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Direttore Responsabile: Giulia Golo

Socio-Narrative Representations of Immigrants by Italian Young People

TitleSocio-Narrative Representations of Immigrants by Italian Young People
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsDi Fraia G, Risi E, Pronzato R
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published07/2019
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number 2035-4983
Keywordscompassion fatigue, immigration/immigrants, media storytelling, narrative approach, social representation

This paper aims to explore how young Italians represent the phenomenon of migration by using a socio-narrative approach and taking into account the role of media in shaping the collective imaginary. To this end, socio-narrative representations are deemed a valuable tool both at the conceptual and analytical level. Accordingly, this empirical study relies on the three main dimensions of socio-narrative representations (objectification, anchoring and narration) and on two mass communication theories (agenda-setting and cultivation theory) to analyse qualitative data. In-depth semi-structured interviews revealed that the iconic dimension has a predominant role in the mythopoietic mechanisms of construction of socio-narrative presentations. In fact, it emerges that also the anchoring and narrative processes frequently originate from certain stereotypical pictures and stories continuously broadcasted by mass media, which select and portray only a partial and inaccurate depiction of migration, based on the narrative distinction between “us” and “them”. In fact, this complex phenomenon is often reduced to the images of the victims of humanitarian crises, thereby favouring processes of distant suffering and compassion fatigue. Implications of these findings are discussed, as well as suggestions for future research.