Venus in Arms at the next BISA Conference: “Italian Foreign Policy and Radical Parties”

Venus in Arms will be at the 40th Anniversary BISA (British International Studies Association) Conference (London, 16th-19th June 2015).

Here you’ll find the programme and other details.

We will present the paper: “The Limits of Radical Parties in Coalition Foreign Policy: Italy, Hijacking, and the Extremity Hypothesis” (F.Coticchia and J.Davidson). The paper has been recently accepted by Foreign Policy Analysis for publication (forthcoming).

Here below the abstract:

Scholarly consensus increasingly suggests that coalition governments produce more extreme foreign policies than single party governments. This, the literature argues, is especially likely when coalition governments include radical parties that take extreme positions on foreign policy issues and are “critical” to the government’s survival, as the radical parties push the centrist ones toward the extremes. A look at Italy’s Second Republic center-left governments and decisions on military operations provides an important counterpoint to the extremity hypothesis. In three high profile cases of military operations–Albania 1997, Kosovo 1999, and Afghanistan 2006-08–Italy had a center-left government that depended on radical parties for its survival. In all cases the parties took a position against military operations but did not prevent the government from engaging in/continuing operations by threatening survival or forcing the government’s fall. Our paper seeks to explain the irrelevance of leftist radical parties in Italy’s Second Republic. We argue first that radical parties are reluctant to threaten or force government collapse as this can lead to a center right coalition coming to office and voters’ blame for the outcome. Second, we claim that relative salience has been critical: foreign policy has been less important to radical parties than domestic issues and it has been more important to center-left parties than radical ones. Finally, we argue that radical parties have appealed to their voters through theatrical politics (e.g., attending protests) and have affected the implementation of military operations.

See you in London

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