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MEDIA, HISTORY AND SOCIETY

The mass media are the most striking phenomenon of the generation and transmission of the culture of our time. Media, or the means of mass communication, means instruments whose technology allows the dissemination of news and culture far more greater than in any other period of history. On one hand, all the technological tools such as radio, film, television, and languages ​​or even communication channels that rely on old technologies such as print but which, through technical innovation and above all for the great revolution in the mechanisms of cultural distribution occurred at the beginning of the twentieth century, have established themselves in the world of modern communications: the case of the mainstream press such as newspapers, books or comics pocket. However, the means of mass communication itself would be inconceivable if not understood in their study what produces them, the cultural industry, and what they produce: mass culture. The phenomenon can be framed in the period between the end of the twenties and the Second World War, in most industrialised countries, where many new instruments to information and entertainment, from radio to film sound, from press to the pocket book, made their appearance almost simultaneously. An expression intended to broad and lasting fortune, was born: the mass media, (means of mass communication). The most important and disturbing feature of the new instruments was just in their “mass” in the fact that they turned to a huge audience quantitatively and qualitatively undifferentiated and anonymous. The “mass” was a new mysterious entity that dispensed with differences of class, education or opinion.

INDUSTRY CULTURE AND THE CULTURE OF MASS

The notion of “culture industry” was born as an expression of controversy from the title of an essay by Adorno-Horkheimer in Dialectic of Enlightenment content, after World War II. More and more is establishing a culture called “serial”, the fact that it is distributed and marketed by major equipment technical and organisational procedures that adopt “standard” features like those of big business. It is an apparently paradoxical phenomenon, if you think that just the modern conception of culture is founded on the ideal of originality. The controversy is addressed to the degradation process in the so-called high culture: entering into the channels of mass communication, it become a product like any other, the value of which inevitably tends to bottom and to the laws of the market. The term culture industry is therefore designate an organisation of production and distribution of a particular type of culture, called “mass culture” that developed in the industrial society. The cultural industry includes publishing, television and other means of communication. Its purpose is to provide the fullest possible information on various topics, able to spark the interest of everyone. Characteristics of mass culture are the eclecticism, the simplicity of the language, the simplification of the proposed topics, the universalisation of the issues. All this helps to form an average level of public and culture. The audience of mass culture is mostly passive and does not shine for a critical spirit. It follows the conformism that is nothing if not passive acceptance, uncritical and customary ideas and norms of behaviour of the majority. The individual thus adopts the personality type that is offered to him by cultural patterns. It is clear that in these conditions the conditioning to which the people are subjected is very accentuated. The “second industrial revolution” changed the forms and times of cultural production. In the new mass society was possible to enter the market of cultural goods produced in series and based on business policies similar of those of any other economic sector. The serials published in the nineteenth century in the United States and Europe were some of the first examples of the “serial culture” that would enormously popular in the twenties and thirties, arousing the indignation of many intellectuals concerned about the standardisation of culture. The idea of ​​the artist as creator of isolated unique works of art, was distant, in the age of mechanical reproduction new technologies and means of mass communication could afford a team of professionals to predict the tastes of the public. At the end of the century cultural production had become collective, the result of complex processes that participated the “individual creators”, the coordinators and organisers, as in any other branch of industry. The motion picture, episodes, soap opera, comic books on a monthly basis and the same multimedia products are the result of entrepreneurial policies based on programming and market research aimed at the commercialisation of products accessible and cost-effectively. The decades between the two world wars were a period of great artistic and cultural vitality, and in this context also the film finally found their place as the “seventh art” and presenting itself as a genuine industrial activity very profitable. In the twenties, the film techniques were being refined and specialised, so that this period is called “apogee of silent film” (the first sound film was The Jazz Singer, 1927), the United States were the main protagonists of this phase, investing profusely in the film industry and creating a very rigid structure in order to bring out the Hollywood myth, through a clever use of the star system, the studio system and the codification of genres, aimed at a wider audience. During the same period, however, the individual national cinemas were becoming more and more firmly rooted and, especially in Germany and Russia, linked to political, social and artistic vitality of the immediate postwar years, reached high aesthetic levels. In particular, Germany was the birthplace of Expressionism that is already present in the literature and visual arts, is also expressed in the film conveying a sense of unreality and nightmare, characterised by transitions, overlays, alienating use of light and shadow, through directors such as Fritz Lang (Dr Mabuse, 1922; Die Nibelungen, 1923-24; Metropolis, 1926; M, 1931), Robert Wiene (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1924), FW Murnau (Nosferatu, 1922). Even in the early years of Bolshevik Russia, some great directors produced and often works very significant breakthrough for the use of cinematic techniques and editing as a tool for effective communication, such as Dziga Vertov (Man with camera, 1929) and Sergei Eisenstein (Strike, 1925; The Battleship Potemkin, 1926; October, 1927; Alexander Nevsky, 1938).

