Using Voic­es on Val­ues sur­vey data in the Ital­ian coun­try report Fed­eri­co Quadrel­li reveals that even though the term ‘open soci­ety’ has lit­tle trac­tion in Italy, most Ital­ians do sup­port many open soci­ety val­ues. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly true of those val­ues enshrined in the Ital­ian con­sti­tu­tion. Pro­vi­sions such as free­dom of expres­sion and free­dom of reli­gion receive wide­spread sup­port.

How­ev­er, many Ital­ians express a will­ing­ness to trade off cer­tain open soci­ety prin­ci­ples for eco­nom­ic well­be­ing and social cohe­sion. Of the six coun­tries sur­veyed, Italy has the largest per­cent­age of open soci­ety de-pri­ori­tis­ers (49 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion). 

Draw­ing on elite inter­views, Quadrel­li explains why this readi­ness of some Ital­ians to trade off open soci­ety prin­ci­ples is like­ly to be tied to con­cerns about the eco­nom­ic cri­sis and migra­tion, both issues that are being instru­men­talised and acti­vat­ed by the two pop­ulist par­ties now in gov­ern­ment.

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