Towards a new era of regionalism in Italy? A comparative perspective on autonomy referendums

Arianna Giovannini, Davide Vampa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Referendums on regional autonomy are rare events in European politics but are likely to produce important political and institutional effects. This article provides the first systematic account of the autonomy referendums held in October 2017 in Lombardy and Veneto (Italy), and seeks to: i) explore the origins of autonomy referendums, placing them within a wider comparative framework of similar exercises across Western European countries; ii) explain their political, economic, social and cultural roots; iii) analyze the campaigns and the results, assessing variations across and within the two regions; iv) reflect on the political and institutional implications of the referendums, and evaluate the extent to which they could lead to a new era of regionalism in Italy, characterized by further asymmetries and fragmentation both at political and institutional level. Far from being an isolated case, Italy can provide useful insights into the new politics of regionalism and federalism in Western Europe. We also suggest that a more nuanced approach to the study of regionalism should not only focus on regional-central relations but should also account for tensions existing within regions (e.g. regional vs. local levels and cities vs. provinces).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-597
Number of pages19
JournalTerritory, Politics, Governance
Issue number4
Early online date11 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • autonomy
  • centre–periphery cleavage
  • devolution
  • institutional asymmetries
  • multilevel governance
  • referendum
  • regional governance
  • territorial mobilization


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