RADIO AND TELEVISION

Between the years of the New Deal and World War II, the United States appeared on a large scale new means of mass communication, such as the sound film, the tabloids and especially the radio. Invented by the Italian Guglielmo Marconi (1895), the radio became the new media through which those who ran it, he could communicate with a huge audience and quantitatively unknown, anonymous and undifferentiated. The United States established a free market of commercial broadcasters, supported by advertising revenue, but in Europe prevailed the state monopoly of broadcasting given in concession to companies, such as the Italian Eiar. At the end of the thirties were widespread in Italy more than a million radios and they are part of the collective memory images of crowds of people trying to listen to the voice of the leader or the sports commentary. In the years between the two world wars the radio will become a powerful tool for propaganda in totalitarian regimes going to meet a set of technical specifications that will improve quality and power: the first radio broadcast in Italy is made up of a speech by Mussolini in 1924 , while in Germany the radio will become a real weapon in the hands of the genius of Nazi propaganda. In the same years in Britain (1936) appeared the first regular broadcasts destined for a small circle of users (in Italy the first experimental broadcasts dating back to 1938). Indeed, it was only after the Second World War, which spread with amazing speed black-and-white television, first in the United States (which in 1950 began experimenting with the colour) and in the fifties in Italy, where the colour was introduced in 1977. Along with the car, the television is one of the most characteristic of the consumer society of contemporary mass. An instrument with enormous potential, always subject to political competition for its control, whose capillary diffusion in every corner of the world has played a decisive role in the approval of tastes and needs, as for the knowledge of the lifestyles of the Western world.

