The Outsiders and the Established: the case of Forza Italia in Salento
Forza Italia appears on the Italian political scene with an insistent antipolitical rhetoric. The party pretended to remove the old professional politicians and renew the political staff, but it soon had to resort to preexisting political mechanisms and to old professional politicians, arising disappointment in those who approached politics for the first time. This essay focuses in particular on Forza Italia in Salento and it will trace the events leading to the genesis and development of the local party. Forza Italia in Salento was the centre of a conflict between experienced and rooted political professionals and outsiders with little experience in politics. Forza Italia represented (for both categories of politicians) a chance for a political career, though to be understood in different ways. Each of the actors reported to different groups who were united by common interests and who shared similar representations of reality, although with unequal chances of power. In the long run, the outsiders less experienced and holding less chances of power, had to conform to the attitudes and behaviours of the old, established politicians. Those who wanted to migrate from the status of outsider to that of «root», were forced to fit to the practices and vision of the much criticised old professional politicians.