Political Discussion in Italy between Mass Media and Ideology: Insights from the 2008 Election

27 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 15 Sep 2010

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Donatella Campus

University of Bologna

Cristian Vaccari

University of Bologna - Faculty of Political Science; Royal Holloway University of London

Luigi Ceccarini

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

This paper analyzes the role of political discussion during the 2008 election campaign with a special focus on how frequently Italians talk about politics, how important they consider political discussion by comparison with other channels of information, and how congruent their discussion networks are with their own political viewpoints. In particular, the paper will discuss the relationship between ideological self-placement and political discussion. Our findings point out that ideological alignments are significantly related to political discussion, and, more precisely, leftist and center-leftist leanings particularly encourage citizens to talk about politics. This can be explained by long-term structural factors, such as voters’ political socialization and a leftist voters’ greater predisposition for political participation. However, another possible line of explanation lies in the present outlook of the Italian political system. After Berlusconi took ‘the field’ and became leader of the centre-right, mass media have been increasingly perceived as biased and not trustworthy by leftist voters, who might have turned to interpersonal discussion as an alternative channel through which they can partially counterbalance a mass media landscape dominated by Berlusconi and the center-right. This may suggest that Italian center-left parties should try to advance progressive positions in those environments that emphasize political discussion either through traditional face-to-face communication or through the many interesting opportunities offered by the internet and new technologies.

Keywords: ideology, political discussion, Italian politics

Suggested Citation

Campus, Donatella and Vaccari, Cristian and Ceccarini, Luigi, Political Discussion in Italy between Mass Media and Ideology: Insights from the 2008 Election (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1642863

Donatella Campus (Contact Author)

University of Bologna ( email )

Strada Maggiore 45
Bologna, 40125
Italy

Cristian Vaccari

University of Bologna - Faculty of Political Science ( email )

Via Giacomo della Torre 5
Forli 47100, 40100
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.cristianvaccari.it

Royal Holloway University of London ( email )

Department of Politics and International Relations
Royal Holloway, University of London
Egham, Surrey TE20 0EX
United Kingdom

Luigi Ceccarini

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

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