Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Daniela Cardini | Università IULM Milan | Italy 


September 15th 2022 | 12.00 – 13.30
Panel #2 | “Escape into the Past and Future ”
Room G.126 | Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Milan, Largo Gemelli 1

Dystopian nostalgia. Oxymorons in pandemic television.

The presentation will focus on the reinterpretation of dystopia in the media in the light of the pandemic. The shock of the lockdown has highlighted how indispensable it is, for the scholar, not only to find keys to interpret the present in real time, but also to re-read the closest events with critical distance. After the pandemic, the very meaning of “dystopian world” becomes an inescapable challenge for researchers: in spite of ourselves, we have lived firsthand in a de- humanized society, in ghostly, deserted and silent cities.
During the pandemic, TV has proved to be both a mirror and a sounding board for post-lockdown dystopian everyday life: in an unpredictable time reversal, the small screen returned to the center of our "segregated" daily lives, becoming relevant even to audiences who were traditionally distant from it.
When our reality became dystopian, our reaction was to turn to nostalgia, reflected and amplified by TV programs and audiovisuals on digital platforms. To escape the harshness of the present, we immersed ourselves in the rewatch of sitcoms and classic series: nostalgia has become the key to survive the uncertainties of our dystopian present (and future?).
In this perspective, the renewed popularity of teen drama is particularly relevant: during the pandemic, this genre appealed also to adult viewers. Successful Italian examples such as Skam or Summertime will be considered, for their capacity to involve adult audiences in young adult stories and make them remember their carefree teens, by presenting a nostalgic world where it seemed comfortable to turn to in hard times.

Daniela Cardini is Associate Professor at IULM University, Milan. Her research is focused on television studies, in particular on seriality in television narratives and production. Among her publications: La canzone nelle serie tv. Forme narrative e modelli produttivi (Pàtron 2021, with Gianni Sibilla); Long TV. Le serie televisive viste da vicino (Unicopli 2017); La lunga serialità televisiva. Origini e modelli (Carocci 2004); Il telecinefilo. Il nuovo spettatore della Grande Serialità televisiva, Between, 8 (2), 2014; Serial contradictions. The Italian debate on television series, SERIES - International Journal of Television Narratives, 2 (1), 2016.