This paper outlines an innovative method for the study of disasters in early modern societies that combines cultural and socio-institutional approaches. It begins with a close examination of a sample of accounts, reports and pleas regarding two calamities – the 1667 Dalmatia earthquake and the 1687 Lima earthquake – and how they were processed in the institutional channels of the Spanish monarchy. These sources are analysed with attention to the goals, interests and perspectives of the institutional and social actors that produced or sponsored them. As such, the images and narrative techniques embedded in them reveal the messages the authors sought to convey in order to justify their own conduct while discrediting that of their adversaries. The study of how information was exchanged in the aftermath of such distressing events allows us to see how authoritative narratives were constructed and to trace their larger effects. It also allows for a comprehensive understanding of how strategies were developed to manage social crises.
Keywords: disasters, Spanish monarchy, emergency management, political communication.
Alessandro Fontana. Tracce di un’esperienza di pensiero
a cura di Jean-Louis Fournel
The contributions gathered here offer a range of perspectives on Alessandro Fontana’s critical thought by retracing various stages of his past collaborations, revisiting the critical junctures of his work of translation and editing, and remembering his past conversations. In his works in progress, Fontana always found it important to situate a «problem» at the centre and then trace its emergence across the most disparate discursive spheres and the most varied chronologies. And this «problem» – which, in his methodology, served as a «line of sight» or an «axis of gravitation», to borrow his words – touched on crucial questions that rarely remained confined within distinct disciplinary boundaries: «the development and transformation of cultural and historical consciousness»; the relationship between power and truth; politics as simulation and dissimulation, a topic addressed in a work that questioned the «remote reasons why “we have become what we are”», following Foucault’s teachings (and it is no coincidence that Fontana’s last major undertaking was to publish Foucault’s lectures). It is precisely for this reason that we must examine this Forum so carefully now, at a time when research in the social sciences is being measured quantitatively and structured according to disciplines, with adverse consequences for those looking to compare and exchange knowledge.
Keywords: knowledge and power; consciousness in history; Michel Foucault; Machiavelli; epistemology.
Introduzione. Ricordi sul carattere infinito di una scrittura
Le Venezie di Alessandro Fontana
Attualità de La scena
Dalla sicurezza dello Stato alla cura di sé. Una lezione di Alessandro Fontana
a cura di Ernesto De Cristofaro