Pride without Prestige

The Northern League focused on the civilizational divide between an abstract idea of Europe, Mitteleuropa (Central Europe)–the superior trans-alpine North in the international order of things– which represents a high culture with its implied Germanic and supposedly high race, and the rest of the world, especially Muslims and Africans who are constructed as uncivilized, primitive, and violent. Framing themselves as Europeans as opposed to immigrants, not only compensate for their prestige deficit but also satisfy their bourgeoisie ideology that is based on a self-perception of being civilized, pure, hard-working, and therefore rich people, thereby rescuing them from the label of being a quasi-member of the global precariat.

Populism and the Conundrums of Democracy in Italy

As we approach the General Elections in Italy, the possibility that either of the two populist parties will take part in the government haunts the Italian—and indeed the European—political establishment, both of which frame the election in the bogus terms of populists threatening to supplant liberal values.