Promoting social connection

MEDIA: Hacked Transmissions is a timely analysis of the capacity of media to foster social connection.

Melita Zajc
Melita Zajc is a media anthropologist and philosopher. Regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: April 27, 2020
Hacked Transmissions
Author: Alessandra Renzi
University of Minnesota Press,

Alessandra Renzi has explored the celebrated but often disputed potential of social media as a tool of social change. She does so from the perspective of its convergence with broadcast media, as well as in view of the recent history of using broadcast media for community building in Italy. She has applied an innovative research methodology, in which thorough theoretical analysis intertwines with first-hand experience, elaborating an important contribution to contemporary media theory. Her book is simultaneously an insightful historic overview of post-1968 Italian media, a comprehensive framework for understanding contemporary mediascapes, and a good starting point for an informed and responsible approach to building the post-Covid19 world.

Is this a society at all?

Only a few days after the first Covid19 patient was diagnosed in Italy, another tragic event took place. In Naples, a few hours after midnight, a 23-year-old soldier in civilian clothes shot a 16-year-old boy. The soldier was sitting with a girl in a car, parked in the old town, when the victim, driving a scooter together with another teenager from the suburbs and carrying a plastic gun, attempted to steal his watch. The soldier fired three shots, injuring the boy, who died shortly afterward. Learning about his death, the victim’s relatives and neighbours ransacked the emergency room, so service had to be suspended and patients transferred to other wards and hospitals. They also fired pistol shots in front of the headquarters of the Provincial Command of the Carabinieri of Naples.

Only a few days after the first Covid19 patient was diagnosed in Italy, another tragic event took place.

Several details, starting with the gun – a plastic toy according to relatives; a metallic ‘replica’ of a real gun according to the police – would be cleared up within the investigation. But the first TV images of the ravaged emergency room speak of how we have lost the basic consensus on the sense of living together. …

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