CULTURAL LIFE: THE BIRTH OF CINEMA IN FRANCE

In the late nineteenth century, France knows many changes concerning the cultural, social and economic life, in fact there was the development of new inventions that cause the emergence of new entertainments, for example the cinema. During the following years the progress grows more and the desires and expectations of the people change. Youth affirms its desire to live by his taste of music (jazz, rock and roll) and new wave cinema. With the invention of the transistor receivers radio broadcasts experiencing a revolution and the French song became popular. From the 60s TV begins to penetrate households, in fact it becomes an essential channel for the dissemination of culture, methods and ideas. The development of mass communication creates new languages ​​and new modes of expression that expand the traditional literary towards paraliterature who conquers a increasingly wide public. The development of radio, television, advertising, publishing (newspapers, magazines, periodicals) and film offer to literate people trades which integrate more into society. Every writer has his audience and prestige whom depend largely from the image magazines and television give him, also literary awards play an important role in its success. The cinema was born in France in 1895 thanks to the brothers Auguste and Louise Lights, indeed they invented the cinematograph. The first projection takes place in a cafe on the Boulevard des Italiens in Paris in 1895. They believe neither art nor commerce, but they made small application movies where they have fun unpretentious. Following the success of their invention they invented the story. They are interested in the life of every day: they are the first realistic filmmakers transcribe the truth without artifice and give the banality of everyday unknown beauty. They projected in the Indian Lounge Grand Café on the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris many films. These films all show a movement toward the viewer and the image motion. Next to the cinema Brothers Enlightenment there was a visionary fantasy of Enlightenment Georges Méliès, he turns the first fantasy film, with special effects, overlays and colours painted on the film and its stages. It will make the instrument cinema of illusion. He shuts himself up in a studio, he invents sets, special effects, and gives the impression that the illusion is reality. His favourite theme is the journey through the impossible where fantasy and poetry are expressed in images. It is not only a creator but he invented the marketing of the film, advertising, representation, the tricks, and everything that will become the fabulous company film. Many of his films have been the success, for example “The melomane, Trip to the Moon, The conquest of the pole.” In 1910, Gaumont and Pathé created a film production that could face the United States, they ruin Méliès and he died in obscurity. The French silent cinema periode can be divided into 3 stages. Realism, influenced by the surrounding film, then l'Avant Guard with Dada, and Surrealism, the most famous phase strongly related to painting and poetry, with some great directors the surrealists of the time. The first realism filmmakers are fascinated by the first German and Swedish films .. They are discovering the beauty of everyday gestures, gestures “purely from us.” Louis Deluc invented the film critic, he wrote many of the scenario of different films, and he founded the IDHEC, which is now Ensmis in the old Pathé studios in Paris. The Avant Garde of french cinema began with Abel Gance “J'accuse” in 1919, it is a cry of revolt against the war, a war story, with many processes Overlays. He filed patents tricks. After it runs “La Rue” his first major masterpiece, film about the life around railway train has alternating fixtures jerky, a broken rhythms and a modern cut. Man through the machine, you can see what he calls the optical music, which he compared to Beethoven. This period is characterised by the absenc of abstract art, but a real cutting and assembly. Surrealism follows the Avant Garde of french cinema as it does to Dadaism in literature, painting and poetry. Precursors surrealism are Rimbaud and Lautréamont, they seek the foundations of a new art and propose a new approach to poetry and painting. They reject the shackles of reason claim the omnipotence of dream and imagination. Imagination opens an infinite space without limits. Surrealist invent new forms of artistic creation and use automatic writing, dictation of the unconscious. This trend highlights, by distorting the surreal appearance of feelings and situations. The first surrealist film “Un Chien Andalou” by Luis Bunuel, there is a very subtle relationship between metaphor and meaning, and this makes the film irrational. In surrealist films there are many close-ups, empty scenery, clean images, in some scenes the picture looks like a cry.

SCHOLARS SOCIETY AND THE MASS

Faced with the massification of society, a phenomenon that has prevailed in an irreversible way between the two world wars, the reaction of the intellectuals was geared mainly to concern. It was a minority, especially in the context of the left, the position of those who saw in mass society an element of democratic progress, which gave space in classes traditionally marginalised from the social and political life. Instead the idea prevailed that the mastication of politics, consumption and culture, were due to an increasing standardisation of values ​​that put at risk the person's identity. This pessimism, together with an aristocratic conception of society, characterises the work of the Spanish philosopher Ortega Gasset (1883-1955), author of a text entitled significant: the masses of the Rebellion (1930). The development of industry, political democracy, the spread of education and social communication have allowed access to the broad masses of consumption and lifestyles previously reserved to the upper classes: in these phenomena, however, Ortega sees no factors of progress but signs of deep decadence, of barbarism. In mass society occurs, in his view, a profound and radical change: the individual reasonable, self-confident, the typical middle-class, is taken over by the '“mass-man” unable to govern and judge in a mature way, easy prey of conditioning and sensitive to the demagogic appeal of totalitarianism. Explaining the emergence of the masses with the social phenomenon of “massification”, even if Ortega does not call him in this manner, the Spanish author applies a negative connotation to the whole social movement that brought the masses to a historical presence aware. For mass means a “group of people not particularly qualified” because it is the average man, who possesses common quality and is indistinguishable from other men. Ortega laments especially the cancellation of the discriminant that separates minorities and the masses, a cultural and social discrimination. In the history of previous activity “special” like that of politics, were carried out by qualified minorities, because they needed special qualities and mass did not expect to intervene in them because they do not yet possess them. Now, however, Ortega speaks of a “iperdemocracy” means the mass has assumed power in every field of society and the law makes any impulse and need material that feels municipality. The rise of mass society is also linked to the birth of a new field of research, that of “crowd psychology”, which studies the mechanisms that drive the collective behaviours. Since the end of the nineteenth century in fact we are witnessing the spread of the masses in the strikes, assemblies and demonstrations, namely agglomerations of individuals previously unknown united in the same place for the same reasons. Already in 1895, the French essayist and physician Gustave Le Bon (1841-1931) published a paper entitled “The psychology of crowds”, which demonstrated the new perception of reality represented by the crowd, with its potential to transform the lives and social policy, and tried to analyse the reasons for his action. It pointed out that in certain situations the crowd is quite different from the sum of isolated individuals, the personality of each individual fades and form a “collective soul”, where certain ideas, certain feelings arise and become only acts in it. The crowds are called “little prone to reasoning but very suitable to action,” because essentially driven by instinct, by “random motions of the excitement,” from unconscious phenomena difficult to discover. Even the isolated individual may be subject to the same excitations but the reason has the ability to control, indicating the possible disadvantages. Crowds can obey different impulses, generous or cruel, heroic or cowardly, and never allow obstacles between a desire and its fulfilment, the feeling of having set up an irresistible power. The individual in the crowd becomes aware of the strength that comes from numbers and nothing seems impossible. Every crowd then search instinctively the authority of a leader, a driver, and his will in fact forms the core around which are formed and identify opinions. Often leaders are not men of thought but of action, aimed at pursuing their purpose in every way, even breaking down the self-preservation instinct. Sigmund Freud, in an essay entitled Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921), faced with the tools of psychoanalysis, the relationship between the individual and the “mass” and sought the reasons that lead the group in a single aggregate to behave differently than it would block. Against the thesis of Le Bon, Freud denies that the psychology of crowds is qualitatively different from that individual. The collective behaviour of the crowd is determined by the ratio of identification that is established between its components, which are to take on a unique identity, and all the members of the crowd identify with a leader when they see their own “ego ideal,” meaning that personality that everyone wants to be. The mass is held together by some power that Freud identifies in love, which “binds all things in the world.” If the mass of the individual waives his way of being personal, and it influenced by others, it happens because he wants to be in harmony with others. The essence of the collective psyche therefore are loving relationships.

