Prohibitions, Pleasures, and Disasters: Entering the Online “Red zone” as an Experience of Digital Dark Tourism in Time of COVID-19
On February 2020, the Sars-Cov-2 reached Europe striking in Northern Italy. On February 21st, the police began to set manned checkpoints around quarantined towns: Codogno, Vo’Euganeo, and other 9 municipalities near Lodi district borders were renamed as “zone rosse” (red zones), and heavy mobility restrictions were applied”. The situation consequently has shaped the social media discourse: Facebook groups originally describing the peaceful daily life of the red zone became privileged arenas to understand the lockdown experience. This paper aims at understanding if dark tourism activities, defined as tripping to «places that either witnessed or represent death, destruction, suffering, or calamity (McDaniel, K., 2018, p.2), took place on the Facebook pages of the red zone cities, by analyzing the online behaviors and the interactions of out-of-towner people who joined these groups at the beginning of the lockdown period. Research design adopts a Digital Ethnography approach usingunobtrusive techniques to test the paradigmatic application of digital methods. The results of our research aim to recreate the history of the action practiced through the Social Networks and will shed light on the culture and social implications of behaving and interacting online during an unforeseen event, like the COVD-19 pandemic.
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