Over the last few decades anti-politics - that is, the discourse of leaders who oppose the political establishment and accuse it of paralysis, ineptitude, and corruption - has spread so widely that it now seems an almost "normal" feature of democracy. This leads one to wonder -- as Donatella Campus does in this volume - whether anti-politics is a mere exercise in demagogy or can become a tangible tool of government, a means for transforming the political system. In the latter case, fundamental qualities of an anti-political stance are the ability to use mass media, especially television, as a platform for fostering citizens' identification with a strong, effective leadership. The author's analysis is based on a comparison of three leaders - De Gaulle, Reagan, and Berlusconi - who, initially defined as outsiders, went on to play major roles in government and deeply affect their respective countries' politics. The book leads the reader to a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of anti-politics and supplies an overview of Silvio Berlusconi's political career in order to gauge his, actual or alleged, exceptional nature.
Donatella Campus teaches Political Science at the University of Bologna (Forlì Campus).