The interactive forms of mass communication that characterize digital platforms of social mediation such as Facebook and Instagram intersect the institutional life of current democracies on multiple levels while serving as powerful ?echo chambers? for a plethora of rather controversial populist political agencies. As shown by the Ph.D. dissertation I have defended at the University of Toronto in 2019, this is especially true within subaltern social spaces such as those punctuating the urban peripheries of Naples, Southern Italy. There, far-right movements and criminal organizations regularly employ the online social media to elicit consent amid the local poor and establish dynamics of political patronage with them. How do legal and criminal processes of digital networking cooperate in the entrenchment of populist politics within the most socially vulnerable areas of current democracies? How do these processes impact the socio-cultural lives of the Neapolitan poor in terms of political mobilization? What public policies and social interventions could challenge the conditions of structural violence and indirect governmentality engendered by these populist processes of digital mediation in Naples and beyond? My project will respond to these questions by providing ethnographic insights on the informal dynamics of digital mediation co-involving current Neapolitan gangsters, populist institutional operators, and their lower-class publics. I will conduct this project through innovative qualitative methods of socio-cultural research, which will integrate the ethnographic techniques I have learnt and practiced during my previous anthropological studies with the online techniques of ?net-nographic? analysis informing the fields of digital media studies and digital humanities. I plan to do so through my engagement with the University of Amsterdam. As such, this project will also allow me to be reintegrated within EU academia after ten years of scholarly work in North America.
- HORIZON.1.2 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Main Programme