Italian Politics: The Return of Politics

Italian Politics: The Return of Politics

Italian Politics: The Return of Politics

Italian Politics: The Return of Politics

Synopsis

At the core of the author's concern stands the question of cultural transmutation in an era riddled with media channels and all-embracing messages. Fragments of the Israeli experience are pieced together in this provocative essay to provide a socio-anthropological agenda for some of the issues involved in the manufacturing of items of symbolic solidarity and common national imagery in an epoch of social disunification and cultural pastiche. The author argues that even though the aesthetic forms of major cultural idioms have unrecognizably altered and are accommodated to befit the shape and style of post-modern living, the basic programs underlying them have remained immutable. Furthermore, it is the quality of adaptability to changing aesthetic conventions that allow such symbolic corner-stones to be left unturned. The case of the youth culture is chose here as a yardstick for examining the double voice of such process - the global versus the tribal.

Haim Hazan is Professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Tel Aviv University.

Excerpt

David Hine and Salvatore Vassallo

1998 should have been the year in which Italian political life entered the realm of 'European normality'. The Prodi government's success in securing participation in European Monetary Union was expected by many to consolidate Italy's standing as a reliable and respected partner among the major states of the Union. At the same time, the government should have been strengthened by the credibility this achievement gave it in the eyes of public opinion, and this in turn ought to have underwritten the political stability necessary to push forward the process of institutional reform. Convergence with European standards at the institutional level was the declared aim of the Bicamerale (the Bicameral Commission on Institutional Reform). Under the chairmanship of Massimo D'Alema, the Bicamerale was expected to exploit Italy's renewed international credibility and governmental stability to secure the long-elusive goal of wide-ranging constitutional reform.

On 25 March 1998, both the European Commission and the European Monetary Institute reported that Italy had made sufficient progress towards fulfilment of the criteria for economic and monetary convergence laid down in the Maastricht Treaty to qualify her for first-wave membership of monetary union. However, neither this, nor other achievements credited to the Prodi government, were enough to secure the political and institutional devel-

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