For twenty years ComPol, shorthand for Comunicazione Politica (“Political Communication”), has been the key scholarly forum for Italian scholars interested in the relationship between media, politics, and citizenship. This is the journal where, as an undergraduate and PhD student, I read about all the advances that our discipline was making as it grappled with issues such as the rise of Silvio Berlusconi as a political-media tycoon, the increasing personalization and spectacularization of politics, and the emergence of the internet as a technology for political information and mobilization. It is also the journal where I started to “cut my teeth” in publishing peer-reviewed articles at the beginning of my career.
This is why I was hugely honored when Gianpietro Mazzoleni, the founder of ComPol and one of the many great mentors I was fortunate to have in my career (a true “passeur“, a term I borrow from Daniel Pennac), asked me to work with him as the guest editor of the special issue of the journal celebrating its twentieth anniversary. You can now read the full special issue, titled “Political Communication in Changing Media Environments: Interdisciplinary Viewpoints” on the website of the Italian Association of Political Communication. It includes contributions from nine Italian and international scholars, to whom I am very grateful for participating in this initiative, and an Introduction by Gianpietro and myself, where we reflect on the development of the discipline of political communication in Italy, present the contributions collected in the special issue, and highlight some challenges for political communication research in the future. Here is an excerpt that presents the articles:
To mark the fundamentally international and inter-disciplinary nature of the journal, we have invited contributions from nine of the leading national and international scholars in the areas of political science (Hanspeter Kriesi), media and communication (Silvio Waisbord), journalism studies (C. W. Anderson), computational social science (Fabio Giglietto), political psychology (Patrizia Catellani), linguistics (Stefano Ondelli), semiotics (Giovanna Cosenza), cultural studies and discourse analysis (Lidia De Michelis), and popular culture (John Street). We have asked this diverse group of scholars, some of whom are members of the scientific board of the journal, to answer a simple question: What does it mean, from their respective disciplinary viewpoint, to study political communication today?
And here is how we conclude our reflections:
The first twenty years of Comunicazione Politica have accompanied and helped the consolidation of the discipline in Italy, as well as facilitating a fruitful dialogue with the international scholarly community. In an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, it is crucial that Italian scholars continue contributing to the global debates highlighted in this Introduction and in the contributions that follow. We trust that Comunicazione Politica will continue to play a useful role in this enterprise by offering a relevant, open, pluralistic, and innovative forum where scholars from different disciplines and approaches can come together as equals and share their contributions to knowledge around some of the most pressing questions of our time.