Empowering local communities through collective grassroots actions: The case of “No Al Progetto Eleonora” in the Arborea District (OR, Sardinia)

Maria Lgcrvaura Ruiu & Massimo Ragnedda (2017) Empowering local communities
Abstract. This article explores both how local social committees may contribute toward generating collective actions, leading local communities to empower their environment, and how new information communication technologies (ICTs) may alter the collective action. It focuses on a case study, represented by the “No al Progetto Eleonora” local committee that operates in the Arborea district of Oristano, in Sardinia, Italy. Here, the community has become progressively cohesive in the face of an external environmental threat represented by the proposal for a drilling project. In this context, the role played by the Internet has been marginal in promoting community cohesion, even if it has indirectly enhanced it. In other words, the Internet played a marginal role in promoting the protest and reinforcing community cohesion, but it played a primary role in attracting external solidarity and support, thus indirectly reinforcing the sense of community against an external threat.

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Social Stratification and digital divide: a weberian approach, ICA Conference, Seattle, May 22

10275913_10202972766658200_269911236789919864_n“Communication and ‘The Good Life’ Around the World After Two Decades of the Digital Divide

 Preconference E-Book, Social stratification and digital divide: a weberian approach

Massimo Ragnedda and Glenn W. Muschert. 

Defined as stratification in the access to- and use of the Internet, the so-called digital divide is inevitably tied with the concept of social inequalities. Systems of structured inequalities exist in every example of human society. That is, each society exhibits inequalities among individuals and groups, and as these are the sedimentation of social history, this give rise to social strata in the practice of social relations, notably regarding access to social rewards such as money, prestige and power.

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Living in Surveillance Society. Sassari 27 July 2012

Venerdì 27 Luglio 2012, il Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche, Scienze della Comunicazione e Ingegneria dell’Informazione dell’Università di Sassari ospita, il seminario internazionale “Living in Surveillance Society“. L’incontro, organizzato da Massimo Ragnedda dell’Università di Sassari in collaborazione con il gruppo di ricerca internazionale Living in Surveillance Societies finanziato dal COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) con l’indirizzo in Scienze della Governance e dei Sistemi Complessi della Scuola di Dottorato in Scienze Sociali dell’Università di Sassari, vede la partecipazione di professori e studiosi inglesi, israeliani, olandesi, belgi, spagnoli e italiani. All’interno del seminario interverranno i corsisti del Dottorato che discuteranno i loro papers coordinati da Prof. Clive Norris, direttore del Dipartimento di Sociologia dell’Università di Sheffield (UK). Read the rest of this entry »

Social control and surveillance in the society of consumers

Massimo RagneddaSocial control and surveillance in the society of consumers, International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology Vol. 3(6), pp.180–188, June 2011, ISSN 2006-988x ©2011 Academic Journals .

Abstract:  The new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) introduced a highly automated and much cheaper systematic observation of personal data. ICTs advance the intensification and the extension of surveillance, such that an expanding quantity of data can now be collected, tabulated and cross-referenced more rapidly and more accurately than old paper files. This process contributes to the building a “new electronic cage” constraining the individual, on the basis of his e-profile and data-matching. Especially two agents of surveillance are interested in collecting and using such data: government authorities and private corporations. Massive stores of personal data held on ordinary people are now vital to both public services and private business purposes. The new electronic cage is more all-encompassing and complete, being able to produce a complete profile of citizens and consumers in real time. Both public and private information agencies rely on one another for creating and modelling the profiles of good citizens/consumers who, by definition, are well integrated into social life, exhibiting predictable behaviour that conforms to the general needs of contemporary consumer/ oriented social relations. The underlying assumption under girding the public/private exchange of personal data, the idea is that a good consumer is also a good citizen, and vice versa.


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The Homo Mediaticus and the Paralysis of Critical Thought

Massimo Ragnedda, The Homo Mediaticus and the Paralysis of Critical Thought, in

After the end of Nazism and fascism and with the fall of the Soviet block, our society has been partly founded on the myth of the freedom of the press and the freedom of thought. Fear of an Orwellian society causes us to reject and oppose any imposition that comes from high up. The human loves to feel free to think, to act with full autonomy, completely emancipated from external influences. Paradoxically, now, never has the homologation in behaviour and in the ideas of individuals been so apparent, manifesting in the ways in which we dress, eat, and in our desires and aspiration, but, above all, there is homologation in the way we think. The totalitarian regimes could not impose thoughts by force. In contrast, such regimes are sources of critical thought. In an obvious absence freedom of expression, the human reacts, almost instinctively, with cognitive force, developing “critical thought” to reject the “System”; in other words, facing a coercively created homologation, the human answers with nonconformist critical thought. Paradoxically, today, it seems that with the freedom to express one’s own opinions, the human does not develop critical thought. There exists an “abstract force” which imposes its own laws and advances its supremacy on politics: the market. This has happened primarily because of what the Frankfurt scholars call “the culture industry”; a critical analysis of the economic and cultural context in which we live shows the risks derived from a serialized production of cultural products and commercialisation of art. As Debord shows, the risk of a paralysis of critical thought comes from the “society of the spectacle.” This article is divided into three parts. The first part will examine the illusion of pluralism, where in spite of a plurality of media, the ideas diffused are similar; they are different only in appearance and not in reality. Read the rest of this entry »

The Political Use of Fear and News Reporting in Italy: The Case of Berlusconi’s Media Control

Massimo Ragnedda, Glenn W. Muschert, The Political Use of Fear and News Reporting in Italy:The Case of Berlusconi’s Media Control, in Columbus, Frank (ed.). Journalism in the 21st Century: A Time of Turbulent Change. Hauppage, NY: Nova Science Publishers (forthcoming)

Abstract: This chapter explores the relationship between fear of crime and political dynamics in Italy. Of particular relevance is the fact that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is the richest person in Italy, controlling a large share of the mass media industry. Berlusconi uses his media influence to cultivate the public’s fear of crime, for his own political gain. The chapter explores the social science literature concerning public issues, media coverage, and public fear. The Italian media landscape is described, including Berlusconi’s direct or indirect control of various media. The main thrust of the chapter explores the aspects of Berlusconi’s manipulation of crime coverage in media, which manipulates the public’s fear of crime, which in turn may be associated with voting behaviours. Concluding reflections explore the complexities of the model of media manipulation presented and the importance of the Italian case in a global climate of continuing capital accumulation in media industries.

Media and Control of Violence: Communication in School Shootings

Glenn W. Muschert, Massimo Ragnedda, Control of Violence, Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, Wilhelm Heitmeyer, Andrea Kirschner, and Stefan Malthaner (eds.) New York: Springer Publishing, (forthcoming).

Abstract: This chapter examines school shootings to explore the role that communication processes play in the dynamics related to the control of violence. We argue that much of what we observe in regard to school shootings is a mass-media phenomenon. Many such acts of violence carry expressive, communicative connotations, and thus school shootings should be understood as discursive processes. We present a model for this understanding, specifying the participants (i.e., shooters, mass media, and the public) and the directionality of communication that dominate the discourse. In particular we explore the performative script behind many school shootings and the mass media’s role in the emergence of rampages as a social problem, with an examination of how this fits into the natural-history approach to social problems. The discussion concludes with an assessment of whether the shooters’ performative script is acknowledged in policy responses to school violence.

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