Comparative European Politics

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 280–295 | Cite as

The Italian anomaly?

  • Donald Sassoon
Original Article


In Italy, the term ‘anomalia’ is used by critics of the Italian political system to lament the alleged lack of maturity and modernity of the country. In other countries, such as Great Britain, the United States and France, the term ‘exceptionalism’ is used to highlight, often in a complimentary way, the particularity of the country. This article reviews some of the uses of the term in Italian politics particularly with regard to the hegemony – for the first 40 years or so of the so-called First Republic – of the Christian Democratic Party and the weight of the Italian Communist Party. This tends to highlight problems of coalition-making and alternance of parties in government instead of the true ‘anomaly’, namely, the existence of an unusually strong criminal organization, the mafia or the problems affecting the Italian model of development.


Christian Democracy anomaly exceptionalism Communist Party small and medium enterprises organized crime mafia 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Sassoon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryQueen Mary, University of LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

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