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Mario Monti's Technocratic Government

Daniela Giannetti

This chapter provides an overview of the main features of the Italian government led by Mario Monti between 16 November 2011 and 21 December 2012. In particular, it deals with the technocratic composition of the government and the role played by Italy's head of state, Giorgio Napolitano, in the process of government formation. The chapter then analyzes the implementation of the government's policy agenda, trends in parliamentary support for the government, and government satisfaction among the Italian public. Finally, the chapter examines the termination of the Monti government and its survival as a caretaker government before the general elections of February 2013.

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Prime Minister Primaries: Candidate Selection between Innovation and Manipulation

Gianfranco Pasquino and Marco Valbruzzi

This chapter analyzes the processes of candidate selection in Italy for the main political parties facing the 2013 general election. In particular, the authors investigate and evaluate the primary elections organized, in November–December 2012, by the center-left coalition (composed of the Democratic Party, Left Ecology and Freedom, and the Italian Socialist Party) for the selection of the candidate to the office of president of the Council of Ministers. The chapter explores in detail the main issues at the center of the electoral campaign, the candidates involved in the process of selection, the socio-demographic profile of the “selectorate,” the electoral results of the primary elections, and their consequences for the consolidation of the Italian party system.

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Social Policy Reform in the Italian Debt Crisis: Pensions, Labor, Unemployment Benefits

Stefano Sacchi

This chapter deals with two momentous structural reforms introduced by the Monti government in the social policy field: the pension reform approved in late 2011 and the labor market reform passed in July 2012. Alongside discussing the content of these two reforms and their plausible policy impact, the chapter places them in the context of the Italian sovereign debt crisis and shows how they were introduced due to pressures exerted by international and supra-national actors. The analysis focuses in particular on the policy-making process of the labor market reform, reconstructing the various stages it went through. All this took place in the context of a new policy style by the Monti government, which forced decisions in the shadow of hierarchy and even took unilateral action, pursuing its policy objectives under the legitimacy provided by the international actors and the sense of urgency stemming from the sovereign debt crisis.

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The Spending Review: Use and Abuse of a Term

Chiara Goretti and Luca Rizzuto

The short, albeit intense, history of spending review in Italy ranks it as a primary tool of fiscal consolidation on the expenditure side. This chapter highlights the plurality of meanings given to the term “spending review” (SR), which include, on the one hand, analyses and procedures linked to the search for efficiency in the production of public services and, on the other hand, the reprioritization of public action and expenditure programs in light of the new, stricter budget constraints. In the Italian public debate, the introduction of SR procedures is closely related to the wider frame of budgetary and public management reforms that have been under way for a long time, yet are not fully implemented. The chapter analyzes the link between SR (whatever meaning it may have in Italy) and the comprehensive fiscal discipline that is required in the new European framework.

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When the Magic Wears Off: Bossi Loses His Grip and the League Its Appeal

Anna Cento Bull

This chapter examines the consequences of the financial scandal that engulfed the Northern League's inner circle—the so-called Magic Circle—made up of the party's leader Umberto Bossi, his family, and their most trusted friends. At the political level, the scandal brought to the fore a fight for the party's leadership, pitting Bossi against Roberto Maroni, the former minister of the interior, which ended with a clear victory for Maroni. At the electoral level, the party suffered a heavy defeat in the May 2012 local administrative elections, despite its opposition to the austerity measures introduced by the new Monti government. This chapter analyzes the significance of Maroni's victory in terms of the League's political style and policies. It also addresses the question of whether this party can once again reinvent itself and regain the support of the electorate in the North.

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The Work of Parliament in the Year of the Technocratic Government

Andrea Pedrazzani and Luca Pinto

In November 2011, when the Italian sovereign debt crisis reached its peak, the Berlusconi IV government was replaced by a “caretaker” cabinet headed by Mario Monti. Composed exclusively of non-partisan ministers, the Monti government represents a clear deviation from how parliamentary democracies are generally expected to work. This chapter analyzes the activity and functioning of the Italian Parliament during the 13 months in which Monti remained in office. Compared to the previous government, we find that, quantitatively, the legislative production between the two executives is not significantly different, although the legislative process during the Monti government appears to have been faster. Not surprisingly, from the qualitative point of view, the bills passed during the caretaker government focused mainly on economic topics. Our findings suggest that the apparent broad consensus on Monti's agenda masked important differences between the main parties that supported the government.

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A Year of Social Movements in Italy: From the "No TAVS" to the Five Star Movement

Lorenzo Mosca

This chapter looks at the most important actors engaged in social and political conflict in Italy during 2012, linking conflicts to policy arenas and the change in policy style of the government. The study is based mostly on a qualitative analysis of the most important national newspapers. The actors examined are the mobilization of students, the trade union movement, the “No TAV” movement (against high-speed trains in northwestern Italy), and the Five Star Movement, all active against the anti-austerity measures of the technical government. Social reaction against so-called neo-liberal policies in Italy has been belated and fragmented when compared with other European countries. In the final section we discuss the explanations for the particular characteristics of the Italian protest movements during 2012.

