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Direttore Responsabile: Giulia Golo

Stories of Revenge in Italian Popular Culture. A Narrative Study of Vigilante Films

TitleStories of Revenge in Italian Popular Culture. A Narrative Study of Vigilante Films
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsSpina F
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published07/2019
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number 2035-4983
Keywordsnarrative, popular criminology, private justice, vigilante film, vigilantism

In recent years, we have witnessed, particularly in Italy, a growing support for the “self-defence” argument and the vigilante justice. This troubling phenomenon requires further empirical and theoretical attention to determine why and how media manage to draw the interest of the public when they tackle revenge and private justice topics. The objective of this paper is to explore narratives of private revenge in popular culture, specifically in Italian cinema. The first section introduces some reflections on the relations between narrative and criminology and the interest of cinema in revenge tales. Then follows a reconstruction of the historical evolution and narrative structures of both American and Italian vigilante films. Finally, a detailed analysis is presented of a representative sample of Italian films of the genre, highlighting the narrative structures and main themes, as well as the similarities and differences with respect to the American models.