Special Issue on:

New Idealogical Conflicts. Trends, Actors and New Networks

Guest Editors:

Manuel Anselmi (Università degli Studi di Bergamo)

Mattia Diletti (La Sapienza Università di Roma)

Melissa Mongiardo (La Sapienza Università di Roma)

Proposal for a call of papers for a Special Issue of Partecipazione e Conflitto


At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, many scholars who witnessed the end of 20th century political doctrines supported the hypothesis of the “end of ideologies”, thus spreading what would become a commonly held notion, namely the beginning of a post-ideological phase. The debate echoed the one initiated by Daniel Bell in the 1960s, who spoke of the “Common-sense neoliberalism” (Hall & O’Shea, 2013). Conversely, since then political sociology, political science and political theory have developed an intense and fruitful theoretical debate that provides new models for analysing the topic. Both Freeden’s morphological approach, on the one hand, and Thompson’s, on the other, have given new impetus to ideologies both as a “symbolic form” of political domination (Thompson, 1990) and as “A set of ideas, beliefs, values, and opinions, exhibiting a recurring pattern, that competes deliberately as well as unintentionally over providing plans of action for public policy making in an attempt to justify, explain, contest, or change the social and political arrangements and processes of a political community” (Freeden, 2001). Other authors have paved the way for interesting empirical perspectives such as, for instance, the theory of populism as a “thin ideology” put forward by Cas Mudde (Mudde & Kaltwasser, 2017), which echoes Freeden’s theory with reference to nationalism (Freeden, 1998).

Moreover, in recent decades, the profound transformations of contemporary democracies, brought about by globalisation, the crisis of the rule of law and the lack of trust in institutions on the part of citizens, worsening social inequalities and illiberal tendencies, climate change and new geopolitical tensions, make it necessary to also study the transformations linked to political ideas and cultures. Steger and James (2020) have spoken of a “great unsettling” that also affects the value dimension of democracies on a global scale. In addition, the mediatisation of culture has led to the emergence of new sites of ideological production, but above all to a reflection on the new symbolic-ideological forms that result from this phenomenon (Thompson, 1990).

The hypothesis we want to investigate is that the ideological traditions of the twentieth century are now increasingly being reshuffled into different, temporary and unstructured combinations. Elements of extreme right-wing political culture are making their entry in the old parties of the Christian democratic and conservative traditions, while in some components of the left, both European and American, the path of a new radicalism is being sought after the demise of the "Third Way. Cultures born around new issues, such as sexual identity or environmentalism, also change the horizon of old ideological families. Again, there is a belief that the "great unsettling" is the driver of these hybridizations.

Therefore, in such a scenario of radical changes, it seems appropriate to ask: is an ideological reconfiguration taking place? Which systems of ideas, values, beliefs and symbols are guiding political actors in this scenario of crisis? Which political ideas have become the instrument of political action of parties, leaders and movements? Furthermore, the outbreak of the war in Ukraine must also be considered, as it has opened up a new phase of hegemonic and ideological conflict between political powers.

The special issue aims to explore various synchronous and diachronic disciplinary perspectives on the many facets of these new ideological orientations which increasingly take on a transnational character and determine new political trends. Possible topics are:


1)     New forms of contemporary nationalism. These constitute an important ideological family, and display different local connotations, such as national-populism and sovereignism. Their development and transformation have represented the main global novelty of the last decade. At the same time, a new conflict rhetoric involving major powers, e.g. the United States and China, has appeared on the scene.

2)     The transformation of the left, linked to the profound change in the mainstream and radical left. The crisis of globalisation has marked the end of the Third Way, while new radical global leaderships have emerged, mobilising young people with new claims, e.g. in the US and Britain.

3)     Technocratic ideology. In some countries the rhetoric of efficiency and competence have themselves become a micro-ideology, turning the technocratic spirit into a form of ideology.

4)     New issues posed by grassroots movements. Global movements in particular have brought issues to the fore that shape an ideal horizon with a universal character. Feminism, the decolonial culture, green ideologies constitute other “ideological axes” that merit analysis.

5)     Intellectuals and sites of ideological production. After decades of decline, the era of ideologues who constructed political doctrines has come to an end, together with the role played by civil religions: the sites of ideological and symbolic production have changed, also influenced by transformations in the domain of media.


Submission procedure and deadlines:

Articles, written in English, should be submitted to the editors according to the following schedule: (we shall adjust the deadlines to PaCo’s schedule)

- Submission of long abstracts (about 800 words): 15 June 2023

- Selection of long abstracts for articles: 13 July 2023

- Submission of articles: 15 November 2023

- Provision of peer review feedback: 15 March 2024

- Submission of revised drafts: 15 July 2024

- Publication of the issue: 15 November 2024


Long abstracts should include the following information:

(1) A description of the topic,

(2) How the paper addresses one or more of the nodal points of the SI,

(3) Empirical data and methodology,

(4) Findings.


The total length of your article must not exceed 10,000 words (and not less than 8.000). Note that the word total includes references, notes, tables, figures and diagrams.




Bell, D., The End of Ideology: On the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties, Glencoe Illinois: Free Press.

Freeden, M. (1960), Ideology: Political Aspects, in Neil J. Smelser & Paul B. Baltes (eds), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Pergamon, 2001, p. 7174-7177.

Freeden, M. (1998). Is Nationalism a Distinct Ideology? Political Studies46(4), 748–765.

Hall, S., & O’Shea, A. (2013). Common-sense neoliberalism. Soundings: A journal of politics and culture 55, 8-24.

Mudde, C. & Kaltwasser, C.R., (2017), Populism: A Very Short Introduction. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)

Thompson, John B (1990), Ideology and Modern Culture, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Steger, M., & James, P. (2020). Disjunctive Globalization in the Era of the Great Unsettling. Theory, Culture & Society37(7–8), pp. 187–203.

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