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