Daniele Caramani, Yves Mény
The Alpine Challenge to Identity, Consensus, and European Integration

Pp. 21-49 in: Daniele Caramani, Yves Mény (Eds.): Challenges to Consensual Politics. Democracy, Identity, and Populist Protest in the Alpine Region. 2005. Brusselles: P.I.E.-Peter Lang
[Federalism & Regionalism]

This chapter stresses the relevance of the empirical case study of the Alpine space, and presents its political, geo-economic, and cultural specificities, from the distinctive patterns of state formation to the economic, de-centralised, and morphological configurations to political culture. The typical consociational or negotiation type of democracy in the Alpine area and multi-layered forms of governance determined by regionalised political-administrative structures has led to the emergence of a strong populist protest. The alternative view of identity, representation, and European integration that emerges from the political discourse of the parties analysed in the book is described, together with the strong challenge that they represent both at national level and at the level of the supranational EU political system. In this regard, the chapter finally discusses the impact of this challenge on the Europeanwide cleavage constellation and its relationship to other alignments.