TOTALITARIAN SYSTEMS AND MEDIA

In mass society, public opinion expands its size by controlling and influencing political activity, but also is conditioned with modern techniques of propaganda, namely the systematic dissemination of messages and information intended to provide a positive or negative image of events, people, institutions, but also to commercial products. In the political field propaganda becomes an essential component of the mass society. During the First World War (1914 - 1918), for the first time political propaganda is used widely and on a national scale by the various governments, to popularise the cause of the war. Even at the end of the war are being used more and more new communication media such as radio and cinema, with a capacity of penetration and the ability to revolutionise human life not imaginable a few years ago. It is obvious that all political systems, dealing with the problem of consensus of the masses, use such means, from the Twenties onwards. Two examples are the totalitarian regimes of Fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany, based on the formation of consensus and passively conformity through propaganda. Fundamental tool of Fascist and Nazi regimes, propaganda involved all sectors of economic, social, political and cultural area, it construct and disseminate a “positive” image of the regime and it organise, in various forms, the consensus of the masses. Both in Germany and in Italy were built appropriate institutions for propaganda. In 1933, Goebbels was appointed head of the new Ministry for popular culture and propaganda, and the following year Ciano changed Mussolini's press office in the Undersecretariat for the press and propaganda, and it became in 1935 the Ministry. A rigidly centralised system checked and folded the tools of mass communication for their own purposes, especially radio (introduced in Italy in 1924), but also newspapers, and subsequently cinema, which became an increasingly powerful vehicle for the glorification of the regime.

