Pietro Saitta

The secondary effects of a pandemic: «social distancing» and digital activism

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: disasters, resistance, Messina, local/global, social media

Undesired events take place within social spaces endowed with different resources, political situations and histories. This basic rule is even truer when an event is on a world-wide scale, as in the case of Covid-19. In this framework, «social distancing» is likely to produce different responses due to local features. In addition, under the umbrella of the central State, local authorities have degrees of freedom that are used to perform according to the personal aspirations of political leaders. This short paper is based on the dynamics that one of these local leaders, the mayor of Messina (Sicily, Italy), sets in motion. The mayor in question gets to compete with the central state, and establishes a rule that interferes with the indications of the central state; the irresponsibility of this conduct generates a steady reaction by a group of citizens. This paper thus reflects on the secondary (political) effects of the pandemic, the emotional response and the political tactics of a spontaneous grass-root movement that develops through the Internet in a regime of «social distancing».

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