western democratic world. In ’89, as a result of the consensus’ crisis and the breaking up of Soviet bloc, the PCI began a process of renewal which ended with the formation of Democratic Party of the Left (PDS). The Democrats of Left (DS), heirs of that party, and the centrist Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy (DL) created in ’07 a new political subject: the Democratic Party (PD).

The political union between these parties leads to two central questions, one historic and one about identity. First of all, the descendents of the two major antagonistic political forces in Italy during the Cold War join together. Moreover, the formation of a complex of shared values is even more problematic. The attempt of the PD has suffered two setbacks in both elections – ‘08 and ‘09. Punishing the PD, the electorate has awarded formations based on plain values and efficient communication. My hypothesis is that the question of identity is still important in Italian politics. This conducts us to question how the identity of the left has evolved from the end of the PCI onwards and if it is possible to consider it as the main cause of the present crisis.

In order to analyse this dynamic I have chosen to study a local case (i.e. the case of Bologna), because «examining a local reality can provide indications about vaster tendencies» (Allen, 1965). It must also be said that on a local scale the PCI proved a good administration and based on the success in the three “red regions” (Emilia-Romagna, Toscana, Umbria) it has its own myth of efficiency and administrative capacity. Inside the three red regions, Bologna has represented the flagship of the PCI and it has been internationally studied. This crisis transcends the local and national reality to rise to an international matter: how can this crisis be seen as the difficulty of the left in reorganizing its identity in a world where there is no more a bipolar dimension and the classic democratic model has been brought into question?