Numero uno del 2003 della rivista "Comunicazioni Sociali"
by Piermarco Aroldi
Research on the media in Italy has been focusing since the 1960s on the temporal dimension of television as
a crucial element of analysis, stating from the pioneering studies by Umberto Eco and Gianfranco Bettetini
on live broadcasts. From that time on this object, between semiotics and sociology, has been investigated
through many aspects. In particular, the organisation of the program offer in the shape of the broadcasting
schedule, especially in the neotelevision context, has been studied as a condition for a relationship of trust
with the spectator, as a self-promotion strategy, or even as an overall discourse created by the broadcaster. In
particular, the relation between temporal organisation of the broadcasting schedule and the social structuring
of individual and family time has shed light on the mimetic and regulatory nature of television temporality.
In addition, the ethnographic turning point has heightened the attention on the way television constitutes an
environmental resource through which part of the domestic and family consumption of TV is shaped.
As well as fulfilling the function of an interface between the organisation of offer and consumption, the
time of television also stands in a relation to long seriality and to the establishment of a veritable flow of programming.
Yet, with reference to the fragment, it also bears a relation to micro-texts that contribute to giving
shape and body to the broadcasting schedule macrotext. In this sense, it can represent a metaphor of the cultural
and social forms of our present time.
by Nicoletta Vittadini
The definition of the status of space in the new media, and in the Internet in particular, has long constituted
a theoretical key-point, representing a pivotal element of debate.
Virtual space and its characteristics have been invoked as a driving element of the concerning new
media, engaging the attention of many scholars in the 1990s. The same theme also constitutes one of the starting
points to identify the disciplinary and methodological divergences in the new media analysis.
Currently, one of the most interesting keys to interpret the relation between space and computer networks
is that obtained by analysing the processes linking the technology to a specific culture and to the social
discourse that characterises a given culture. Such a reading is particularly insightful, as its aim is that of
encompassing the complexity of the intertwined strands within which a culture develops.
This study therefore focuses on the space of the network and on the concept of cyberspace according
to a perspective that seeks to take into consideration the numerous strands of the current debate and to address
several crucial key-points.
The approach to these issues will follow two directions. The first highlights a view of cyberspace as a
place allowing interaction between interfaces that shape individuals’ spaces for action; the second focuses on
the main forms of the conceptualisation of cyberspace as social space.
The arguments put forward here allow us to state that cyberspace forges an indissoluble integration
between the dimension of social space and that of the space for action, the latter being constantly crossed by
flows that reshape and redelineate its geography. It is not a question, however, of a uniform space. New local
dimensions become anchored in cyberspace, and they are anthropologically charged with interest, even
though certainly not similar to off-line spaces.
MEDIA E COMUNICAZIONE GLOBALE
by Chiara Giaccardi
This paper proposes a redefinition of the spatial coordinates of experience as a scenario within which social
interaction and communication can be interpreted.
Putting aside the idea of fragmentation, the concept adopted in describing the ongoing changes affecting
the spatial dimension is ‘globalisation’. This paradigm concerns, first of all, the dynamics of globality,
redefined here in terms of an interpretive hypothesis which can be associated with an idea of continuity and
multicentricity of reciprocal influences, rather than a trend of homogenisation, or explosion of differences.
The second logic referring to the dimension of globalisation is that of aspatiality: space does not disappear,
but is transformed and more complex, highlighting new ‘social stages’ and endowing the local with a permeable
dimension, which can be redefined in relation to what lies outside. Thus worlds are linked through relations
that no longer have the stable and organised character of a map. Indeed, the third trend related to globalisation
is the existence of a network structure: what defines and gives meaning to the contemporary spatial
dimension is the network of relations traced by the subjects. The network is the paradigm of respatialisation
not only in terms of information technology but also in everyday life, where experience is built up by untying
and weawing in social relations, with a continuous movement through time and space.
by Giovanni Gasparini
The author aims at analysing the relation between communication and temporality according to two points of
view: communicating in present time and communicating through time. The latter focuses on three points.
The first, «Communicating yesterday», highlights the difficulties represented by distance in pre-modern
times, and therefore the impossibility of a communication based on ubiquity.
«Communicating today», on the other hand, underlines the present-day possibility of acquiring knowledge
on events and peculiarities of ancient societies, establishing a sort of communicative flow from the past
to the present. Furthermore, thanks to the new technologies today we can actualise what once was the dreammiracle
of ubiquity; it is also possible to have phenomena such as desynchronisation among actors and flexibilisation
temporal models and of the use of time by the actors involved.
«Holy places and religious traditions» highlights the crucial nature of religious tradition within the
framework of communication across time and space: not only does tradition irradiate from the privileged
points of space, whereby place assumes a fundamental aspect for religions, but collective memory likewise
centres around specific places, underlining the need to fix revelation in space as well as in time.
by Francesca Pasquali
The concept of the digital divide, on which many institutions and scholars have been focusing since the
1990s, has in most cases been considered in terms of availability of technology, comparing those who have
versus those who do not have the opportunity to use Information and Communication Technologies. This
vision has delineated a geography of the phenomenon and prompted a series of local measures which do not
take into account the true complexity unhomogeneity of the scenario. This essay underlines the need to focus
on the use of technology, promoting studies that encompass the sociological, cultural, political and economic
framework. Taking into consideration local contexts and people in addition to the purely technological
dimension, represents a valid starting point for digital inclusion policies: from the tendency to transfer to disadvantaged
regions the media and technologies that have proved to be most successful in the industrialised
areas, to strategies aiming at getting individuals and communities able to pursue sustainable development and
an improvement in their quality of life. An approach considering ICT not for their own sake but as tools was
adopted by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva in 2003, during which a firm
commitment was undertaken to «transform the digital divide into a digital opportunity for everyone».
MEDIA E SPAZIO PUBBLICO
by Shaun Moores
Il saggio affronta il concetto di «duplicazione dello spazio» e di «diverse possibilità di esistenza» in rapporto
alla radio e alla televisione. Moores mostra come questi due concetti possono essere applicati a tutti i
media, da quelli tradizionali a Internet e alla telefonia. Così come la radio e la televisione, i nuovi media offrono
la possibilità di una trasmissione quasi istantanea attraverso grandi distanze. Tutti questi media consentono
di fare esperienza della simultaneità, della presenza e della istantaneità in luoghi «trans-locali».
L’idea che il luogo, e l’esperienza di essere in un luogo, possa essere moltiplicata attraverso la comunicazione
mediata è dimostrata dai processi di utilizzo dei media. Moores analizza l’esempio del dolore di
una famiglia che ha visto alla televisione i funerali della Principessa Diana: l’istantaneità della trasmissione
ha prodotto l’effetto di «presenza», di coinvolgimento emotivo nella situazione. L’autore considera anche il
caso di un partecipante a un MUD: sottolinea come si possa vedere Internet come un mondo senza soluzione
di continuità con altri spazi sociali della vita quotidiana e non come un mondo separato dalla socialità «in real
life». Dunque, si deve concentrare l’attenzione sui luoghi rappresentati sullo schermo e, contemporaneamente,
su quei luoghi in cui il pubblico interagisce con lo schermo o, semplicemente, lo guarda.
Questo approccio è stato utilizzato per analizzare il terzo caso, la storia di una conversazione telefonica
privata in un treno in cui chi telefona è contemporaneamente in due posti: nello scompartimento del treno
e al telefono.
by Daniel Dayan
In questo saggio l’autore analizza il concetto di «pubblico televisivo» in relazione a quello di audience.
Mentre i soggetti che fanno parte di un pubblico condividono una dimensione sociale, hanno qualcosa da dire,
affermano i propri gusti, sono impegnati e fedeli, il concetto di audience non fa riferimento a una dimensione
collettiva del vedere, ma a un insieme di spettatori «muti».
Gli studi sull’audience e sulla ricezione, secondo l’autore, non si basano su una definizione adeguata
di pubblico. Neppure i più recenti definiscono in modo appropriato il pubblico della televisione.
Dayan analizza, quindi, alcune trasmissioni che si possono definire costitutive di un pubblico della televisione:
il serial francese Hélène et les garçons, i programmi europei di informazione e quelli rivolti ai
Ne emergono quattro tipologie di pubblico: un publicum in fabula, legato ai programmi in cui il pubblico
è invitato a partecipare; un pubblico, costituito prima e altrove, spesso in relazione con altri media, e
solo incidentalmente televisivo; il pubblico dei fans stabile e consapevole, ma che si colloca in un mondo di
finzione parallela e, infine, il pubblico degli eventi mediali, che presenta tutte le caratteristiche necessarie per
costituire un pubblico, tranne quella della stabilità.
La televisione attuale non appare, quindi, in grado di creare un vero e proprio pubblico quanto piuttosto
un pubblico debole, o marginale, o in costante fuga.
TEMPO E TELEVISIONE
by Claude Domenget, Jean-Pierre Filiu
With the expression ‘mediated temporalities’ we mean the relationship with time perceived during the use of
audiovisual media integrated with social temporalities, playing a role more or less important throughout the
daily life of users. This subject is more concerned with the reception, and tends to differ from the studies focused
on the times of the reception, which use a theoretic approach coming from semiotics and pragmatic. This
essay aims at analysing the temporalities perceived by the users stressing the differences of the relationships
with time according to the age of the user and the evolution of the temporalities with the introduction of new
The relationship that elderly people have with media underlines an approach allowing both «happy
meetings» and «hazards»: the unexpected, together with the habits, plays an important part in their choices.
