Stamatia Portanova Tiziana Terranova

Cultural studies and technological mediation

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This essay focuses on the relation between contemporary culture and technological mediation, by adopting the approaches and themes that have traditionally characterized British cultural studies, and by testing their possible declination in the context of Italian digital culture. More specifically, the question of technological mediation is reconsidered in relation to one of the most crucial issues for the cultural studies’ anglophone tradition, that is the representation of cultural identities and differences, while specifically looking at the Italian context. By so doing the essay intends, on one hand, to position itself in the wake of an international intellectual movement that has played a crucial role in the restructuring of academic knowledges and disciplines through the adoption of an inter- and trans-disciplinary thought, while on the other hand recognizing the importance of technological mediation as a subject of critical study in contemporary culture. In contemporary Italy, in fact, the diffusion of social media platforms and apps has coincided with an increasing centrality and visibility of differences of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and race. Drawing on the main theoretical coordinates delineated by the cultural studies approach, and at the same time considering technological mediation as a new fundamental aspect in the construction of social and cultural identities and differences, the essay therefore discusses some videos produced and circulated on the Tik Tok platform in the Italian context. The final aim is to argue that, while the construction of Italian national culture in the second half of the 20th century had mainly taken place through the homogenizing power of television, the historical conjuncture of the 21st century seems now to propose a new politics of differences based and modulated by the algorithmic mediation of platforms.


  • British cultural studies
  • gender
  • race and ethnicity
  • technological mediation
  • Italian social media
  • Tik Tok


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