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Walls Built Up, Walls Written Down: Of Symbolic Value, Material Effectiveness and Media Representation of Barriers in Padua, Italy

Abstract : In the last few years, the city of Padua, Italy has had a place in the media spotlight thanks to its "walls", urban barriers of different kinds, dimensions and purposes, the foremost example of which is the so-called "Via Anelli Wall". This essay means to contribute to the investigation of the "Padua Walls" phenomenon. By trying to move a step further from current debates on negative and positive features of the proliferation of "walls" in Europe and the world, it argues that such barriers - and the politics behind them - should be read as symptoms more than as solutions (regardless of their actual effectiveness as such). I propose an interpretive key for the "Padua Walls" phenomenon that treats them as signals of a lingering malaise (of which Padua is a case study but by no means the only example) that stems from the current devolution of concepts such as solidarity, belonging, community. By doing so, I address both the concreteness and materiality of such barriers and of their construction, and the representation that media have produced, in parallel, of them as processes and concepts. Particular attention is paid, in the blend of case studies and discussions that constitutes this article, to the juxtaposition of symbolic value and practical efficacy of the "Padua Walls", and its implications in the formation of societal rites and policy-making choices.
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https://hal-mines-paristech.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00448030
Contributor : Catherine Lucas <>
Submitted on : Monday, January 18, 2010 - 4:26:12 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 24, 2020 - 5:00:28 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, June 17, 2010 - 9:26:19 PM

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Francesca Musiani. Walls Built Up, Walls Written Down: Of Symbolic Value, Material Effectiveness and Media Representation of Barriers in Padua, Italy. Holten, J., Madsen Simenstad L. You Are Here: Europa Today, Broken Dimanche Press, pp.39-61, 2009. ⟨hal-00448030⟩

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