NAZI - PROPAGANDA IN GERMANY

Propaganda was very important for Nazism. The power of the NSDAP (Nazionalsozialistiche German Workers' Party) was able to use perfectly certain characters and objects with demagogic purposes and around it built a complete propaganda. The art and technology were at that time the clear feature of identification of people with the party and its leader Adolf Hitler. The Nazi Party used all the means including art, architecture, music, sculpture, but also the latest technology in order to expand their influence and eliminate enemies. Although the rhetoric, gestures and facial expressions rules that were used by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, were already known, they made it possible for the two men to mobilise the electorate. This was unknown in German history until then. This is such a powerful weapon that even the current politicians use such means to influence the voters. They often appear on television, in the newspapers, give interviews and provide their families before. It is not so important what the politicians say, but how they present themselves to the public. They build almost a myth around their person. The former Nazi politicians were, however, also strongly influenced by the production strategies of Hollywood. From Hollywood, they learned how to use technology properly and effectively. They used the proceeds from the heavy industry to modern technologies such as radios or speakers and to make documentaries about their ideas and ideologies in order to buy a larger mass audience. Consequently, it is no surprise that the NSDAP was during the late twenties and in the thirties the strongest political party in Germany. During his propaganda campaign by Germany Hitler took a plane used as a means of transport. He was one of the first politicians at all, the technology made themselves subservient. Each NSDAP meeting and convention was transmitted via loudspeaker. One of the intentions of the Nazis was to portray Hitler as a powerful and unbeatable man. He should be viewed as leaders of Germany and soon of the whole world. Posters and photographs of him had to be hung in every office, and every home. Sculptures and busts were made and distributed throughout Germany. Hitler's book “Mein Kampf” was printed in large numbers, and every German citizen should have a copy at home. Furthermore, the Nazi Party's aim was to create the myth of the German Aryan. The company had to be without homosexuals, disabled, mentally impaired people, Jews and Bolshevik. The Aryan myth was based on criteria of race and people with blue eyes, blond hair and strong body as a typical German characteristics. The NSDAP used all possible means of art during the Third Reich. Painting, sculpture, architecture, music and the latest technology had been used to influence the German citizens sustainably. Nazism was especially known for his self-presentation and demagoguery. The Nazis Art made themselves subservient to enforce their ideas and goals. The art and culture functioned therefore as an effective means and also as “decoration” for a regime that tried to bridge the gap between reality and propaganda. It was alleged that it was the art for the masses and not just for an intellectual elite.

The fascist ideology has no particular originality in content, its theoretical basis is derived from interpretations of the philosophical doctrines of the recent past or cultural movements then in vogue: the Hegelian ethical state, the proletarian nation and the imperialism from nationalism, the dynamism of futurism, the exaltation of the superman Nietzsche, the centrality of the family and the role of mother and wife from Catholic conservatism. The central figure is the one of the charismatic leader, the Duce of Fascism: Mussolini. In fact, the leader does not base its power on the sacred character or office of his authority, but about his exceptional qualities that make it an infallible figure. The myth of the ethical state was what allowed the fascist regime to stand as interpreter of the general interest, in the mid-30s the regime attempted to form part of the great powers, rising in defence of spiritual ​​and heroic values of the European civilisation, anti - Bolshevik. Facing the general hostility of other countries against the Italian expansionism, Fascist found itself isolated and ended up inventing the new myth of autarchy. The fascist ideology is finally identified in the blind faith in the nation, synthesising in the motto: Believe, Obey, Fight, which accompanied the heroic vision of the war, proposed in an increasingly obsessive way as natural vocation of dynamic people. The action took shape in art and ritual, in fact, from Futurism and aestheticism in general, the fascist ideology stemmed all her passion for theatrics, gestures and multiple events to celebrate his own exaltation. More than ideas, innovative were the conditioning techniques with which powerful interests who were behind the ideology and the fascist totalitarian regime managed to influence not only the middle class but also the proletariat. They did a good use of advertising, radio, comics and cinema, celebrations and mass demonstrations, dialogues from the balcony of the leader to the people gathered in the square, enhancement of manual labor through the multiple interpretations of the leader. The new means of communication, primarily radio, allowed direct access to all Italians in their own homes, from large cities to remote country cottage. The speeches of the Duce were simultaneously transmitted in schools, workshops, public squares across the country, through the speakers and to the extent that were heard collectively by families or entire communities were perceived as real events. Played a more important role in visual communication tools: film, photography, comics for youth, cartoons, postcards and advertising. In 1933 the institute “Light” was placed under the Ministry of popular culture with the task of documenting the works of the regime and to disseminate the official pictures through photo shoots, films, documentaries, newsreels and propaganda distributed in cinemas. In any newsreel the policy did not occupy more than half the time but the other arguments held a political function. Since 1931 the regime gave to the press clear directives requiring each paper to stamp optimism, confidence, security in the future, instead of eliminating the scare and pessimistic stories. It is reported in detail what news should be censored, but especially as you were to give the information, photographs of events must always be examined from the point of view of politics. The images of Mussolini and the Fascist appeared almost every day with those of the works and achievements of the regime, were as frequent illustrations that exalted the combative ardor of Fascist: its military strength, its economic prosperity, its dynamic energy, and finally his sense of internal discipline. Obscured the reality with the restrictive measures of the propaganda apparatus, the works of the scheme expressed their emphatic monumentality: the armies armed with modern weapons of war multiplied with the photomontages, the fields were full of crops lush, prolific moms churn out future soldiers. The regime undertook to transform into images a reality not existing that was passed off as imperial magnificence. The photographic images of the regime may be considered as pieces of a mosaic that reflects the structure of the story, to tell the radiant story of fascist in which the Italians had to recognise parts of a whole. The photographic image was to appear as a document of irrefutable fact. Starting in the '30s, comics are also fascist affected, in the characters and subjects to achieve complete self-sufficiency of stories: The Corriere dei Piccoli, the Balilla, The Bold, The Adventurous, all these comic books followed the directives of the regime, appeared in stories for children who were as young players with the typical black uniform from Balilla that in their adventures mocked opponents of fascist. It also multiplied the historical stories with fascist veins. Current political stories appeared aimed at enhancing the fascist enterprises in Africa or the war in Spain.

