This article contributes to the debate on the rural dimensions of the current global surge of right-wing populism through an analysis and genealogy of the political discourse of Matteo Salvini’s Lega on agriculture and migrant farm labour. In 2018–2019, this party emerged as one of the most successful radical right populist parties in Italy and Western Europe. After a description of the Italian political debate in the fields of agriculture and migration over the last two decades, we analyse how the issues of agriculture, food and migrant farm labour are articulated in the Lega’s discourse in relation to the ideological features of nativism, authoritarianism, populism as well as neomercantilism and corporatism. We argue that agriculture and food are central in the representation of the ‘Italian’ cultural identity as proposed by the Lega. Moreover, we contend that the Lega has disarticulated and rearticulated ‘old’ ideas – such as the protection of ‘Made in Italy’ food – in a ‘new’ nativist discourse. The article is based upon a discourse analysis of speeches and documents produced by this party since 2013.
Iocco, G., Lo Cascio, M., & Perrotta, D. C. (2020). ‘Close the Ports to African Migrants and Asian Rice!’: The Politics of Agriculture and Migration and the Rise of a ‘New’ Right-Wing Populism in Italy. In Sociologia Ruralis (Vol. 60, pp. 732–753). Blackwell Publishing Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1111/soru.12304