The present chapter claims that it is essential to take communicative and personal factors into account in order to understand contemporary Italian foreign policy. As showed in the relevant literature, cognitive approaches, which include political psychology, discourse analysis and political communication, are privileged theoretical tools for Foreign Policy Analysis. Indeed, the study of political personalities, which is the basis for the study of government elites, came into political science directly from political psychology. In International Relations theory, actors are often assumed to be “rational”, but governments are not monolithic and cohesive entities. Consequently, leaders’ personalities cannot be easily discounted as element of change. Notwithstanding the difficulties in distinguishing between political communication and language on the one hand, and behavior on the other, it is hard not to see these phenomena as related. We maintain that communicative style and personality traits have acquired crucial and decisive weight. More specifically, as we will show below through linguistic analysis, tendencies like the personalization and deinstitutionalization of political communication, or the strategic use of personal relations, not only characterize leaders such as D'Alema, Prodi and Berlusconi (regardless of their political “color”), but also affect decisively their management of foreign policy. The increased importance we find for 'soft' factors (communicative style, personality traits and cultural belonging, personal relations and friendship) as determinants of Italian foreign policy, cannot be reduced to the exigencies of inter-state rivalry. We will illustrate our argument with a case study of Italy’s diplomatic overtures to Libya during the late 2000s (the so-called ‘Libyan affair’).

Con Stile: Personality and Leadership Styles in Italy’s Foreign Policy

FERRARI, FEDERICA;
2011

Abstract

The present chapter claims that it is essential to take communicative and personal factors into account in order to understand contemporary Italian foreign policy. As showed in the relevant literature, cognitive approaches, which include political psychology, discourse analysis and political communication, are privileged theoretical tools for Foreign Policy Analysis. Indeed, the study of political personalities, which is the basis for the study of government elites, came into political science directly from political psychology. In International Relations theory, actors are often assumed to be “rational”, but governments are not monolithic and cohesive entities. Consequently, leaders’ personalities cannot be easily discounted as element of change. Notwithstanding the difficulties in distinguishing between political communication and language on the one hand, and behavior on the other, it is hard not to see these phenomena as related. We maintain that communicative style and personality traits have acquired crucial and decisive weight. More specifically, as we will show below through linguistic analysis, tendencies like the personalization and deinstitutionalization of political communication, or the strategic use of personal relations, not only characterize leaders such as D'Alema, Prodi and Berlusconi (regardless of their political “color”), but also affect decisively their management of foreign policy. The increased importance we find for 'soft' factors (communicative style, personality traits and cultural belonging, personal relations and friendship) as determinants of Italian foreign policy, cannot be reduced to the exigencies of inter-state rivalry. We will illustrate our argument with a case study of Italy’s diplomatic overtures to Libya during the late 2000s (the so-called ‘Libyan affair’).
Italy's Foreign Policy in the Twenty-First Century: The New Assertiveness of an Aspiring Middle Power
93
111
F. Ferrari; A. Peirano
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/114759
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