DisComPoSE has expanded the field of investigation into disasters caused by natural events. In the conference of 7th and 8th June Communication, politics and emergency management in the Hispanic Monarchy. Sixteenth-eighteenth centuries, interesting dynamics of transformation of the forms and content of communication, that characterized the different territorial and political spheres of the Hispanic Monarchy of the Old Regime, emerged.
Exceptional events that disturbed the ordinary dimensions of urban and rural communities were at the centre of the discussions in these two days of reflection. The speakers paid attention to moments of crisis caused not only by earthquakes, eruptions, floods, and epidemics, but also by wars, rebellions and conspiracies. During these emergencies, new conflicts arose, and pre-existing conflicts re-emerged and were re-configured. In this extremely complex reality, the communication between the rulers and the various institutional actors represents a fertile field of study, in which it is possible to bring together skills and methods of different disciplinary fields, from history to the history of art, from philology to linguistics.
The speakers analyzed the characteristics of the transformation of the channels and networks of institutional and extra-institutional information in times of crisis and then dwelt on the circulation of information and the chains of executive orders triggered by the interventions of the institutions (secular and religious) on the occasion of the disasters and other exceptional events. At the centre of the debate there were also the relations between the secular and religious authorities in managing the crisis and the consequences of the changing balance between these authorities on the means of communication. Ample space was then given to the processing and manipulation of information during and after the emergency and, in particular, to the function exercised by rhetorical, narrative, stylistic, and linguistic devices within these communication processes. A further important focus was on the relationship between secrecy and publicity of information in times of emergency.
The first session of the conference, chaired by Massimo Rospocher, was dedicated to the tools and forms of communication in times of emergency. The second, chaired by Giuseppe Marcocci and Manuel Herrero Sanchez, dealt with an analysis of communication in the colonial territories of the Hispanic Monarchy from South America to the Philippines. The third session, chaired by Antonio Álvarez-Ossorio Alvarino, focused on the relationship between communication and political practices, and the fourth, chaired by Anna Maria Rao, investigated the role of religion in emergency situations, the ritual and devotional dimension, the institutional role of the Catholic Church, and the political weight of the State of the Church with its diplomatic representatives in the capitals of the kingdoms of the Hispanic Monarchy.
The presentations aroused great interest and initiated a lively debate. For this reason, it was decided that the lectures, in a reworked and in-depth form, will constitute the chapters of a collective volume that will be submitted to the publisher Peter Lang.