Informations and abstract
Keywords: leadership, mediatisation, personalisation, presidentialisation, Covid-19.
For more than 20 years, the processes of personalisation and mediatisation of Italian politics ran parallel and mutually reinforced each other. This article studies the party electoral face and the government face of mediatised personalisation of political leadership, defined as the concentration of a collective body’s media visibility on an individual political actor. An Index of Mediatised Personalisation (IMP) is introduced and applied to the television coverage of party and government leaders from 2005 to 2020. The results confirm that personalisation is here to stay, but the reading of its evolution cannot be detached from contextual factors related to party politics and overall political dynamics. Although a general upward trend was apparent in the analysed timeframe, the 2018 general election marked a sudden drop in the mediatised personalisation of party leadership, due primarily to the decline of the PD’s leader, Renzi. Similarly, the mediatised personalisation of government leadership seemed to increase since 2011, but during the M5S-Lega government, it apparently decreased due to the peculiar vice-presidential arrangement of the Conte I (a de facto Conte-Salvini-Di Maio) government. The findings also support the expectation that crisis situations favour the strengthening of monocratic government leadership through the control of communication flows, which was particularly visible dunging the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.