email@example.com: Political Communication
11 a.m., Saturday, April 16, room 701 | Faculty respondent: Paolo Carpignano
Hope, Change, and the Pursuit of Political Participation: An Experimental Study to Reveal the External and Internal Hurdles of Youth Online Political Involvements
The Obama administration has introduced a number of government initiatives to increase political participation by young adults via the use of Web 2.0 technologies and their involvement with social media tools such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Though these communication sites have notably received traffic, their effectiveness has been suspect. We conduct an multi-scenario interaction study to investigate whether potential first-time voters who seek engagement with the government are able to successfully search and locate appropriate touching points, and how that process may, or may not, involve new media technologies. We augment the experimental setup with pre and post-surveys along with in-depth, one-on-one exit interviews. Our approach provides rich qualitative insights along with quantitative support. Our study shows how search is impeded by individual and institutional factors, and that social media tools are still underappreciated by users when cues are delivered out of their commonly anticipated usage contexts. Conversely, they may be over-appreciated by the administration, and serve as little more than a political public relations rouse. Through our critical analysis, we hope to deepen the understanding of the relevance of social media for the engagement of underserved groups, and interactions that reach beyond the traditional comfort zone of more experienced social network users.
@chavezcandanga and the Imagined Community of Venezuela
This paper explores how Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez uses his Twitter account to promote the ideas of a “new” nation of Venezuela, where politics is intimately tied to the personal and where the site of political agency lies in social inequality. How does Chavez’s incursion into the technological world construct the imagined community of Venezuela? What does his use of Twitter imply for our understanding of the possibilities of new media politics? Through a textual analysis of all of Chavez’s tweets from his verified account, @chavezcandanga, supplemented by newspaper articles from Venezuelan newspapers, I argue that Chavez’s use of Twitter shows the Internet as a complex site of meaning-making, highlighting both its radical and oppositional possibilities and its reinforcement of hegemonic and capitalist forces.
in diretta: Television and Italy’s Discontent
This project seeks to examine the Italian televisual experience as one absolutely demarcated from other European televisual experiences and especially American televisual culture. As television evolves, the Italian version continues to be the very quintessence of “televisual” in its liveness, talk, and ﬂow as Jane Feuer, Raymond Williams, and others have discussed.
In November 2010, the Italians threw a televisual rally on public television in four parts called “Vieni via con me” in which celebrities, politicians, and citizens came together under Fabio Fazio and exiled author Roberto Saviano to ﬁght against all that ails this beautiful but troubled country. It was in blatant, direct opposition to Silvio Berlusconiʼs longstanding government, his personal scandals, and his private television network, MediaSet.
On December 14, 2010, Berlusconi controversially won a Parliamentary vote of faith by three votes. His loss would have meant impeachment, Italian style. Rome subsequently burned for three days. But in a static place like Italy where talk is money and little changes, this televisual media event opened up unprecedented threads of discourse. The signiﬁcance and possibilities of this will be discussed.
A version of this paper was submitted as a ﬁnal term paper in Paolo Carpignanoʼs Fall 2010 Televisuality class. I would like to present an updated version of the paper along with video clips to discuss the current state of televisual affairs and political discourse in Italy with pointed comparison to Americaʼs televisual and political culture.
Supplementary materials: Come Away with Me – Final Dance | Riots in Rome (Text) | Riots in Rome (Video) | Roberto Saviano – Italian in Exile | Vote of Confidence | Videocracy | Bunga Bunga | Vieni Via Con Me (Come Away with Me)
Remediating the Nation-State
“Incredible India”, “Israel Wonders” or “Destination Germany” – the slogans of national tourism destination marketing are today visible components of everyday life: As advertisement in subways, newspapers, TV spots or over-dimensioned banner-ads. Benedict Anderson saw the nation-state “Imagined Community” (Anderson 1991) created as a narrative of ‘destiny’ of its people to belong together in space and time. This mediation connects through the media and public sphere the trinity of state (power), nation (people) and territory (space). In this paper, I analyze an emerging process of remediating the nation-state in a changed media- and market-environment (Boulter/Grusin 2000) not as local, national imagined community, but as global commodity and branded imagination. I focus on the analysis of the marketing practices of different national tourism marketing agencies. These practices remediate the nation-state in the changed environment of globalization in direct relation to the global flows of capital, people, information and cultural production, but also embedding the branded imagination into the diverse interlinked localities of media-spheres and consumer demand. Therefore my paper gives a theoretical, empirical account of the potentiality of the branded tourist destination in relation to the mediated “imagined community” of the nation-state. I contribute to the theoretical debate on the very issue of globalization and the nation-state, but not in terms of the crisis of the nation-state faced with transformative processes of globalization. Instead, by using the media theoretical concept of mediation, remediation and branding, I try to show the potential for a direct transformation of the very concept nation-state as remediated in the global flows constituting spheres of markets and media.