Marco Guglielmo

Floating (On) Platforms? European Left Parties and the Digital Revolution. A Gramscian Analysis

Supervisors: Dr David J Bailey, Professor Daniele AlbertazziMarco Guglielmo

Many scholars argued that European Left Parties were facing major ideological and electoral crises during the 2010s. At the same time, the ‘digital revolution’ reshaped social relations in multiple ways. Data accumulation and management became the cornerstone prompting new modes of production, consumption and communication. These processes would open new spaces of political opportunities for progressive politics. My thesis addresses this puzzle by seeking answers to how have Left Parties changed their ideologies and strategies in response to the digital revolution. 

The thesis follows a Gramscian approach by understanding the ‘digital’ as a space of confrontation for political hegemony. The research is a cross-case comparison of six Left Parties -both Radical and Social Democratic- in France, Italy and Spain and it is articulated in three steps. 

First, the thesis devises a typology of ‘digitally proactive’ ideologies, by looking at how parties’ manifestos address the transformations brought about by digital technologies in the fields of economy and politics. Second, through the analysis of 36 interviews with parties’ officers and 30 sources of textual data, I looked at instances of hegemonic or counter-hegemonic strategies by parties’ elites.Third, the thesis devises a typology of hegemonic and counter-hegemonic strategies in response to the digital revolution and explores how these strategies fitted at the juncture between structural constraints imposed by platform capitalism and the spaces of possibilities for the parties.


  • Master – with honour- Expert in Politics and International Relations, LUMSA University Rome (Italy)
  • Laurea – with honour-  Political Science -Roma Tre University (Italy)


Marco has a passion for politics and social change since he started as a student activist and rep for his high school.

Later on, he got a job as the chief of party organisation on a regional level as regional MP assistant. However, he felt unsatisfied with certain trends of institutional politics, and chose to leave that path.

At that point, by finalising his Masters in Political Science, in Rome, he was interested in research on politics, as a different perspective through which to analyse societal change.

This path led him to start his PhD at University of Birmingham, in October 2018.

Research Interets

  • Digital Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • European Politics

Teaching responsibilities

  • Introduction to Political Theory
  • Social Science Research I (School of Social Policy)
  • Understanding Politics
  • Politics as Vocation

Professional memberships

Conference Papers

  • Political Studies Association (PSA) Conference, April 2022. Online Paper presented: ‘Back to the Margins? Radical Left Parties’ Strategies during Covid-19 crisis in France and Italy’
  • International Political Science Association (IPSA) World Congress, July 2021, Online. Paper presented: ‘La France Insoumise on the digital, between direct and reactive democracy’.
  • European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Joint Sessions, April 2021, Online. Paper presented: ‘People, Class, Democracy. Reclassifying Left-wing Ideologies from Popular Socialism to Neoliberal Populism’
  • ECPR General Conference, Wroclaw (Poland), September 2019
  • Paper presented: ‘Floating on Platforms. An Assessment of Ideological Uncertainties among Left-Wing Digital Parties’
  • PSA Conference “The Crisis of European Social Democracy”, Genoa (Italy), June 2019. Paper presented: ‘Losing the Future? European Social Democracy and the Challenges of the Digital Revolution’


  • Guglielmo, M. (2021) "Anti party digital parties. Between direct and reactive democracy. The case of La France Insoumise" in Barberà, O., Sandri, G. Correa, P. and Rodríguez-Teruel, J. (eds) Digital Parties. The challenges of online organisation and participation. Cham, Springer. 
  • Ward, B. and Guglielmo M. (2021). Pop-socialism: a new radical left politics? Evaluating the rise and fall of the British and Italian left in the anti-austerity age. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations. September 2021. doi:10.1177/13691481211044643 

Guglielmo, M. and Libbi, M. (2020). Capitalising Social-Socializing Capital? Le narrative accademiche sulla Social Entrepreneurship: un’analisi critica dei contenuti politico-ideologici. Impresa sociale, 1, 47-67.