The Italian Way to Migration: Was It ‘True’ Populism? Populist Policies as Constitutional Antigens

  • Simone PenasaEmail author
Part of the Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century book series (CDC)


Migration as a global, European and national phenomenon undoubtedly represents a privileged context where populism may be expressed. The management of migration flows involves reference to legal concepts which are traditionally related to populist trends: national security, border defence, national identity and culture. The assessment of the ‘constitutional sustainability’ of populist policies implemented within the Italian legal context is conducted in the chapter, as well as their compatibility with European standards and other national experiences. The trend to implement a populist narrative in particular is considered, intended as the will of the political majority to introduce both effective and ‘symbolic’ pieces of legislation able to convey a legal—but also cultural—message grounded on the rhetoric of the separation between ‘Us’ and the ‘Others’. The influence of populism over migration management is intended to be a key issue within which the traditional confrontation between the legality expressed by the political power and the legitimacy guaranteed at the constitutional level takes place. Therefore, the chapter aims to address the following question: What is the sustainable level of populist policies within a constitutional legal order?


Populism Migration National security Border defence 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TrentoTrentoItaly

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