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Identities across Media and Modes: Discursive Perspectives

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Giuliana Elena Garzone and Paola Catenaccio

The recognition that identity is mutable, multi-layered and subject to multiple modes of construction and de-construction has contributed to problematizing the issues associated with its representation in discourse, which has recently been attracting increasing attention in different disciplinary areas. Identity representation is the main focus of this volume, which analyses instances of multimedia and multimodal communication to the public at large for commercial, informative, political or cultural purposes. In particular, it examines the impact of the increasingly sophisticated forms of expression made available by the evolution of communication technologies, especially in computer-mediated or web-based settings, but also in more traditional media (press, cinema, TV). The basic assumption shared by all contributors is that communication is the locus where identities, either collective, social or individual, are deliberately constructed and negotiated.
In their variety of topics and approaches, the studies collected in this volume testify to the criticality of representing personal, professional and organizational identities through the new media, as their ability to reach a virtually unlimited audience amplifies the potential political, cultural and economic impact of discursive identity constructions. They also confirm that new highly sophisticated media can forge identities well beyond the simply iconic or textual representation, generating deeply interconnected webs of meaning capable of occupying an expanding – and adaptable – discursive space.

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GIUDITTA CALIENDO The Role of the New Media in the Promotion of Identity Frameworks 163

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GIUDITTA CALIENDO The Role of the New Media in the Promotion of Identity Frameworks1 1. Introduction The discourse of the European Union is undergoing remarkable changes that also find reflection in new communication strategies at an institutional level. Against a background of widespread Euro- pessimism and deficit in perceived legitimacy, these changes mainly result from the need to promote EU values and identity more effectively, while prompting civic participation and popular endorse- ment (Caliendo/Napolitano 2008: 322). Through the use of textual and visual communicative strategies, the European Union is thus finding new ways to fuel public consensus. In this respect, the EUROPA website2 represents a node of interaction between citizens and institu- tions and a constitutive element in (re)building the foundations of a sense of belonging to EU institutions. An analysis of the most recent textual and visual formulations of the EU’s official website reveals the presence of new consensus- building strategies, where priority is being increasingly placed on a more effective interaction between EU institutions and citizens. In particular, prominence is given to the practical achievements reached by the EU and to the ensuing rights, benefits and services that are 1 This study was conducted within the framework of the Italian National Research Project entitled Identity and Culture in English Domain-Specific Discourse, involving the Universities of Bergamo, Turin, Naples, Rome (IUSM) and Milan. The Scientific Coordinator of the Research Project on a national level is Professor Maurizio Gotti, University of Bergamo: (Last accessed: January 2008). 2 (Last accessed:...

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