«Watch Over the King!». Regicide, False News and Public Order in Naples
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During the period that followed the assassination of King Umberto I in the summer of 1900, the police headquarters of Naples received several anonymous letters about the possible risk of new attempts to the life of Italian rulers during their stay in town. Men and women denounced in the letters were supposed to be unscrupulous anarchists ready to kill again. These documents are revealing well beyond the petty slanders they formulated: they offer a key to investigate both the multifaceted net of communication within the local community, and the complex dialogue between the citizens and the institutions. Through the analysis of the anonymous letters addressed to the police in Naples, is examined the circulation of information, false news, and common beliefs in a period of emergency. The essay also points out how people drew on fear and prejudices in order to claim a certain idea of order and justice.
- communication - anonymous letters - emergency period