Emanuele, V. (2015). Vote (de-) nationalisation and party system change in Italy (1948–2013). Contemporary Italian Politics, (ahead-of-print), 1-22.
The nationalisation of politics is a major political phenomenon deriving from the historical trend towards the formation of national electorates and party systems brought about by the progressive reduction in the significance of territorial cleavages. During the last 50 years, though the issue of vote nationalisation has been addressed by a large volume of literature, serious analysis of the Italian case has never made much progress, having been limited to the reflections of a few isolated authors. Over the past 20 years, a period marking the passage from the long period of polarised pluralism to the so-called ‘Second Republic’, the Italian party system has undergone profound changes, with the continuing emergence and growth of new political parties and a sharp increase in the levels of party fragmentation and volatility. How has nationalisation of the vote evolved in this changing framework? This article analyses the process of (de)-nationalisation of the vote in Italy and explains its evolution between the first (1948–1992) and the second (1994–2013) phases of the republican era, assessing the impact of various possible determinants. The empirical analysis shows that vote nationalisation in Italy is strongly associated with competition factors and with the level of institutionalisation of the party system.