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Title: The web will kill them all: new media, digital utopia, and political struggle in the Italian 5-Star Movement
Authors: Natale, Simone
Ballatore, Andrea
Keywords: Californian ideology
Gianroberto Casaleggio
Digital sublime
Digital utopia
Beppe Grillo
Italian politics
Movimento 5 Stelle/5-Star Movement
New media
Old media
Web utopia
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Sage / © The Authors
Citation: NATALE, S. and BALLATORE, A., 2014. The web will kill them all: new media, digital utopia, and political struggle in the Italian 5-Star Movement. Media, Culture and Society, 36 (1), pp. 105 - 121.
Abstract: This article examines the role of discourses about new media technology and the web in the rise of the 5-Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle, or M5S) in Italy. Founded by comedian and activist Beppe Grillo and web entrepreneur Gianroberto Casaleggio in 2009, this movement succeeded in becoming the second largest party at the 2013 national elections in Italy. This article aims to discuss how elements of digital utopia and web-centric discourses have been inserted into the movement's political message, and how the construction of the web as a myth has shaped the movement's discourse and political practice. The 5-Star Movement is compared and contrasted with other social and political movements in western countries which have displayed a similar emphasis on new media, such as the Occupy movement, the Indignados movement, and the Pirate Parties in Sweden and Germany. By adopting and mutating cyber-utopian discourses from the so-called Californian ideology, the movement symbolically identifies itself with the web. The traditional political establishment is associated with "old" media (television, radio, and the printed press), and represented as a "walking dead," doomed to be superseded and buried by a web-based direct democracy.
Description: This article has been accepted for publication in the journal, Media, Culture and Society [Sage / © The Authors]. The definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0163443713511902
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1177/0163443713511902
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/19392
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0163443713511902
ISSN: 0163-4437
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies)

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