Culture has been traditionally seen as the by–product of a particular society in a clearly defined territory (Yengoyan 1986). However, the elusive concept of culture, seen as both a merging and dichotomising force, has been called into question due to the increasing entanglement of contemporary societies (Welsch 1999). Indeed, territories can no longer be seen as containing cultures, since people move with their meanings, and meanings find ways of travelling and flourishing even when people stay in their territories (Hannerz 1996). The increasing development of communications systems (Hepp 2009) and economic interdependencies and dependencies play a significant role in challenging the traditional view of culture. Thus, the concept of transculturality can better characterise contemporary cultures and their ability to move beyond material and immaterial borders. One of the ways through which cultural–specific phenomena cross borders and find a new life in a different environment is represented by forms of hybridisation (Bhatia 2004), seen as vehicles which can help popularise given genres. The hybridisation of broadcast news, for instance, has produced forms of docu–fictions, which can be placed in the blurred generic area of story–telling and news reporting, mixing together facts and fictions (Baym 2009). However, as vessels, these hybrid narrative forms bring together with them cultural–specific elements, which are difficult to re–enact in a new context. This is the case, for instance, of the TV series Gomorrah, which is based on the Italian novel Gomorra written in 2006 by the Neapolitan author Roberto Saviano. As Saviano has repeatedly underlined (Caliendo 2012), most of the news stories linked to the Neapolitan Mafia, known as Camorra, stay local and remain largely unknown to most Italians. Further, as Cavaliere (2010) states, international books and movies generally focus on the Sicilian Mafia, while little has been written about the Camorra. Saviano’s exposé, first, and its popularised adaptations have shed light on the criminal activities of the Camorra and, while some elements of fiction are undeniably present in both the book and its adaptations, they succeeded in raising awareness on the problems linked to the Neapolitan context, something that journalism has failed to highlight from a national and an international point of view. In order to achieve this, from a national perspective, the TV series, for instance, premiered in Italy with Italian subtitles, since the language of Gomorrah — The Series (from now on referred to as GTS) is a mix of both Italian and Neapolitan dialogues. While representing a third step in the translation of the original script, the UK subtitles of the TV series, on the other hand, have helped draw attention to the criminal activities plaguing Naples’s hinterland from an international point of view. However, since translation is central to the process of identity formation (Gentzler 2008), the aim of this contribution is to focus on the transcultural reception of Gomorrah — The Series (Season 1; at the time of writing (April 29, 2016), only Season 1 of the TV series was broadcasted by Sky Atlantic). In particular, based on the concept of translation repercussion (Chesterman 2007), the proposed analysis will firstly focus on a particular aspect of the TV series, that is, how the producers of the series have created their target audience in the Italian and English versions of the DVD blurbs. Based on the work of Bednarek (2010, 2014), this preliminary analysis of the TV series will help us see how this particular type of advertising discourse construes its target audience. Since these texts «must take care to engage with what can be a diverse audience in an appropriate way» (Baker 2006:50) by, for instance, «deciding what aspects [...] are foregrounded (or backgrounded) and what assumptions are made about the interests and lifestyles of the target audience» (Baker 2006:50), the analysis of DVD blurbs can help us better understand what values are constructed in discourse, thus, highlighting the type of universe that producers want to create when addressing their target audience. Additionally, since this kind of persuasive discourse will eventually result in a financial exchange, language plays a fundamental role in the representation of the TV series as a whole and, thus, how it should be interpreted by its viewers. The second part of our investigation will focus on how the main characters linguistically construct themselves in the context of the Italian and English subtitles of the TV series. We have decided to focus specifically on the subtitles of the TV show since, in the English adaptation, GTS was not dubbed and, thus, in order to make the comparison between the original and its re–adaptation more productive, we have decided to avoid taking into consideration also the original script of the TV series, since this would have insulated given differences that were not strictly linked to the translation process but due to the different media. The analysis was carried out thanks to corpus linguistic methodologies, and these have allowed us to see how the «individual linguistic thumbprint» (Culpeper 2014:166) of each character in the source text was construed in the target text. As we will see, given characteristics of specific characters seem to be stereotyped in the target text, while others appear to highlight given peculiarities in the target texts that were not particularly underlined in the source texts, thus, offering the audience new personas in the translation of the original text.

