On the 6th, April 2009 at 3.32AM local time a 6.3Mw magnitude earthquake struck in L’Aquila, a small city in the centre of Italy, causing the death of more than 300 people. This tragic event led to a prompt increase in the use of internet technologies by local citizens who utilized platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and blogs in order to reconstruct online the offline local public spaces of communication which had been damaged or destroyed by the quake. A year after the tragedy, to protest against the Italian state due to the problem of the debris that continued to be unremoved from the historical city centre, some citizens decided to fled into the streets with their wheelbarrows and autonomously remove the rubble: a new movement had emerged which would have later been labelled as “the people of the wheelbarrows”. These people aim at involving the citizenship in the decisional processes regarding L’Aquila reconstruction, in contrast to the government’s bottom-up strategies. Moreover, they want to promote transparency in the management of the disaster funds and to re-open the militarized “red zone” created in the city centre. Finally, the movement wants to make the public opinion aware of the issue of the debris removal and the urgent need for the historical centre reconstruction. The aim of this paper is to analyse the internet related practices of the actors of “the people of the wheelbarrows”. With the triangulation of semi-structured interviews, a content analysis of the movement’s official Facebook group and a combination of online and offline ethnography, we try to answer to the following research questions: how do the people of the wheelbarrows interact with the internet to organize collective action? How is the movement participation articulated between online spaces and offline squares, meetings and events? Our findings highlight the importance of the local dimension and the interplay between the online and the offline dimensions (Bennett, 2003, 2005; Loader 2008). Moreover, the pivotal role played by Facebook in conjunction with a variety of other social platforms calls for an ecological approach in the study of social movements and the internet (Kavada, 2009; Mattoni, 2009; Padovani, 2010).

Between the Square and the Net: Civic Engagement and Participation in a Post-Earthquake Movement

Farinosi M.
;
TRERE', Emiliano
2011

Abstract

On the 6th, April 2009 at 3.32AM local time a 6.3Mw magnitude earthquake struck in L’Aquila, a small city in the centre of Italy, causing the death of more than 300 people. This tragic event led to a prompt increase in the use of internet technologies by local citizens who utilized platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and blogs in order to reconstruct online the offline local public spaces of communication which had been damaged or destroyed by the quake. A year after the tragedy, to protest against the Italian state due to the problem of the debris that continued to be unremoved from the historical city centre, some citizens decided to fled into the streets with their wheelbarrows and autonomously remove the rubble: a new movement had emerged which would have later been labelled as “the people of the wheelbarrows”. These people aim at involving the citizenship in the decisional processes regarding L’Aquila reconstruction, in contrast to the government’s bottom-up strategies. Moreover, they want to promote transparency in the management of the disaster funds and to re-open the militarized “red zone” created in the city centre. Finally, the movement wants to make the public opinion aware of the issue of the debris removal and the urgent need for the historical centre reconstruction. The aim of this paper is to analyse the internet related practices of the actors of “the people of the wheelbarrows”. With the triangulation of semi-structured interviews, a content analysis of the movement’s official Facebook group and a combination of online and offline ethnography, we try to answer to the following research questions: how do the people of the wheelbarrows interact with the internet to organize collective action? How is the movement participation articulated between online spaces and offline squares, meetings and events? Our findings highlight the importance of the local dimension and the interplay between the online and the offline dimensions (Bennett, 2003, 2005; Loader 2008). Moreover, the pivotal role played by Facebook in conjunction with a variety of other social platforms calls for an ecological approach in the study of social movements and the internet (Kavada, 2009; Mattoni, 2009; Padovani, 2010).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1150430
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