Dr Anna Irimiás and Professor Mariangela Franch
On 3 November 1918, the armistice between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire was signed and the Kingdom of Italy annexed South Tyrol. Although territorries were unified, the histories and cultures of the area which now makes up the region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, were strikingly diverse. The project investigates the seemingly contradictory memories related to the Italian armistice and the unification of the South Tyrollean territories to Italy. The aim is to detect how virtual communities constructed around the topic of the Great War on social media sites are transformed into spaces of collaborative remembering. Virtual communities provide members a platform to share their offline experiences at war heritage sites and to comment, reflect upon and interpret such experiences.
The research will be divided into two steps. Step one is based on field research carrying out participant observation and photo documentation on the 3rd and 4th of November 2018 at the iconic memory places of the armistice in the cities of Trento and Bolzano. Step two is based on the application of photo elicitation and netnography. The photo documentation will be shared within two selected virtual communities (virtual communities gathering passionates about the northeastern Italian war heritage sites were identified in the Italian Facebook pages) to stimulate comments, reflections and interpretation of such posts. The interwined online and offline memory practices and performances will be analysed through the application of netnography.
The research will explore how local memory making and collaborative remembering occur in digital contexts among war heritage passionates and how memory sites are interpreted on different levels. Emerging narratives might enrich the institutional discourses related to memory sites making remembrance more vivid and personal.