Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Silvia Leonzi | Sapienza Università di Roma | Italy 


September 16th 2022 | 10.00 – 11.30
Panel #7 | “Bodies and Identities
Room G.127 | Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Milan, Largo Gemelli 1

From natural to cyber: a transmedia approach to body representation in techno-dystopias

The aim of this study is to interpret the role of the body within techno-dystopian narratives, characterised by the overcoming of nature/culture and mind/body dualisms (Haraway, 1991).The techno-dystopias, especially cyberpunk (Baccolini & Moylan, 2003; Berardi, 1994; Gibson et al., 2021), narrate the contradictions of postmodern society (Featherstone & Burrows, 2000), taking to the extreme the ruptures of risk society (Beck, 2000; Giddens, 1994) and the reconfiguration of a social system (Castells, 2002). In these narratives, the body reflects the symbolic meanings that coveythese cracks (Schmeink, 2016), becoming a battlefield in increasingly fluid identity processes, managing to narrate contradictions through the representation of the relationship between flesh, consciousness and technology (Dyens, 2000; Pitts, 2003). The body itself becomes a manifestation of the habitus in techno-dystopian societies. Through a transmedia approach (Leonzi et al 2019) we want to analyze the representations of the body through identity, the Self, bearer of symbolic values at the individual level, and aesthetics, the Persona, the communicative act of the body at the social level, between softand hardtraits. Analysing the intertextual storyworld, developed on a corpus of 35 selected dystopian texts (from 1995 to 2022; including films, series, anime, books, comics, video games), it emerges how representations of the body shifton a continuum between a natural state of the body (total rejection of technology) and a meta-corporeal state (abandonment of corporeality).

Silvia Leonzi is full Professor of Sociology of Cultural and Communication Processes at the Department of Communication and Social Research at Sapienza University of Rome. She is the President of the Master’s Degree Program in ‘Media, Digital Communication and Journalism’. Her research is focused on media studies, cultural consumption, imaginary, strorytelling and transmedia. She is a member of the “GEMMA” Observatory (Gender and Media Matters) and of the inter-university research network "Social and Transmedia Framework”. Among her publications: Lo spettacolo dell’immaginario (2009), La salute tra norma e desiderio (2013), Homo Communicans (with G. Ciofalo, 2013) and La Cibernetica (with G. Ciofalo, 2017).