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The Year of the External Podestà

Aldo Di Virgilio and Claudio M. Radaelli

In an editorial published in the summer of 2011 in the Corriere della

Sera, Professor Mario Monti commented on the financial crisis of those

weeks and the pressures coming from the markets and from the European

institutions, making three points.1 The first was a criticism of the

Berlusconi government and its majority, which, “after claiming that it

had the ability to solve the country’s problems alone, and after turning

down the possibility of a shared effort alongside other political parties

to try to lift a discouraged Italy out of the crisis, … then actually

accepted … a super-national technical government.”

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After “A Youth on Fire“

The Woman Veteran in Iulia Drunina's Postwar Poetry

Adrienne M. Harris

The article uses Soviet poet Iuliia Drunina's deeply personal and o en autobiographical poetry as a lens through which to view the woman veteran's experience, especially during the time of the state-promoted cult of World War II and the erosion of the cult during perestroika. Gender and World War II remain consistent themes in Drunina's poetry, but in her oeuvre, one finds an evolution in how the poet-veteran relates to the war. From 1942 on, Drunina consciously assumed the role of the voice for women soldiers, but as the war receded into the past and the number of veterans dwindled, Drunina began to write more frequently on behalf of veterans of both sexes. This article details numerous war and gender-related themes: gendered otherness during the war, demobilization, stereotypes of women soldiers, the sacred nature of the war, the duty to remember, front-line friendship, and the persistence of the war in veterans' lives.

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Book Reviews

Linda L. Clark, Olga Gurova, Elena Bedreag, Daniela Koleva, Kristen Ghodsee, Roza Dimova, Evguenia Davidova, Maija Jäppinen, Tanja Petrović, Valentina Mitkova, Daniela Naydeva, Jelena Bakić, Irina Genova, Galina Goncharova, Michelle DenBeste, Katarina Loncarevic, Avital H. Bloch, Leda Papastefanaki, Olena Styazhkina, and Eszter Varsa

James C. Albisetti, Joyce Goodman, and Rebecca Rogers, eds., Girls' Secondary Education in the Western World: From the 18th to the 20th Century

Djurdja Bartlett, FashionEast: The Spectre That Haunted Socialism

Ioan Bolovan, Diana Covaci, Daniela Deteşan, Marius Eppel, and Elena Crinela Holom, eds., În căutarea fericirii. Viaţa familială în spaţiul românesc în secolele XVIII-XX (Looking for happiness. Family life in the Romanian territory from the eighteenth to the twentieth century)

Ulf Brunnbauer, “Die sozialistische Lebensweise“: Ideologie, Gesellschaft, Familie und Politik in Bulgarien (1944-1989) (“The socialist way of life“: Ideology, society, family and politics in Bulgaria [1944-1989])

Gerald Creed, Masquerade and Postsocialism: Ritual and Cultural Dispossession in Bulgaria

Krassimira Daskalova and Tatyana Kmetova, eds., Pol i Prehod, 1938-1958 (Gender and Transition, 1938-1958)

Evdoxios Doxiadis, The Shackles of Modernity: Women, Property, and the Transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Greek State (1750-1850)

Katalin Fábián, ed., Domestic Violence in Postcommunist States: Local Activism, National Policies, and Global Forces

Kristen Ghodsee, Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life after Communism

Liubov Krichevskaya, No Good without Reward: Selected Writings

Tomislav Z. Longinović, Vampire Nation: Violence as Cultural Imaginary

Ivana Panteli´, Partizanke kao građanke: društvena emancipacija partizanki u Srbiji, 1945-1953 (Female partisans as citizens: Social emancipation of female partisans in Serbia, 1945-1953)

Bojana Pejić, ERSTE Foundation and Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, eds., Gender Check: A Reader. Art and Theory in Eastern Europe

Christian Promitzer, Sevasti Trubeta, and Marius Turda, eds., Health, Hygiene and Eugenics in Southeastern Europe to 1945

Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, Equality and Revolution: Women's Rights in the Russian Empire, 1905-1917 Reviewed by Michelle DenBeste

Giulia Sissa, Sex and Sensuality in the Ancient World

Lidija Stojanovik-Lafazanovska and Ermis Lafanovski, The Exodus of the Macedonians from Greece: Women's Narratives about WWII and Their Exodus

Lex Heerma van Voss, Els Hiemstra-Kuperus, and Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, eds., The Ashgate Companion to the History of Textile Workers, 1650-2000

Galina I. Yermolenko, ed., Roxolana in European Literature, History and Culture

Susan Zimmermann, Divide, Provide, and Rule: An Integrative History of Poverty Policy, Social Policy, and Social Reform in Hungary under the Habsburg Monarchy