Direct Parliamentarianism: An Analysis of the Political Values Embedded in Rousseau, the ‘Operating System’ of the Five Star Movement

Marco Deseriis


This article focuses on the technological affordances and use of Rousseau, the decision-making platform of the second largest Italian political party, the Five Star Movement. Crossing an empirical observation of the platform’s functionalities with data regarding its use and qualitative data collected during the 2016 and 2017 national meetings of the Five Star Movement, the essay argues that Rousseau supports an emerging “direct parliamentarianism,” which allows party members to entertain an ostensibly direct relationship with the party in public office, at the expense, however, of deliberative processes that may allow them to influence the party agenda. Thus Rousseau leaves the deliberative, and strictly parliamentary moment in the hands of elected representatives and party leaders, leaving to the party base the task of choosing between options that have been defined elsewhere.


Five Star Movement; Rousseau; decision-making platform; direct democracy; direct parliamentarianism; crowdsourced lawmaking.

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