Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
This paper evaluates the role of political mediation respectively played by the national and the local televisual industries within the current social peripheries of Naples, Southern Italy. In the context of contemporary Italian populism, the management of these media industries by simultaneously public and private (as well as formal and informal) power-holders such as the post-Berlusconian neoliberal state and the Neapolitan Camorra (a powerful Mafia-like criminal organization), has replaced civil society's historical role of mediation between centers and peripheries with top-down monitored acts of informal participation of the subaltern in the production and circulation of televisual contents. Far from triggering any crisis of the conditions of cultural hegemony exercised by the so-called Italian "establishment" over the local lower-classes, the regimes of representation entailed by these mediatic processes have furthered the sovereignty of the state, while amplifying its ability to mediate the political imaginaries of its most marginal citizens and "middle-class" mass-media operators alike in overly populist terms. At the same time, these processes have opened the door to new modes of socio-economic mobility and forms of "political society," which reproduce the mediacratic feature of the current Italian state among a plethora of local informal agencies, including ostensible "public enemies" such as the Camorra.