THE IMAGE OF THE DUCE

The initially image spread of Mussolini, was the man of Government brilliant, sporty, elegant, super-active, typical image of American-style electioneering. From the '30s began to assert imperial iconography, where the head of the leader is magnified or multiplied to infinity by obsessively photomontages. The image of the leader was omnipresent and omnipotent being photographed shirtless while threshing, he founding the city with the plow, riding fiery horses or piloting fast race cars. The photographic document must also prove the relationship of love and identification between the leader and the people. The photographs of his speeches had the honour of the first page of a newspaper. Minimising the privacy aspects of the leader was indispensable to elevate it from its role as a father or husband at the head of household of the entire national community. Photography made it possible to enhance the physical characteristics of the leader with special lighting effects and photo retouching (look hard, particular pose, hands on hips). A key aspect of his public image was constructed to assign attributes of trust, physical vigour, virility and youth. The leader was a living model of the fascist and Italic virtues through the staging of its activities. At work her figure became a symbol of extraordinary industriousness, he was not only the thresher, but he was also the miner among the miners, often the manufacturer, and always the leader.

MUSSOLINI INCITES THE CROWDS

Mussolini's speeches to the crowds gathered in front of the Venezia Palace in Rome, were released by radio across the country and constituted an important moment of political propaganda and consensus-building to the regime in the mid-'30s, reached its highest level. The song contains a passage from the short speech given by Mussolini October 2, 1935 to announce the military mobilisation against Ethiopia and is a typical example of his oratorical style. Mussolini did not read and used a rhetorical and emphatic language, but he was very effective from the point of view of communication and capable of transmitting to the crowds who listened to him directly or by radio, security and military-patriotic enthusiasm.

Here some of his words: “World, beyond the mountains and over the seas! Blackshirts of the revolution! Men, listen, Women from all over Italy! Italians, the solemn hour is about to strike in the history of the country. Twenty million people occupy at this time the squares throughout Italy. Ever was seen in the history of mankind something more gigantic. Twenty millions of men: one heart, one will, one decision. Their display must show and prove to the world that Italian fascism and is a perfect, absolute, unalterable identity. They may believe otherwise only the brains wrapped in the bigger ignorance of men, this Italy 1935 XIII years of the Fascist era. For many months the wheel of fate, under the impulse of our calm determination, moves toward the goal: at this time the pace is faster and become unstoppable!. It is not just an army that tends toward its goals, but it's an entire nation forty-four million souls, against which you try to consume the blackest of injustices: to take away a little place under the sun. When in 1915 Italy jumped into the fray and confused his fortunes with those of the Allies, how many exaltations of our courage and how many promises! But, after the common victory, to which Italy had given the supreme contribution of six hundred and seventy thousand victims, one million four hundred thousand maimed and wounded, around the table of the greedy peace, Italy gained just little crumbs of the rich colonial spoils of others. We have been patient for thirteen years …. With Ethiopia we have been patient forty years. Enough! ”

