Citizens’ Communication and the 2009 G8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy

Cinzia Padovani


In this article, I explore the emerging communication tactics that citizen committees and movements in L’Aquila, Italy, implemented during the Group of Eight (G8) summit in July 2009 – three months after a devastating earthquake left 80,000 residents homeless. I describe these tactics as 360-Degree Communication, an illuminating case study in citizen media and post-disaster political machinations. The focus is on how three main forms of communication (interpersonal, movements’ relationships with mainstream media, and citizens’ use of information and communication technologies) weaved together to support citizens’ needs to organize and claim a more active role in the rebuilding process. This article also questions dominant views according to which political and civic life in Italy’s south is based on a subservient relationship between power elites and residents, and that only rooted traditions of involvement with organized political parties and civil society can be a strong predictor of an active citizenry.

Full Text: