Date of Award
Honors Thesis (Open Access)
Colby College. Global Studies Program
The Italian media, political parties, and immigrant-related social service organizations on all sides of the spectrum have contributed to the creation of various one-dimensional perceptions of Italy’s immigrant communities which have functioned to deny immigrants’ formal citizenship status and consequently, attempted to impede their access to the basic rights and privileges national membership guarantees. While left-leaning media outlets, organizations, and individuals tend to portray immigrants as victims draining Italy of its social, economic, and material resources, the Italian right often characterizes Italy’s immigrant population as villainous intruders incapable of integration due to cultural difference and in some cases, a natural tendency towards amorality that makes it impossible for them to adhere to Italian legislation. Both of these viewpoints, I will argue, work to deny immigrants’ protagonismo and promote the belief that immigration is a problem rather than a potential resource. In spite of these circumstances, however, it is also true that many immigrants are able to exercise the rights and privileges they have been legally denied due to a lack of national membership. This resistance often begins with the decision to “illegally” escape from their country of origin, continues through their struggle to overcome daily obstacles involved in Italian bureaucracy, and shows itself in their ability to launch protests against unjust Italian legislation which has promoted racism and xenophobia. This presentation, therefore, attempts to show both the persistence of inequality in regards to the distribution of Italian citizenship as well as its contestation through various forms of immigrants’ resistance.
Italy, Immigration, Citizenship, Protagonismo, Bologna, Immigrants
Recommended CitationGleicher, Rachel, "From Victims and Villains to Protagonists: Immigration and Citizenship in Modern Italy" (2011). Honors Theses. Paper 606.
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