Constructing Transcultural Identities: The Case of Gomorrah — The Series

Antonio Fruttaldo
2017-01-01

Abstract

Culture has been traditionally seen as the by–product of a particular society in a clearly defined territory (Yengoyan 1986). However, the elusive concept of culture, seen as both a merging and dichotomising force, has been called into question due to the increasing entanglement of contemporary societies (Welsch 1999). Indeed, territories can no longer be seen as containing cultures, since people move with their meanings, and meanings find ways of travelling and flourishing even when people stay in their territories (Hannerz 1996). The increasing development of communications systems (Hepp 2009) and economic interdependencies and dependencies play a significant role in challenging the traditional view of culture. Thus, the concept of transculturality can better characterise contemporary cultures and their ability to move beyond material and immaterial borders. One of the ways through which cultural–specific phenomena cross borders and find a new life in a different environment is represented by forms of hybridisation (Bhatia 2004), seen as vehicles which can help popularise given genres. The hybridisation of broadcast news, for instance, has produced forms of docu–fictions, which can be placed in the blurred generic area of story–telling and news reporting, mixing together facts and fictions (Baym 2009). However, as vessels, these hybrid narrative forms bring together with them cultural–specific elements, which are difficult to re–enact in a new context. This is the case, for instance, of the TV series Gomorrah, which is based on the Italian novel Gomorra written in 2006 by the Neapolitan author Roberto Saviano. As Saviano has repeatedly underlined (Caliendo 2012), most of the news stories linked to the Neapolitan Mafia, known as Camorra, stay local and remain largely unknown to most Italians. Further, as Cavaliere (2010) states, international books and movies generally focus on the Sicilian Mafia, while little has been written about the Camorra. Saviano’s exposé, first, and its popularised adaptations have shed light on the criminal activities of the Camorra and, while some elements of fiction are undeniably present in both the book and its adaptations, they succeeded in raising awareness on the problems linked to the Neapolitan context, something that journalism has failed to highlight from a national and an international point of view. In order to achieve this, from a national perspective, the TV series, for instance, premiered in Italy with Italian subtitles, since the language of Gomorrah — The Series (from now on referred to as GTS) is a mix of both Italian and Neapolitan dialogues. While representing a third step in the translation of the original script, the UK subtitles of the TV series, on the other hand, have helped draw attention to the criminal activities plaguing Naples’s hinterland from an international point of view. However, since translation is central to the process of identity formation (Gentzler 2008), the aim of this contribution is to focus on the transcultural reception of Gomorrah — The Series (Season 1; at the time of writing (April 29, 2016), only Season 1 of the TV series was broadcasted by Sky Atlantic). In particular, based on the concept of translation repercussion (Chesterman 2007), the proposed analysis will firstly focus on a particular aspect of the TV series, that is, how the producers of the series have created their target audience in the Italian and English versions of the DVD blurbs. Based on the work of Bednarek (2010, 2014), this preliminary analysis of the TV series will help us see how this particular type of advertising discourse construes its target audience. Since these texts «must take care to engage with what can be a diverse audience in an appropriate way» (Baker 2006:50) by, for instance, «deciding what aspects [...] are foregrounded (or backgrounded) and what assumptions are made about the interests and lifestyles of the target audience» (Baker 2006:50), the analysis of DVD blurbs can help us better understand what values are constructed in discourse, thus, highlighting the type of universe that producers want to create when addressing their target audience. Additionally, since this kind of persuasive discourse will eventually result in a financial exchange, language plays a fundamental role in the representation of the TV series as a whole and, thus, how it should be interpreted by its viewers. The second part of our investigation will focus on how the main characters linguistically construct themselves in the context of the Italian and English subtitles of the TV series. We have decided to focus specifically on the subtitles of the TV show since, in the English adaptation, GTS was not dubbed and, thus, in order to make the comparison between the original and its re–adaptation more productive, we have decided to avoid taking into consideration also the original script of the TV series, since this would have insulated given differences that were not strictly linked to the translation process but due to the different media. The analysis was carried out thanks to corpus linguistic methodologies, and these have allowed us to see how the «individual linguistic thumbprint» (Culpeper 2014:166) of each character in the source text was construed in the target text. As we will see, given characteristics of specific characters seem to be stereotyped in the target text, while others appear to highlight given peculiarities in the target texts that were not particularly underlined in the source texts, thus, offering the audience new personas in the translation of the original text.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11574/182498
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