Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Kidnapping in Italy, 1970-2000: Histories of Disembodiment
by Montalbano, Alessandra, Ph.D., New York University, 2012, 244; 3524280
Abstract (Summary)

My dissertation, “Kidnapping in Italy, 1970-2000: Histories of Disembodiment,” analyzes memoirs written by the victims of ransom kidnapping, an understudied Italian social phenomenon that produced almost 800 victims over thirty years. This study explores the memoirs at three different levels: civic, phenomenological, and traumatic. At the civic level, I consider the socio-political meaning of the memoirs as it relates to State power, media, the Mafia, and Sardinian banditry. At the phenomenological level, I explore the experience of captivity through the lens of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's ontology of the flesh and Adriana Cavarero's ontology of vulnerability, highlighting the dehumanization of the hostages as a form of disembodiment. At the traumatic level, I examine the memoirs from the theoretical perspective of trauma studies, focusing on the role played by language in the relationship between the victimized and their warders. This interdisciplinary study combines archival research with analytic approaches from the fields of philosophy, gender studies, criminology, and psychoanalysis. It also provides a new perspective on civic society in contemporary Italy and its forms of literary testimony.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ben-Ghiat, Ruth
Commitee: Albertini, Stefano, Cavarero, Adriana, Cox, Virginia, Forgacs, David
School: New York University
Department: Italian Studies
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Modern literature, Philosophy, European Studies, Modern history, Criminology
Keywords: Body, Italy, Kidnapping, Memoirs, Organized crime, Ransom, Testimony, Trauma
Publication Number: 3524280
ISBN: 9781267585769
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