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A Morbid Democracy

Old and New Populisms

Series:

Monica Simeoni

The crisis of democracy in Europe and the inability of the political parties and élites to adequately meet the challenges of globalisation exposes the increasingly fragmented middle classes to the temptations of Euroscepticism, and, in some cases, xenophobia. This appears to be a portrait of contemporary reality, but the current crisis has deep roots. The Spanish thinker José Ortega y Gasset described the pathologies of the mass man and of the nascent democratic system as far back as the beginning of the twentieth century, in a significant text entitled Una democracia morbosa, which appears to foreshadow the present state of affairs. The crisis of the average man, the degradation and devaluation of culture appear to be the distinctive traits of the new, post-ideological democracy of our times, known as «audience democracy». The political parties, faced with this profound crisis, in some cases seek dangerous shortcuts through demagogic and rhetorical use of the term «people», while the charismatic figure of the leader gains in prestige as a reference model. Resentment, caused by lack of representation of the just demands of the citizens, can turn to anger and destabilise the institutions of democracy. There is therefore an urgent need for an inclusive Europe with a renewed welfare system, based around the citizenry and not the masses.
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Acknowledgements

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A book is never a solitary effort. For this one the reflections, ideas and opinions of friends and scholars who helped me on my way have proven extremely significant.

I am particularly grateful to Professors Roberto Cipriani, Ilvo Diamanti, Luigi Gui, Alfio Mastropaolo, Enzo Pace and Franco Vespasiano.

I am indebted to Pietro Biscuso for the research he carried out for me on the web.

I am particularly grateful to the Università degli Studi del Sannio for having contributed towards funding the original publication. ← 9 | 10 →← 10 | 11 →

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