Panel 6

The Sars-CoV-2 emergency narrative: A discursive-material approach

Chair: Barbara Saracino

University of Bologna, Italy

Abstract submitted by: Andrea Miconi (1); Simona Pezzano (1); Lorenzo Donghi (2); Alessandro Ricci (3); Sara Gandini (4)
1: IULM, Italy; 2: University of Pavia, Italy; 3: University of Bergamo, Italy; 4: European Institute of Oncology, Italy

Topics: Health policies, governance and practices in a postpandemic era; The value of science, technology, innovation and research practices

Keywords: Pandemic, COVID-19, Emergency, Media Coverage

We propose to analyze the Sars-CoV-2 narrative based on the discursive-material model, already put to the test of the social shaping of European memories [Carpentier; The European Assemblage, 2021; Carpentier, Hroch, Cannizzaro, Miconi & Doudaki, Bridging the Discursive and Material Dimensions of Europeanity and Europeanization, 2022, in press]. We will bring in data from the Italian case, while asking for contributions coming from other countries. On the material side, we will analyze the spreading pattern of Sars-Cov-2, by drawing on biostatistics data, in one way; and in the other way, how the epidemic and the following political measures re-shaped the physical spaces of daily life. At the discursive level, we will study the coverage of the pandemic on the part of Italian mainstream media, with a focus on the use of the war metaphor for its framing.

More precisely, we will deal with:

  • systematic reviews and meta-analyses of data related to virus transmission and hospitalizations, which unravel critical evidence: the selective nature of Sars-CoV-2 infection, actually putting at risk specific cohorts of people;
  • the reshaping of physical milieu in the 2020-2022 biennium, with two categories put to question: the alleged de-materialization of human life, and the spatial dimension of discipline;
  • content analysis of all prime-time TV news, broadcast from February 2020 to February 2021, with a focus on the use of the war metaphor for framing the pandemic.

The confirmed panelists will also bring in the findings coming from their participation to the Lack of Scientific Freedom initiative, jointly launched by the Oxford University Center for Evidence-based Medicine, and the Institute for Scientific Freedom in Copenhagen.

For what concerns the call for papers, possible topics to be included in the panel are:

  • Systematic analyses of media narratives related to the Covid-19 emergency;
  • State of public debate, with a focus on freedom of expression and scientific freedom;
  • Distortions in public communication and public understanding of science, with a focus on role played by the so-called TV doctors or medical celebrities;
  • Interpretations of the state of emergency and state of exception, related to the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic;
  • Representation and reshaping pf public spaces during the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic.