Media representation of mutual aid practices: Superbergamo as ‘good news’

Laura Lucia Parolin*, Carmen Pellegrinelli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

During the pandemic, civil society organisations adjusted their purpose to provide support to the most vulnerable. In the midst of the first wave, Superbergamo, an initiative that grew out of local activist associations, provided groceries and medicine to the elderly, the infirm and at-risk groups during the lockdown in Bergamo, Italy. This research analyses a newspaper article from Corriere della Sera published almost two years after the event, which tells the story of Stefano ‘Kino’, one of the volunteers of Superbergamo. Using Critical Discourse Analysis, we show how the mainstream media normalised the story of Superbergamo to transform a critical, radical, leftist mutual aid practice, into an example of charitable volunteering. By omitting and recontextualising central elements, the article inscribed the mutual aid practice in a catholic narrative, stripping it of any critical afflatus of the status quo. Reframed within the catholic vocabulary by the Corriere della Sera’s weekly insert ‘good news’, the story of Superbergamo becomes one that reinforces the common sensical model of catholic charitable volunteering.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Discourse Studies
Volume21
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)112-129
ISSN1740-5904
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

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