Articles and working papers

Sebastiano Benasso, Luisa Stagi, Luca Guzzetti

  • The sovereign meal of the male leader. Matteo Salvini’s food porn aesthetics

    Anthropology of Food, n. 16, 2022

  • Abstract

    As a crucial component of « Italianicity », food is a common topic in the political discourse in Italy. The diffusion of the grammars and practices of food porn media offer new possibilities for political communication: in Italy, it’s especially the sovereignist and populist parties who use such a language. In this article we will focus on the application of food porn as a gastro-nationalist device by Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing party Lega. In Salvini’s specific aesthetics of food porn, we can detect a « lo-fi » strategy – based on the counter-position with « high cuisine » –, which resonates with the rejection of the intellectual elites’ attitudes and know-how. Furthermore, with his food porn production, Salvini aims to celebrate the material and pragmatic elements typically associated with the traditional masculinity supported by the « anti-gender » movements in Italy and elsewhere. Thanks to the representation of food and meals, Salvini thus proposes an image of himself as a typical Italian male, ready to defend the borders of nation, tradition and gender.

Cristina Oddone, Lorenzo Navone

  • “Sensitive Writing” through Sociological Films. Visual Ethnographies in Prisons and in Services for Drug Addicts

    Revue des Sciences Sociales, n. 68, 2022

  • Abstract

    Based on two visual ethnographies conducted in prisons and in services for drug addicts, we analyse the contributions of audiovisual material to the writing of social sciences. Sociological films allow a form of “ sensitive writing,” capable of enhancing the material dimension of the contexts and subjects concerned, as well as the quality of the interactions between interviewers and interviewees. Following the description of the two fieldworks, the article illustrates the camera’s potential in ethnographic research. Through participatory video-workshops, the audiovisual medium fosters the construction of a dynamic and intersubjective relationship among participants, by making filmic writing a collective process. Secondly, visual sociology makes it possible to valorise the social actors’ bodies and voices, avoiding the filter of translation into writing. In conclusion, the article returns to the polyphonic dimension of “sensitive writing” in sociological films and invites researchers to “ look sociologically” and “think visually.”

Silvia di Meo

  • Ritrarre i migranti ai confini europei. Antropologia visiva fra analisi critica e proposta fotografica

    Camera Oscura, VOCI – Annuale di Scienze Umane, XVII, 2020

  • Abstract

    In border contexts, the photographic narrative of migrations relies on an iconography of the migrant subject which is essentializing and neutralizing, both from a securitarian and a humanitarian perspective. The camera turns out to be a surveillance camera, acting as yet another control device that objectifies and imposes its specific dominance view. In this work – starting from a reflection on ethnographic fieldworks in european and externalised borders (Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Sicily) – we offer a critical view to the hegemonic narrative on migrations, and propose an alternative representation: the visual-anthropological option of the portrait, photographic and biographic, allows to go beyond the visual subjugation of the subject and favors, instead, a counter-visuality of migration, taking into account the migrant autorepresentation, the emic point of view, the prevalence of a “horizontal” line of sight, and the production of a shared ethnographical frame. Within contexts dominated by violence and violation of human rights, the camera is rethought as an instrument of ethnographic relationship, able to impact the social reality by imprinting on visual anthropology an applied and transformative dimension. By fusing the linguistic and the visual communicative models, the portrait can give back to the subjects a visible agency, built through a meaningful dense image, which moves and gives sense to migration mobilities and mobilizations.

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