Time managing is in this case characterized by a temporality of occupation, related to users who leave open
their time of fruition to the television.
The use of PVR (Personal Video Recorder) shows a rational managing of time and activities: a new
kind of time articulation can be observed, that of “conciliation”: it allows combining perfectly the vision of
a television program with the rhythm of life.
by Giorgio Grignaffini
This paper shows how broadcasters operating in a liberal marrket, acting as macrotextual objects, shape a
structured temporal architecture whose consequences on the socio-semiotic level are very challenging.
Focusing on the relations that link the four temporal parameters of television productions, that is structure
of the sequence, duration, temporal positioning and frequency, the article points out that the broadcasting
schedule sets up a dialectics between continuity and discontinuity. Thus the schedule affects the flow of
television on the aspectual level, by inscribing within its construction operations that concern the relations of
continuity and discontinuity. Considering the structure of the sequence and the positioning as parameters
belonging to the aspectual category of punctuality and duration and frequency as associated with durative
aspect, the temporal nature of television can be seen as exhibiting a continual oscillation between unrepeatableness
and cyclicity, between qualitative vision (enhancing the uniqueness value of each broadcast programme)
and quantitative vision of time. Television temporality thereby takes on a strongly self-referential
dimension, which, however, has a close relationship with non-television temporality: not only do the aspectual
dimensions of punctuality and durativity reflect the dialectics between linear and cyclical time typical of
social time, but television temporality is furthermore able to influence the very rhythms of daily life.
Therefore, by endowing the social dimension with a temporality compatible with its own rythm, neotelevision
offers itself as a reassuring social calendar.
by Andrea Bellavita
This essay highlights some of the central issues of a study focused on the relation between social time and
television time within the broadcasting schedule of satellite television in Italy. Analysing the organisation of
the broadcasting schedule can be a useful cognitive tool not only to investigate the nature of satellite television,
but also to examine implicit spectator model. However, satellite television has some characteristics that
imply the need to adopt different analytical categories compared to those used for general broadcasting: the
essentially thematic range of programmes, the nature of multiprogramming and the general absence of commercials
redefine the relation between television time and the temporal framework of social use. The classical
dichotomies are thus redefined, introducing concepts such as spiral flow, flow of appointments, feast, ‘ferialisation’.
The essay then proposes two new interpretive categories. With the paradigm of reappropriation of
time, the usage patterns typical of satellite television are identified: for example, an organisation of viewing
time based on the constant multiplicity of the offer, the availability of a time no longer organised by target,
the increasing offer of non-media social and communicative events. Reappropriated time thus highlights the
change of rhythm of satellite television: the study of the rhythm of the broadcasting schedule represents a new
horizon for analysis.
SPAZIO E TEMPO VIRTUALI DELL'INTERAZIONE
by Carlos A. Scolari
The sequence of actions a user of an interface must perform in order to achieve a given goal is termed interaction
syntax. This paper, starting from the study of some strategies used by the designers of interfaces for
videogames, Internet websites, PC applications, such as the condensation or extension of sequences of actions
and the prolonging of syntax, highlights the emergence of the temporal dimension in man-computer interaction.
It is also possible to identify a narrative dimension in Human Computer Interaction, since interactivity
is a process that takes place along the temporal dimension and is displayed in a linear chain of successive
actions. The narration is thus an element shared by all interactive experiences, from multimedial encyclopaedias
to word-processors, from web surfing to using an ATM. This means it is possible to apply a semiotics
of passions also to interactive environments, and to investigate how interfaces contribute to the creation
of affective states and to arouse emotions. Such an approach would reveal the contractual and interpretative
aspects of a process – interaction with the computer – which is far from being an automatic and ‘natural’ operation.
by Antonio Dini
This essay aims at legitimating videogames as cultural products belonging to the system of genres, endowed
with particular modes of structuring, interaction and using contents.
In order to recognise the unique and original impact of the videogame within the overall mediatic range
we have first of all to consider the capacity of the object to regain possession of the symbolic and technological
space of interaction with the machine: visual space and interactivity with the computer are totally
occupied and evolve according to their own particular metaphors, logic and patterns of use.
By analysing the construction and the relevance of the temporal and spatial dimension in the narration
and in the use of two successful products (the Japanese Shenmue – chapter 1: Yokosuka and Metal Slug
Supervehicle 001), the article highlights how, on the one hand, the stories narrated by videogames are necessarily
and deterministically linked to the specifications of the type of general interaction provided by the hardware;
on the other such stories are linked to strategies belonging to narrative meta-genres, thus offering the
possibility to consider videogames as cultural product that belong to and share genres originally typical of