The Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) Between Populism and Direct Democracy

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: 411
Distributed Paper
Michela SERRA , UniversitÓ La Sapienza di Roma, RC47 Social Classes ab, Italy
This article presents a study on the Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S), founded in Italy in 2009 by the comedian Beppe Grillo. The elections of February 2013, established the success of this movement that with a result of 25.5 per cent, has placed 163 members in Parliament between Deputies and Senators.

The Movimento 5 Stelle promotes initiatives to bring citizens at the center of public life through practices of direct democracy, while underlining the crisis of representation of the traditional political parties.

The study is aimed at understanding the political, social, cultural meanings of this movement and in particular it examines the way in which its members oppose to and are distinguished by the traditional parties, in facing and developing interventions through participation and direct democracy in the fields of interest of the movement, namely energy, water, waste collection, connectivity, social services.

The Movimento 5 Stelle will be analyzed through three dimensions: the space represented by the online Beppe Grillo’s blog, the online and off line meet-up tools and the institutional places. The work is also interested in showing the controversial elements of the movement in relation to the presence of a charismatic leadership, the intolerance towards dissenting voices, the emphasis on the democratic nature of the network, as well as some populist features  such as the opposition people versus Úlite, the simplification of the social and political reality.

The study suggests an interpretation of the Movimento  5 Stelle as a controversial political and cultural movement that in some ways can be considered populist.