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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“The Italian Left and Foreign Policy” (Cambridge, 9th June 2014)

A conference on “The Italian Left and Foreign Policy” will be held in Cambridge (UK) on 9th June 2014. The interdisciplinary approach will be the main feature of the event that aims at bringing together established academics and young scholars from different fields (History, IR, Cultural Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Economics, etc.) in order to discuss the relationship between Italian left and foreign policy. The upcoming Italy’s European Semester Presidency Italian is a scenario that requires a detailed analysis of the transformations occurred to Italian parties and policies.

Among the topics on the agenda:

  • The Italian Left between Americanism and Anti-americanism: historical and contemporary perspectives
  • Internationalism and a national way: the Italian Left faces the world
  • European priorities of the Italian Left: change or continuity?
  • The Italian Left, foreign policy and the use of force
  • Exit geopolitics? Strategic priorities in and beyond the three circles
  • The Italian Left, civil society and foreign policy
  •  Proposals for a ‘progressive’ reform of the foreign policy machinery
  • Foreign policy and the politics of the Italian Left: bridge over troubled waters
  • The Italian Left and Foreign Policy in a Comparative perspective: insights from European cases.

Venus in Arms aims at attending the conference with a paper on Italian radical parties and defense policy in the post-Cold War era. An attempt to test (or better, to confute) the “polarization hypothesis” in the Italian case. For a look at previous ViA works on similar issues check out here (gated)

Unfortunately the deadline of the call for papers is already expired. But the event is extremely interesting, thus we suggest a brief tour to Cambridge.

The conference is organised by Elisabetta Brighi, Lilia Giugni, and Marta Musso, in cooperation with the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge, the Association for the Study of Modern Italy (ASMI) and the Cambridge Italian Research Network (CIRN).

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