Constitutional Openness versus Sovereignism: The Case of Italy

This paper explores the relationship between populism and constitutionalism in the context of Italy. In Part I, it will be argued that the relationship between populism and constitutionalism should not be seen in terms of mutual exclusion and perfect opposition. Indeed, populism frequently relies on concepts and categories drawn from constitutionalism, trying to reshape them and offering in this way a sort of constitutional counter-narrative. In this sense, the populist approach to constitutional categories can be described in light of two concepts: mimesis and parasitism. Both populism and constitutionalism are based on distrust towards political power and refer – prima facie – to similar concepts, but this analogy cannot be extended further. It will be argued that in constructing a constitutional narrative, populism borrows from the radical constitutional tradition, the revolutionary one. In Part II, the paper will deal with the connection between identity politics and sovereignism.