Olimpia Affuso

Cultural memory of the mafia. The mafioso trauma and the Italian graphic novel

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This paper offers a reflection on the role of the graphic novel in the elaboration of collective traumas and their memory. This reflection is based on the idea that certain dramatic events are not inherently traumatic. Trauma is the result of social attribution and arises when collective actors recognise it as a part of their identity and consign it to memory. In other words, the trauma is not something that exists naturally, but is rather created in a process of cultural representation. In this process, within discursive public arenas, cognitive and emotional mechanisms of collective elaboration begin and transform an event involving few people into a trauma belonging to the society as a whole. The graphic novel is one of those arenas, hence part of the entire process. Through the analysis of two texts of this genre, "Un fatto umano" and "Lollò Cartisano". "L'ultima foto alla 'ndrangheta", I try to assess the contribution of this kind of storytelling to the representation of traumatic events such as «mafia» crimes.


  • Memory
  • Trauma
  • Mafia
  • Graphic Novel
  • Representation


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