Italian Migrant Communities as Audiences

Journal issue, 15. May 2022.

Please find below the next Cfp of /Schermi. Storie e culture del cinema e dei media in Italia./ Italian version and bibliography available here: Schermi. Storie e culture del cinema e dei media in Italia ( <>

Call for papers (Volume VI, N. 12, II semester 2022)
*Italian Migrant Communities as Audiences*
edited by Morena La Barba - Mattia Lento
Submission of abstracts: 15-05-2022 -  Submission of articles: 15-09-2022 

Interest in audiences has always been an integral part of discourses relating to analogue (cinema, television and radio) and digital media (internet and social media). In fact, from its birth, the mass medium has been accompanied by very heterogeneous discursive formations devoted to the reception of the medium itself. However, within media studies, the study of audiences has only become established, consolidated and institutionalised since the 1980s, thanks mostly to the turning point that was cultural studies. Starting with the works of Stuart Hall, media theory began to consider the responses of audiences systematically, considering them as an active and central part of the media communication process. The shift from the centrality of the text to the centrality of the exchange between medium and audience in the realm of media theory was further strengthened in the following years thanks to the contribution of different and specific methodologies (Staiger 2005). In recent years, the study of audiences and reception has become an increasingly diverse disciplinary field and has acquired considerable importance in academia. It has become an institutionalized, interdisciplinary field of research, involving at the same time different disciplines such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, statistics, semiology, narratology, aesthetics, history of consumption and mentality, oral and economic history and cultural studies (Esquenazi 2006; Gauntlett 2007; Leveratto and Jullier 2010).

In Italy, too, studies and projects that shed light on the behaviour of the audiences in the peninsula during various eras have flourished. Much of this research begins with the assumption that individual media can no longer be studied as isolated compartments and can only be related to specific cultural-historical dynamics (Fanchi and Garofalo 2018).

Most of these works paid attention primarily to audiences in Italian territory ( Italian audiences active outside the borders of the peninsula have been little considered, with a few vital examples that have certainly opened very interesting horizons from a historical, theoretical and methodological point of view. The same work indicates that continuing in this direction can further enrich our knowledge about Italian emigration in the world (Bertellini 2009, 1999; Montebello 2007; Leveratto 2010; La Barba 2013, 2016; Sprio 2013; Lento 2018a, 2018b).
Limiting ourselves, for example, to the relationship between cinema and Italian emigration at an international level, which has been explored in several directions, the analysis of the representations of the migratory experience or of Italianità in film productions in different eras and geographical contexts has certainly played a leading role (Schrader and Winkler 2013; La Barba 2016; Lento 2017; Scaffai and Valsangiacomo 2018). The creative contribution of individual emigrants to the cinema of a given country has also been investigated (La Barba 2013b). The issue of migrant film audiences, on the other hand, is a phenomenon that is yet to be explored and deepened. As far as radio and television are concerned, research has mainly focused on the experience of public broadcasters that have reserved part of their programming to people of Italian origins or has paid attention to private broadcasters aimed mainly at a diasporic audience (Gaggini-Fontana 2008; Sala and Massarriello-Merzagora 2010; Valsangiacomo 2015). The phenomenon of new Italian migrations has recently produced above all studies that have related such experiences to the use of the web and new media (Marino 2017). What is missing is precisely a systematic consideration of Italian emigration as an audience and an interdisciplinary and/or comparative dialogue between different study orientations. Starting with these considerations, we invite scholars to submit proposals that historicize migrant audiences of Italian origin, focusing on their fruition behaviours, the dynamics of subjectification and identity negotiation, as well as the political and cultural processes underlying reception practices, through single case studies and systematic explorations of national or transnational contexts. Theoretical and methodological proposals are also welcome, to help focus on the complex relationship between migration and media reception. In this regard, the 12/2022 issue of the journal Schermi invites case studies and study contexts or methodological-theoretical reflections dealing with one or more aspects of the relationship between Italian emigration and media reception:

- Histories of the viewing and listening practices of Italian emigration.
- Histories of media consumption and social practices of Italian emigration
- Histories of the private life of Italian emigration in relation to media consumption
- The relationship between media and culture of Italian emigration
- The stars and divas of Italian emigration
- Associationism and media consumption
- Media consumption and migrant subjectivity
- Media consumption and politics
- Media and transcultural dynamics
- Social spaces of media consumption
- Internal migration and media consumption
- Minorities and the media
- Representations of migrant audiences in the press, cinema and television
- Migration literature and media consumption
- Media consumption and labour history
- Theories of subaltern audiences
- New theoretical and historiographical approaches to the history of audiences
- Comparative analyses of Italian audiences abroad
- Italian migrations and new media
- Italian migrations and social media
- Digital ethnographies
- Transnational networks and media
- A sociology of audiences

Proposals (of max. 300 words, in Italian or English, accompanied by a limited bibliography) must be sent by 15/04/2022 to the following email addresses: ;

Results of the selection will be communicated by 31/04/2022, and completed articles – between 30,000 and 35,000 characters (spaces and notes included, bibliography excluded) – along with an abstract of 100 words (in English) and five keywords (in English) must be submitted by 30/06/2022.

They will then undergo a double peer review.