Political protest Italian-style: The blogosphere and mainstream media in the promotion and coverage of Beppe Grillo's V-day
Keywords: Italian politics, political blogosphere, mainstream media coverage, social media, social movements, political organization and participation
AbstractWe analyze the organization, promotion and public perception of "V-day", a political rally that took place on 8 September 2007, to protest against corruption in the Italian Parliament. Launched by blogger Beppe Grillo, and promoted via a word of mouth mobilization on the Italian blogosphere, V-day brought close to one million Italians in the streets on a single day, but was mostly ignored by mainstream media. This article is divided into two parts. In the first part, we analyze the volume and content of online articles published by both bloggers and mainstream news sources from 14 June (the day V-day was announced) until 15 September 2007 (one week after it took place). We find that the success of V-day can be attributed to the coverage of bloggers and small-scale local news outlets only, suggesting a strong grassroots component in the organization of the rally. We also find a dissonant thematic relationship between content published by blogs and mainstream media: while the majority of blogs analyzed promote V-day, major mainstream media sources critique the methods of information production and dissemination employed by Grillo. Based on this finding, in the second part of the study, we explore the role of Grillo in the organization of the rally from a network analysis perspective. We study the interlinking structure of the V-day blogosphere network, to determine its structure, its levels of heterogeneity, and resilience. Our analysis contradicts the hypothesis that Grillo served as a top-down, broadcast-like source of information. Rather, we find that information about V-day was transferred across heterogeneous nodes in a moderately robust and resilient core network of blogs. We speculate that the organization of V-day represents the very first case, in Italian history, of a political demonstration developed and promoted primarily via the use of social media on the Web.
How to Cite
Pepe, A., & di Gennaro, C. (2009). Political protest Italian-style: The blogosphere and mainstream media in the promotion and coverage of Beppe Grillo’s V-day. First Monday, 14(12). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v14i12.2740
Authors submitting a paper to First Monday automatically agree to confer a limited license to First Monday if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication. This license allows First Monday to publish a manuscript in a given issue. Authors have a choice of: 1. Dedicating the article to the public domain. This allows anyone to make any use of the article at any time, including commercial use. A good way to do this is to use the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication Web form; see http://creativecommons.org/license/publicdomain-2?lang=en. 2. Retaining some rights while allowing some use. For example, authors may decide to disallow commercial use without permission. Authors may also decide whether to allow users to make modifications (e.g. translations, adaptations) without permission. A good way to make these choices is to use a Creative Commons license. * Go to http://creativecommons.org/license/. * Choose and select a license. * What to do next — you can then e–mail the license html code to yourself. Do this, and then forward that e–mail to First Monday’s editors. Put your name in the subject line of the e–mail with your name and article title in the e–mail. Background information about Creative Commons licenses can be found at http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/. 3. Retaining full rights, including translation and reproduction rights. Authors may use the statement: © Author 2016 All Rights Reserved. Authors may choose to use their own wording to reserve copyright. If you choose to retain full copyright, please add your copyright statement to the end of the article. Authors submitting a paper to First Monday do so in the understanding that Internet publishing is both an opportunity and challenge. In this environment, authors and publishers do not always have the means to protect against unauthorized copying or editing of copyright–protected works.