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“Themes and leaders beyond ideologies”, Conference of the Italian Association of Political Communication (AssoComPol), University of Perugia, 13-15 December, 2018.

The outcome of the Italian elections of March 4, 2018, has confirmed findings that many studies had already anticipated since long time: the prevalence of the figure of single leaders and some major divisive issues (such immigration) on citizens’ electoral choices and more generally on the public debate. A link is drawn between leaders and themes, where the former identify with the latter that become their favorite ‘battle horses’. This is detrimental to the traditional political affiliations, causing high electoral volatility as demonstrated in the 2018 Italian election.

This tendency does not appear to be limited to Italy, but it is common to many liberal democracies, as confirmed by many recent elections in several countries and by the increasing centrality in the public debate of issues such as immigration and the European Union, that provoke tearing divisions.

The ComPol-Perugia conference intends to discuss papers addressing the issues outlined above, also with a diachronic and comparative perspective, along with other approaches describing the changes that have been taking place in the recent years in the field of political communication as well as in the public sphere. Particular attention will be dedicated to the interaction between mainstream media and new media, which is at the base of such changes.

Consequently, we call for abstracts and papers addressing the following topics:

  • the role of leaders in determining electoral choices;
  • the leaders in and out of campaign contexts;
  • divisive and unifying themes in the public debate;
  • comparative tendencies in liberal democracies;
  • the debate on populism and the thematic choices;
  • the hybrid media system and its role in determining the new communication tendencies.

The paper proposals must include: name, affiliation with address, email address of the proponent(s), title, three keywords and an abstract of no more than 400 words. The abstracts that do not adhere to these guidelines will not be evaluated. Please find the complete instructions in the “Abstract Instructions.”

Deadline for the abstract’s submission: August 31, 2018, to

More information available here.