BRIDGES Working paper 8 (May 2023)
This BRIDGES national report analyses the main narratives developed in traditional and social media around three different case studies in Italy: the Sea Watch 3 landing to Lampedusa (2019), which was the first challenge of the new ‘populist’ government’s ‘closed ports’ policy; the debate on Ius soli (2017), charged with identity issues in clashing political and cultural narratives; and the attempted supremacist massacre in Macerata (2018), occurred during the election campaign and characterised by a debate conveying implicit ideas about deserving and non-deserving victims. Following WP3 main objectives, the report addresses four interrelated questions: who accesses the public arena and shapes prevailing narratives; where these narratives emerge and how do they travel across different media and platforms; what the main features of successful narratives are; and in which contexts and circumstances (thus when) certain narratives obtain a competitive edge. Each event is analysed considering the news published during the peak period by three major newspapers and two prime-time news broadcasts, as well as using meta and textual data from Twitter. Interviews with relevant stakeholders involved in each event are also used to improve interpretation. The analysis of three case studies very different in nature shows the extreme polarisation of the political debate on immigration in Italy, the almost total exclusion of migrants’ voices from the public sphere, and the different – successful or unsuccessful – strategies employed by the two major political sides.