85604 - Media and Security

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Pierluigi Musarò

  • Credits 8

  • SSD SPS/08

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Forli

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Criminology for Investigation and Security (cod. 8491)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Zero hunger Reduced inequalities Climate Action Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide theoretical and practical tools for designing security policies, focusing on the potential of media to intervene in risk and emergency situations, with a specific attention to the representation of the victims. At the end of the course the student will be able to understand how people interpret risks; the role of the media in creating feelings of both personal and collective insecurity; to carry out critical analysis of the cultural construction of problems relating to public order and crime; to understand the complex relationships between crime, victim and offender, by exploring the potential that new media offer for risk reduction and emergency interventions.

Course contents

The course is taught online and in presence. The number of students allowed in class is determined on the basis of class capacity and by the health and safety provisions that deal with the pandemic emergency. In case more students want to attend classes in presence than permitted by the rules, a system of shifts will be organized so to allow students to participate. Regardless of the health-related conditions and the specific organization of the course, students will be able to follow the lessons of the entire course remotely on MS TEAMS.

This course aims to explore the role of the media in creating feelings of both personal and collective insecurity in order to understand how people interpret risks. Focusing on the conceptual link between justice and social control and the media representation of the victims, the course introduces the student to the practical components and tools for helping shaping policies.

Focusing on the relationship between security and fear in the contemporary media landscape, this course aims to encourage students to think sociologically about a range of issues and “social problems” related to media representations of suffering and violence. It also serves as an introduction to some important themes and issues within the processes of spectacularization of the news (with particular reference to the representation of the ‘stranger’ and the ‘victim’) and how the media are functional to the creation of consent or social control.

Framed in the broadest paradigm of surveillance capitalism, the course explores the relationship between security and fear as the main emotion / narrative related to public life. By addressing social, political and economic issues such as the future of Europe, the welfare state, international migration and border control, war scenarios or Islamic matrix terrorism, the course seeks to understand how media activate latent functions that amplify the effect of emotion itself. It also examines how ideas, national interests, and policy processes shape inter-national and local security decision making.

Finally, through seminars held by invited experts, the course aims to explore the potential that new media offer for risk reduction and emergency interventions.


Castel R. (2011), L'insicurezza sociale. Che significa essere protetti?, Einaudi, Torino.

Spina S. (2020), La peste, il terremoto e altre metafore. Il coronavirus nel discorso della stampa italiana. Articolo disponibile presso: http://www.treccani.it/magazine/lingua_italiana/articoli/scritto_e_parlato/peste.html

Di Cesare D. (2020), Virus Sovrano? L’asfissia Capitalistica, Bollati Boringheri, Torino (anche disponibile in ebook).

Han B.-C. (2016), Psicopolitica: il Neoliberismo e le Nuove Tecniche del Potere, Nottetempo, Milano.

Musarò P., Taxi o ambulanze del mare? Politiche dell’immagine nella crisi dei migranti nel Mediterraneo, con Paola Parmiggiani, in Fausto Colombo e Maria Francesca Murru (a cura di), Iconismo e potere. Politiche dell’immagine nell’era digitale, Problemi dell'Informazione, 1/2018, pp. 87-113

Musarò P., Aware Migrants: The role of information campaigns in the management of migration, European Journal of Communication, 2019, 34, pp. 629 – 640


Further articles (not compulsory for the exam):

Neocleous M. (2019), Securitati perpetuae. Death, fear and the history of insecurity, Radical Philosophy. Articolo disponibile presso: https://www.radicalphilosophy.com/article/securitati-perpetuae

Preciado P. B. (2020), Le lezioni del virus.

Articolo disponibile presso: https://www.internazionale.it/opinione/paul-preciado/2020/05/09/lezioni-virus

Faloppa F. (2020), Sul «nemico invisibile» e altre metafore di guerra. La cura delle parole. Articolo disponibile presso: http://www.treccani.it/magazine/lingua_italiana/articoli/parole/cura_parole_2.html

Signorelli A. D. (2019), L’ossessione della politica per la sorveglianza è pericolosa.

Articolo disponibile presso: https://www.wired.it/attualita/tech/2019/12/14/ossessione-sorveglianza-pericolosa/?refresh_ce=

Pizzuti M. (2019), La Cina come Black Mirror: entro il 2020 introdurrà un punteggio sociale.

Articolo disponibile presso: https://www.altrainformazione.it/wp/2019/02/18/la-cina-come-black-mirror-entro-il-2020-introdurr-un-punteggio-sociale/

Nasi F. (2019), L’Italia è prima in Europa per distanza fra percezione e realtà. A rischio è la democrazia.

Articolo disponibile presso: https://thevision.com/attualita/opinione-pubblica-percezione/?fbclid=IwAR1E9TvGkyuIWdyqPP4LsOtX3-Y0b-ksIkiu4oVqOejVA_q9EXWSiKcM0d8

NOTIZIE SENZA APPRODO. Settimo rapporto Carta di Roma 2019.

Report disponibile presso: https://www.cartadiroma.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/CdR-Report-2019_FInal.pdf

Pelizza A., Lausberg Y., Milan S (2020), Come e perché rendere visibili i migranti nei dati della pandemia, OpenDemocracy.

Articolo disponibile presso: https://www.internazionale.it/opinione/annalisa-pelizza/2020/05/14/migranti-dati-pandemia

Further readings and references (book chapters, articles, papers, documents, video) will be provided during the course.

Teaching methods

A mix of lectures, seminars, collective discussion, student's presentations, documentaries and films. Most of the major points of the course are illustrated by case studies of analysis. Topical issues will also be explored

Assessment methods

Short Essay 20%

Active participation and group presentation 30%

Midterm and final exams: 50%

Participation: Since this is a seminar, active participation in class is a crucial part of your learning. Through news articles, videos, web sites, or readings you will help the teacher to stimulate discussion during the class.

Presentation: This is a research-based presentation – intended as a synthesis of both the literary and political materials we discuss during the course - that you (or your study group) will read or present to the class in whatever format you wish.

Midterm and final exams: eventually a midterm and final in class exam in which the students are required to answer to some open questions. Further guidance will be given in class

To pass the course you must pass ALL assessments.

To register the final grade is necessary that you enrol in the official dates in the website Almaesami (https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm) .

Teaching tools

Papers, articles, films and documentaries, web sites.

Office hours

See the website of Pierluigi Musarò