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States of Grace: Senegalese in Italy and the New European Immigration

Donald Martin Carter
Copyright Date: 1997
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    States of Grace
    Book Description:

    Focusing on Turin, the northern Italian point of entry for so many Senegalese, this book chronicles the arrival and formation of a transnational African Islamic community in a largely Catholic Western European country, one that did not have immigrant legislation until 1991.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8625-4
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Part I. Invisible Cities

    • 1 Desert Crossings
      (pp. 3-20)

      The Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti, who was born and lived a great portion of his life in Egypt, once contrasted in his notebooks the ultimate baroque city of Rome with the wide expanses of the Egyptian desert: “The desert holds no monument.” The great power of the image of the desert in the West is contained perhaps in its capacity to efface the traces of time—or so goes the myth of the desert.¹ The city, on the other hand, monumentalizes its founders and orchestrates the continuity of social, cultural, and political power in its architecture and in the arrangements...

    • 2 Turin: Work and Its Shadow in a Post-Fordist City
      (pp. 21-54)

      The city is a historical figure that embodies various changes and conflicts entailed in particular historical and social struggles recorded not only in architecture, but in memory. On the local level cities such as Turin are marked into the micropractices of its inhabitants, not only in the movement of the traffic and the rising and falling of its environmental rhythms but in social memory of the classes and social orders that comprise the city. Whole areas of the city become reminders of the social and political struggles that various communities have leveled on them. The centrality of work to the...

    • 3 Mouridism Touba Turin
      (pp. 55-98)

      Just as the images and memories of Turin pervade the daily experience of its inhabitants, so the contours of the holy city of Touba figure prominently in the lives of Senegalese migrants (see fig. 2). Touba (finest or sweetest) is re-created in the routine activities of the migrants and through recurrent parallels of the migrants’ lives with that of the founder of the order, Cheikh Amadu Bamba (Ebin 1996, 99). The vacant factories and railroad yards of Turin stand as monuments to a now distant rhythm of work and society, while the suitcases of the migrant are monuments to the...

  6. Part II. States of Grace

    • 4 The Art of the State: Difference and Other Abstractions
      (pp. 101-128)

      The state is envisioned through official documents. From the cartographer’s maps of the national territories to the presentation of columns and graphs in daily reports, the state must create and re-create a vision, or visions, of its own existence. The document, an artifact of the state constituted by routine data compilation and interpretation, is a nexus of complex underlying cultural significations and classificatory practices that give life to the art of the state. Like the cartographer’s map of the nation, the document maps vast territories of the imagination cast between the identified and the unknown, life and death, and normalcy...

    • 5 Media Politics and the Migrant
      (pp. 129-158)

      One of the best ways to enter the complex world of Italian politics is to walk to the cornergiornalaio, pick up a local paper, and begin to examine the Italian political cartoon usually prominently displayed on the front page of the paper. This chapter and the next are dedicated to this daily encounter with media and deal with the question of how to read an Italian political cartoon. The path to the heart of Italian political humor and critique presented here leads through some of the folk models of Italian culture, society, and the media. A kind of shift...

    • 6 Other Crossings: Socialist in Fascist Clothing
      (pp. 159-194)

      Stereotypes are fictions that live through masquerading as naturalized and seemingly indispensable parts of our worlds.¹ Although historical creatures, stereotypes may be crystallized as portions of common sense, the taken-for-granted bedrock of popular ideologies and/or fashions. In the light of asymmetrical collective capacities to represent, know, and self-identify, the continual interplay of such notions in social context becomes the terrain on which visions of social reality are constructed, contested, and on occasion forgotten through time.

      Black caricature has a long and tortured history (Walvin 1972). The tropes of caricature are drawn from a host of sources passing from early speculative...

    • 7 Desperate Measures: Immigration and the South of the World
      (pp. 195-204)

      The nation is imagined as a kind of community (Chabod 1961; Anderson 1983). Europe, or, rather, an idea of Europe, has traveled in the same orbit of thought as that of the nation/community almost from its inception, just as the emergence of a new European economic and social order seems assured by 1993, with the creation of the “territory of Schengen,” a concept derived from an accord between France, Germany, and other nations in 1985 that would ensure a “single area in which people as well as goods, capital and services” might circulate freely (The Independent1990). The notion of...

    • 8 Closing the Circle: On Sounding Difference
      (pp. 205-222)

      Culture was perhaps the greatest form of fetishism of the nineteenth and part of the twentieth centuries, which “when treated as an immutable identity” helped to transform people’s identities into points of contrast and “invention” (Derrida 1985). This discussion has taken the challenge of the wide gaze of the European social formation and attempted, through analysis of the processes on the articulation of state and popular ideologies in one locality, to give some indication of much wider problems in the nature of European societies and the increasing heterogeneity of various populations. From a host of possible approaches to the phenomena,...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 223-246)
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 247-266)
  9. Index
    (pp. 267-274)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 275-275)