The Rise of the Invisible Majority

Thursday, July 13, 2017
JWS - Room J15 (J375) (University of Glasgow)
Emanuele Ferragina , Sociology, Sciences Po Paris
Alessandro Arrigoni , Social Policy & Intervention, University of Oxford
A second ‘Great Transformation’, encompassing four interconnected processes – the advent of neoliberalism, European monetary integration, the inadequacy of the old welfare state, and the debasement of social democracy – has dramatically modified the composition of Italian society. The paper establishes a link between this shift and the rise of an invisible majority. We define the invisible majority as a heterogeneous social group of 20 million potential voters, including the unemployed, precarious workers, NEETs, and low-income pensioners.These social categories constitute the majority of the Italian electorate, but their interests and, indeed, their very relevance seem invisible to mainstream politics. Critically using median voter theory and analyzing the first post-crisis Italian parliamentary election, we examine what we believe represents a first appearance of the invisible majority in the Italian public arena.