To Be or Not to Be ‘Rousseauian’. The Rise and Fall of ‘Digital Utopianism’ in the Five Star Movement
Keywords:Rousseau, Five Star Movement , decision-making platform, direct democracy, representative democracy
A growing dissatisfaction with the political class has emerged in Italy. Inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the original strategy adopted by the Five Star Movement (FSM) was to connect citizens and institutions directly, thanks to ICTs. A participation platform called “Rousseau” was created to this end in 2016. However, after the Movement’s great success in the 2018 national elections, digital utopianism was gradually abandoned. In 2021, the statute was reformed, creating new roles and organs making the FSM more akin to a traditional party, and the ‘Rousseau’ platform was replaced by another one with limited functions. This evolution leads to three theses: first, the reference to Jean-Jacques Rousseau had a mainly symbolic value for FSM; second, as recent facts show, this ideal reference weakened with the action of governing and the ‘normalisation’ of the party; third, this evolution confirms that the Rousseauian ideal is difficult to realise in a complex society.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Gabriele Giacomini
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