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How Can the European Project Be Saved? Between Elaboration and Dismissal. An analysis of documentaries broadcast by public Italian television on terrorist violence and ideology during the Anni di Piombo

Giovanna Leone, Gloria Gabrielli, Bruno Mazzara, Alice Roseti

Abstract


Abstract

Exploring the collective memory of the Anni di piombo, i.e. a period of the Italian national history ranging from Seventies to the beginning of Eighties when ideologies lead to terrorist acts and a diffuse social violence, in this study we want to describe how terrorist violence and ideology have been represented by the documentaries broadcasted by the Italian public television, as well as changes occurred when new adult generations came to the social scene. 129 documentaries (broadcasted from 1971 until now) were analyzed. Their narrative structures, the channel and time of broadcasting, the choice of participants, and their estimated audience were confronted. Finally, a fine-grained multimodal analysis of the argumentative tools and expressive signals used in the communications of terrorists, in the first documentaries, and in the communication of former victims and relatives more recently broadcasted was conducted. Results showed in fact that not only that narratives of ideological beliefs justifying terrorist acts changed across time, but also that victims and their relatives were allowed to witness only during last documentaries. However, confronted with first ones the broadcasting time of these last documentaries changed from prime time to morning or night, their audience decreased and their narrative became more focused on violent episodes and less devoted to a broader understanding of all the period. Summing all it up, our analysis of documentaries suggests that a memory shift occurred. However, this change could signal either a deep social elaboration of this past or a simple dismissal of this difficult historical period.

Keywords: collective memory ‒ terrorism ‒ ideological argumentations ‒ documentaries ‒ multimodal analysis ‒ Anni di piombo ‒ ‘turn to the victim’ ‒ public television.

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Bibliography: Leone, Giovanna/Gabrielli, Gloria/Mazzara, Bruno/Roseti, Alice: How Can the European Project Be Saved? Between Elaboration and Dismissal. An analysis of documentaries broadcast by public Italian television on terrorist violence and ideology during the Anni di Piombo, PCS, 1-2-2015, pp. 25-38.
https://doi.org/10.3224/pcs.v6i1-2.03

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