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Writing Women's Lives: Auto/Biography, Life Narratives, Myths and Historiography

An International Symposium, 19–20 April 2014, Istanbul

Francisca de Haan

The Istanbul Women’s Library and Information Center Foundation, on occasion of its twenty-fourth anniversary, together with Yeditepe University organized the international symposium “Writing Women’s Lives: Auto/Biography, Life Narratives, Myths and Historiography,” which took place at Yeditepe University on 19–20 April 2014.

The symposium coordinators were Birsen Talay Keşoğlu, Vehbi Baysan, and Şefik Peksevgen, assisted by eleven more members of the Organizing Committee, including Aslı Davaz, director of the Istanbul Women’s Library.

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Abbreviations

List of abbreviations

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Abstracts

Abstracts

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The Big Chill: Italian Family Budgets after the Great Recession

Andrea Brandolini

Between 2007 and 2013, real per capita income and net wealth of Italian households fell by 13 and 10 percent, respectively. Unprecedented in the country's post-war record by size and duration, this deterioration of household finances was accompanied by more muted changes in inequality and relative poverty. Only absolute measures of consumption and income insufficiency surged. The more serious worsening of personal economic conditions for the young than for adults and, especially, the elderly is a disturbing legacy of the recessions of 2008–2009 and 2011–2013.

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The Center-Right in 2013: Evolution of the Parties and the Party System

Caterina Paolucci

The success of the Five Star Movement, with its anti-political and populist challenge to the establishment, did not lead to multipolar competition. Rather, it furthered a moderate bipolar party system dynamic between the center-left and center-right. Although it lost millions of votes, the center-right fared relatively well, allowing Silvio Berlusconi to regain a relevant position in the party-political game. Although stripped of his seat and expelled from the Chamber following a tax fraud conviction, Berlusconi realized, thanks also to the election of centrist Matteo Renzi as the new secretary of the Democratic Party (PD), that it would suit him better to moderate his claims. This new development may lead to an unexpected alliance between the PD and Berlusconi's revived personal party, Forza Italia, and may perhaps result in regaining the electorate lost to the M5S.

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Chronology of Italian Political Events, 2013

Rinaldo Vignati

Chronology of Italian Political Events, 2013

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Documentary Appendix

Valentina Sartori

This year’s documentary appendix adopts a different approach. In a

change from previous volumes, demographic, social, and economic

data are not included, since this information is now easily available

through the Internet. However, electoral data are provided as usual.

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The Election of the President of the Republic: The Legacy of the Napolitano Presidency

Francesco Clementi

This chapter describes the main events regarding the election of the president of the Republic and the legacy of Napolitano's presidency. The general elections of February 2013 resulted in political deadlock, with no party being able to form a government. In this context, the re-election of Napolitano was the key to finding a way to form a new government based on a “grand coalition” of opposing parties. This is the main reason why the presidential election stands out in importance in Italian politics in 2013. In his role as president, Napolitano focused on the necessity to achieve constitutional and political reforms through a widespread and solid agreement among disparate political forces, even if it meant breaking ideological taboos and overcoming vast political differences. This central achievement of Napolitano's new presidency adds to the legacy created in his preceding one.

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The Elections of 2013: A Tsunami with No Winners

Alessandro Chiaramonte

The Italian general elections held in February 2013 ended up in stalemate. The center-left coalition won the absolute majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies but not in the Senate, making it impossible to form any homogeneous governing majority. In the end, the only available opstion to support the new cabinet was a “grand coalition” of parties from different political sides. This chapter analyzes this destabilizing outcome, taking into account a number of factors: the success of a new anti-establishment party, the Five Star Movement, which has become the largest party in the country; the significant loss of votes by the center-left and especially by the center-right, compared to the previous elections of 2008; the peculiar nature and functioning of the electoral system; the extraordinary level of vote shifts; the “new” electoral geography; the crisis of the bipolar setting; and the transformation of the party system.

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A Fight to the Death: The Challenge of the Five Star Movement and the Democratic Party's Reactions

James L. Newell

Gauging the effectiveness with which the challenge of the Five Star Movement (M5S) has been met by other parties, especially the Democratic Party (PD), is essential to understanding the evolution of both the M5S itself and the party system. In the case of the PD, the first strategy—attempting to co-opt the M5S—was partially successful in that its overtures to the M5S opened up significant internal divisions in Beppe Grillo's party. The second strategy—competing for votes—was more successful thanks to the superiority of the PD's organization on the ground. The third—diminishing the challenger's political resources—met with mixed success. The events surrounding the 2 October confidence motion and the election of Matteo Renzi as prime minister suggest that the fourth strategy—reinforcement of the party's own political resources—was deployed to good effect. The overall result was to contain the M5S's growth but leave the future uncertain.