CONSENSUS AND ITS INSTRUMENTS

About the consensus that approximately half of the thirties, the fascist regime was able to obtain, in recent times has been discussed a lot, especially at the urging of the progressive publication (between 1965 and 1981) of the various ponderous volumes of Renzo De Felice devoted to a painstaking reconstruction of the political process of Mussolini. Undoubtedly there is in this aspect of the technique of fascist power, especially the part about Mussolini, a very specific conception of the masses. Mussolini was convinced that the function of his charismatic power was to express through this form of contract with the people, to dialogue with the people: the boss gives the watchword, inspires, mobilizes the energy. It is the classic concept of charismatic function. This was not the highest point of the technique of fascist power, the highest point was represented by the evaluation of the means of mass information. The Mussolini's speech was the highlight moment, the moment of enthusiasm, the moment of identification with the leader of the masses so at least he would have wanted it to be, and was, undoubtedly, in some circumstances. But this was only one aspect of the system. The speech must be developed on the control exercised by the fascism on all forms of information, not only the traditional tools of information but even more, the cinema, the radio. The policy of mass fascist became the core of the fascist system under which a decisive place also had trade unions and a whole series of initiatives of social, sporting, entertainment and so on, because fascism consent and participation in the scheme had to be active, not passive. For Fascism, in other words, it was necessary that the masses would feel integrated into the system, which they felt involved, either because they were in direct relationship with the charismatic leader, and because participants in a revolutionary process.

THE GLOBAL VILLAGE

The term “global village” appeared in the sixties to indicate the progressive approach and then cross-contamination of cultures in various parts of the world through the new means of communication (telephone, radio, television) and transportation. But it was in the eighties and nineties that the term became customary, when instruments such as fax and mobile phone, cable television and satellite, VCR and CD player, the modem and the computer, the e-mail and the Internet spread greatly and became familiar objects for millions of individuals. The perception of the world and its distance is changed, while the same actors, singers, personalities of television serials penetrated into the homes of all walks of life, in the North as in the South. Over time, therefore, the use of electronic media is changed. Collective listening to the radio or television with the families gathered in the home, or with crowds of spectators in public places, are replaced with individual connection with the “global village” through mobile radios, portable cd players, personal computers, etc.. But it was above all the ability of the viewer to become an active subject directly involve with the media, which altered the communication system, segmenting and giving a tangible sense in terms such as “interactivity” and “globalisation.”

WORLD WIDE WEB

WWW stands for World Wide Web, which indicates the “global spider's web” formed by the connection through the computer networks of a very large number of computers spread all over the world. The origin of the network dates back to the late sixties, when the U.S. military planned a communications system considered unassailable in case of conflict, due to its widespread distribution in an unknown number of supercomputers rather than in a single centre easily identifiable and therefore vulnerable. In a few years the network spread in government offices and in American universities. New technical means (such as a modem), new systems and data processing programs, new and more agile computer allowed the progressive and increasingly simple diffusion of the links between banks, corporations, and private citizens. In the early nineties the information available on the Internet network, became accessible to an increasing number of users, able in turn to enrich the amount of information on the network. At the end of the twentieth century, the Internet seems to be the best place for the creation of “virtual meeting” to communicate, work and play. Integral part of the “globalised” world, the World Wide Web is the realisation that more than any other technique seems to give body to the utopia of the “global village”.

