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Postgrad photo_ Max Urbano_cropMA (Liverpool Hope), MA(Bologna), BA (Bologna)

Completed 2017: PhD

Thesis Title:

Becoming-common: affective technologies and grassroots activism in contemporary Italy

Thesis Abstract:

This thesis employs ethnographic methods to study grassroots activism in contemporary Italy. Through non-representational analysis, which involves participant observation and interviews in activist communities, I observe how technologies are affective and how, in relating to human and nonhuman bodies, technology can build a capacity to resist the Italian capitalist establishment. I suggest that the groups who have participated in this research provide a valuable, original example of how neoliberal tendencies to use technologies for domination can be resisted. The thesis outlines three forms of resistance involving the use of technology. First, the use of technology to produce affective spaces of collaboration; second, building technologies for the conservation and the production of grassroots memory; and, third, the use of corporate social media as a means to reach large numbers of people. I argue that a capacity for political action emerges from these practices, which I describe as a process of becoming-common, that is, as moments of coordination, solidarity and mutuality. The thesis thus demonstrates that the processes of becoming-common emerge in affective arrangements and enable a capacity for collective action from below.


Dr Brett Nicholls

Dr Rosemary Overell

Personal Information:

I graduated from the University of Bologna with History and Political Sciences BA and with Contemporary European History MA and from Liverpool Hope University with Contemporary Art History MA. After working as a freelancer for some art projects and newspapers in Italy, I started as a PhD candidate at the Department of Media Film and Communication in October 2013. My main interests regard radical social movements, Marxism and post-Marxism, anarchist theory, feminist theory, ethnographic methodologies, affect theory, history and philosophy of science and technology.


Social Movements, Resistance and Collective Action in Italy. Social Movements Resistance and Social Change II: Possibilities, Ideas, Demands (2-4 September 2015, Auckland University of Technology).
Resisting methods: doing research with, for and on social movements. Trans/forming Feminism: Media, Technology, Identity (23-25 November 2015, University of Otago).
Grandmothers' recipes for Expo 2015: my grandma taught me how to make a tickler from tires. Space, Race, Bodies International Conference (8-10 December 2014, University of Otago)
Subalternity in the era of digital revolution: class struggle and the periphery in contemporary Italian radical politics. Revolting peripheries International Conference (25-27 June 2014, University of Bielsko-Biala, Poland)
Radical politics and hip-hop in Italy. Music/Media/Politics Symposium (16 April 2014, University of Otago)
Occupy, Resist, Produce: Cyber Resistance in Italy
. Surveillance, Copyright, Privacy: the End of the Open Internet. (30 January - 1 February 2014, University of Otago).


Media Texthack Group (2014) Media Studies 101 - A Creative Commons Textbook.

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