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Migration Italy

Migration Italy: The Art of Talking Back in a Destination Culture

  • Book Info
    Migration Italy
    Book Description:

    In terms of migration, Italy is often thought of as a source country - a place from which people came rather than one to which people go. However, in the past few decades, Italy has indeed become a destination for many people from poor or war-torn countries seeking a better life in a stable environment. Graziella Parati'sMigration Italyexamines immigration to Italy in the past twenty years, and explores the processes of cultural hybridization that have occurred.

    Working from a cultural studies viewpoint, Parati constructs a theoretical framework for discussing Italy as a country of immigration. She gives special attention to immigrant literature, positing that it functions as an act of resistance, a means to talk back to the laws that regulate the lives of migrants. Parati also examines Italian cinema, demonstrating how native and non-native filmmakers alike create parallels between old and new migrations, complicating the definitions of sameness and difference.

    These definitions and the complexities inherent in the different cultural, legal, and political positions of Italy's people are at the heart ofMigration Italy, a unique work of immense importance for understanding society in both modern-day Italy and, indeed, the entire European continent.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7726-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-22)

    One of the first sentences I ever pronounced was ‘Nona, cüna, nona,’ because I wanted my grandmother to rock the cradle in which I was supposed to nap. ‘Nona’ stayed with my family until I was seven, so I learned to understand her native Occitan, which was also my mother’s native tongue. My older sister did not get along with our grandmother and therefore never articulated a sound in her language.² My sister firmly embraced standard Italian, the language we siblings spoke to each other. Standard Italian was also the language my mother used in talking to her daughters; she...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Strategies of ‘Talking Back’
    (pp. 23-53)

    In September 2000 a controversy captured the attention of Italians, highlighting the need for a redefinition of Italian culture. Cardinal Biffi, archbishop of Bologna, expressed the opinion that immigration to Italy should be limited to Catholics in order to preserve the identity of the Italian nation. He argued that even though Catholicism is no longer the official religion of the Italian state, it has traditionally been Italy’s religion. Biffi’s position was informed by the prescriptive obsessions of the pope, and by statements by Cardinal Ratzinger affirming the superiority of Catholicism over all other religions.² It was also supported by the...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Minor Literature, Minor Italy
    (pp. 54-103)

    In some of my earlier articles on migrants’ literature, I employed the term ‘Italophone literature’ in order to define texts written by migrant authors in Italy and in Italian. My use of the term was motivated by affinities between examples of migrants’ writing in Italian and the francophone tradition. However, the Italophone context that I traced starting from the early 1990s must be analysed in its specificity and the use of such a term must be questioned.

    The term Italophone places the emphasis on language and on the difference between native speakers and non-native speakers, who acquire a new language...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Cinema and Migration: ‘What’ and ‘Who’ Is a Migrant?
    (pp. 104-141)

    In his 1951 filmMiracolo a Milano(Miracle in Milan), Vittorio De Sica depicts a magical side of poverty in an abandoned area of Milano where a marginalized community has constructed a city within a city. Two minor characters, an African American man and a white woman, are at the centre of a sub-plot that supplies a separatist paradigm of interracial relations still in place in today’s media representation of otherness. The story unfolds between the black man and the white Italian woman as follows: They are attracted to each other, but they are of a different skin colour, and...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Laws of Migration
    (pp. 142-190)

    In her discussion on the need to privilege unfragmented ‘whoness’ instead of ‘whatness,’ Adriana Cavarero creates a category of uniqueness. That uniqueness is a constitutive element in the creation of an ‘identity as life story’ that must inevitably confront the language of politics and of law making.³ According to Cavarero, a ‘political model constructs its form by constructing at the same time its subject.’⁴ It is an ‘abstract subject’ that renders even a democracy a system grounded on ‘politics that speak the language of the what.’⁵ Articulating a discourse on difference and individual needs in such a system would change...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 191-200)

    Oriana Fallaci’sLa forza della ragione(The Strength of Reason, 2004) became a best-seller right after its publication and remained a very popular book in Italy for several months. The book warns Western readers that Muslims have invaded Europe, have transformed it intoEurabia, and are threatening ‘western reason.’ This ‘reason’ is the unitary logos of Western civilization that Fallaci wants to defend, even at the cost of her own life, as she asserts in the book. The populist statements contained in the book have been challenged, but no one can deny the commercial success that the book has had...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 201-238)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 239-252)
  12. Index
    (pp. 253-272)