INTERNET AND TELEVISION IN COMPARISON

As a computer monitor and a television resemble each other, the Internet - which, not surprisingly, due to its characteristics, has been defined as a kind of “collective intelligence” - has almost nothing to do with the general television, the most powerful levelling tool of mass that has ever existed. Television is a medium ephemeral by definition, his images are volatile, fluctuating his speeches. It is a river that flows in one direction at an ever increasing speed. The discourse of television, unlike the book, the newspaper, the videotape, CD ROM, is unique, and if something has escaped to our understanding, we are not given the time to come back to it, to think. On the contrary, the Internet possesses an extraordinary ability: any topic can be analyzed and studied in detail with endless references to similar topics. The television traveling on the surface, Internet goes deep. There are therefore good reasons not to be ensnared by the false debate whether the Internet will supplant television or vice versa, and indeed it is certain that these two means, thanks to their incompatibility, will remain both of them, rather than allying themselves battling. What distinguishes one from the other mediums are not only the language, the audience to whom it is addressed, the “message”, technology or form of apparatus, but the time. Each medium has its own time, its own rhythm of time. For example: read the written text of a news program and compare that with what appears on your newspaper the next day. You will be amazed by its approximation because the value of the news on the television consisted of “timeliness” quality time “ontologically” other than that of the newspaper whose time, that reading is subjective and not imposed by the medium. Not to mention the timing of the film in which, for example, the novel of a life described in a book of six hundred pages, is “compressed” over a hundred minutes. The plurality of the media not only corresponds to the plurality of users but also to the fact that each user is “plural” in itself. In fact, depending on the time of day and the place where you are located, each of us feels the need of something ephemeral or deeper, something that distracts us or help us to understand, something that we can easily see at the beach or on the bus (book, radio, newspaper) or at home (Internet, TV, CD-ROM's, etc..). The bourgeois public sphere, born in the second half of the seventeenth century, is much narrower: captains of industry, wealthy merchants, professionals, intellectuals. Not many are granted the privilege to publish articles, and only some of the subjects, the literate, are able to read them. And yet, around this small outbreak of cultural unrest, will gather the entire Third State that will gain the power. A dominant feature in the sphere of public opinion is rational argumentation. The critical and most bitter invectives bloodiest are, and always, the result of an argument. The invention of the radio caused a revolution in the sphere of public opinion. Virtually all citizens can express and make public their ideas whatever their class, whether they know how to read and write or not. The rulers proclamations can now bypass the circumscribed sphere, and often critical, traditional public who reads the newspapers and gathers to discuss in living rooms, to go directly to an indistinct accumulation, defined people, public, users. The advent of television consecrate and consolidate this metamorphosis of the figure of the citizen in the category of “people.” Thus it was born, in the early decades of the twentieth century, thanks to radio and television, mass opinion. And 'the widespread erroneous belief that radio and television have simply produced as a result of propagation, a widening of the circle of public opinion. Public opinion in fact rests on rational, on conviction, on the strength of reasoning, and the opinion of the mass feeding of suggestion, demagogy, the externality, in a word, of irrationality. This contrast between suggestion and reason, populism and democracy, conformity and spiritual wealth, culture and ignorance is, nowadays, more antagonistic than that between the right and left, however the categories inside the rational sphere of politics and “free choices and aware. ” It is easy to understand on which side is the Internet, a medium that requires an education (must be able to write as well as read), a certain familiarity with other languages, the knowledge of the computer and the network, and, before that, people need to own a computer. This space of social communication has been foreclosed by the commercial TV, “censored” humbled by the gauntlet of cheap disclosure. For this reason, in front of a TV “which does not allow”, and a press that has partly forgotten his noble origin, the Internet is at least a hope, a chance to recover, on a planetary scale, a public space of communication about culture, science, art and politics.

GLOBALISATION

A “keyword” of the late twentieth century and the new millennium is “globalisation,” a term that in its present sense was almost unknown until the eighties. If a typical trait of the capitalist economy is given by the constant search for new markets and the strength of attraction in the dominant economic system of all local economies a process accelerated at the beginning of the century under the influence of the “second industrial revolution” at the end of the twentieth century, the world is “connected” than ever before. In almost every corner of the planet is now possible to drink Coca-Cola or connect to the largest network of Internet, buy Japanese products, or see satellite television programs. The examples could be many, and the phenomenon is not entirely new. Migration, for example, were also massive in the late nineteenth century. But the most recent technological development that has characterized the “global village” has made it possible to create trade flows involving a variety of products, goods and services, consumer goods and capital “immaterial” goods. The same process of production of goods, under the effects of the “third industrial revolution”, it is increasingly fragmented in different areas of the planet, among them very far. Important states and regions for a long time remained at the margins of the world economy such as China, India and Brazil. They are now included in the process of globalisation, but the social costs paid by these countries are very high. This process, in fact, it has fostered the modernisation of some countries and the economic development of others, it has also heavily accentuated the gap between North and South, between groups and social classes. As a reaction to these macroscopic processes, in not a few countries have strengthened the movement “anti-Western”, religious fundamentalism and nationalism: the phenomena that, in different ways, tend to express a desperate resistance against the loss of local “identity”.

Sociology


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