Five Stars, Five Years, Five (Broken) Taboos

  • Fabio BordignonEmail author
  • Luigi Ceccarini


The Five-star Movement owes its success to, among other things, its capacity for breaking political taboos. It has been doing this through the nature of its communication styles, with its tendency to question the basic assumptions underlying the political game itself. The Movement became a party or rather, while remaining a ‘movement-party’ it reinforced the party element. This transformation has led it to break many of its own taboos, to question the traits that had made it distinctive when it first emerged. The need to present itself as a potentially governing actor drove the M5s to redefine the nature of its internal organisation and its relations with the mass media, to revise the substance of its political message and its approach to democracy. Finally, its success at the 2018 elections has since led it to question the ultimate, and potentially the most insidious, taboo: the taboo against the formation of alliances, which was broken in the aftermath of 4 March with the contract for government agreed with the League.


  1. Bordignon, F., and L. Ceccarini. 2013. Five Stars and a Cricket: Beppe Grillo Shakes Italian Politics. South European Society and Politics 4: 427–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bordignon, F., and L. Ceccarini. 2014. The 5 Star People and the Unconventional Parliament. Studia Politica: Romanian Political Science Review 4: 675–692.Google Scholar
  3. Bordignon, F., L. Ceccarini, and I. Diamanti. 2018. Le divergenze parallele. Rome and Bari: Laterza.Google Scholar
  4. Calise, M. 2016. La democrazia del leader. Rome and Bari: Laterza.Google Scholar
  5. Ceccarini, L. 2018. Un nuovo cleavage? I perdenti e i vincenti (della globalizzazione). In Le divergenze parallele, ed. F. Bordignon, L. Ceccarini, and I. Diamanti, 56–82. Rome and Bari: Laterza.Google Scholar
  6. Ceccarini, L., and F. Bordignon. 2016. The Five Stars Continue to Shine: The Consolidation of Grillo’s ‘Movement Party’ in Italy. Contemporary Italian Politics 2: 131–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ceccarini, L., and F. Bordignon. 2017. Referendum on Renzi: The 2016 Vote on the Italian Constitutional Revision. South European Society and Politics 3: 281–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ceccarini, L., and F. Bordignon. 2018. Verso il partito 5 stelle. In Politica in Italia. I fatti dell’anno e le interpretazioni, ed. C. Forestiere and F. Tronconi, 89–111. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  9. Chadwick, A. 2017. The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Curini, L. 2018. Corruption, Ideology, and Populism: The Rise of Valence Political Campaigning. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. Keane, J. 2009. The Life and Death of Democracy. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  12. Kitschelt, H. 2006. Movement Parties. In Handbook of Party Politics, ed. R.S. Katz and W. Crotty, 278–290. Thousand Oaks: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kriesi, H., E. Grande, R. Lachat, M. Dolezal, S. Bornschier, and T. Frey. 2006. Globalization and the Transformation of the National Political Space: Six European Countries Compared. European Journal of Political Research 6: 921–956.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lanfrey, D. 2011. Il movimento dei grillini tra meetup, meta-organizzazione e democrazia del monitoraggio. In I Nuovi Media, nuova politica? Partecipazione e mobilitazione online da MoveOn al Movimento 5 stelle, ed. L. Mosca and C. Vaccari, 143–166. Milano: Franco Angeli.Google Scholar
  15. Lanzone, M.E., and F. Tronconi. 2015. Between Blog, Social Networks and Territory: Activists and Grassroots Organization. In Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement: Organisation, Communication and Ideology, ed. F. Tronconi, 53–73. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  16. Maestri, G. 2017. Il “nuovo” M5S: la terza associazione, con simbolo in prestito. 30 December.
  17. Mauro, E. 2018. Il premier “altrui” e il richiamo della foresta. la Repubblica, May 28.Google Scholar
  18. Mosca, L. 2018. Democratic Vision and Online Participatory Spaces in the Italian Movimento 5 Stelle. Acta Politica, June 1–18.Google Scholar
  19. Mudde, C. 2004. The Populist Zeitgeist. Government and Opposition 4: 541–563.Google Scholar
  20. Mudde, C., and C. Rovira Kaltwasser. 2017. Populism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Newell, J.L. 2000. Parties and Democracy in Italy. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  22. Nizzoli, A. 2012. Il Grillo “silente”. La comunicazione del Movimento 5 Stelle nelle amministrative. Comunicazione Politica 3: 525–532.Google Scholar
  23. Nizzoli, A. 2013. Tanta televisione e nessun confronto. In Un salto nel voto, ed. I. Diamanti, F. Bordignon, and L. Ceccarini, 150–166. Rome and Bari: Laterza.Google Scholar
  24. Rosanvallon, P. 2008. Counter-Democracy: Politics in an Age of Distrust. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [tr. it. (2012), Contro democrazia. La politica nell’era della sfiducia. Roma: Castelvecchi].Google Scholar
  25. Tronconi, F. (ed.). 2015. Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement: Organisation, Communication and Ideology. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Economia, Società, PoliticaUniversity of Urbino Carlo BoUrbinoItaly

Personalised recommendations