Italy is now home to second generation children of the first wave of migrants into Italy. These immigrant youth are organizing themselves politically, socio-culturally and religiously through the creation of associations. The reflections presented in this paper result from a study on these associations in the city of Bologna undertaken together with a post doctoral student (Riccio & Russo, 2009). Members of the second generation are often depicted as ‘different’ by the majority society, a phenomenon typical of contemporary cultural racism which draws absolute boundaries to legitimise the incommensurability of cultures and the normalisation of social exclusion and discrimination. Nevertheless many second generation associations try to avoid culturalism and embrace contemporary diversity by going beyond ethnic and national boundaries and by challenging common sense representations. These associations are characterised by cosmopolitan ambitions, familiarity with new media, public assertiveness, transnational connections and good linguistic skills which facilitate communication with Italian institutions. The primary objectives of second generation associations are to fight discrimination and to facilitate equal opportunities for social mobility for youth of immigrant background. Yet, these youth associations encounter various difficulties such as frustration in their inability to ensure active participation, avoiding dependency and elitism.

Second generation associations and the Italian social construction of Otherness

RICCIO, BRUNO
2011

Abstract

Italy is now home to second generation children of the first wave of migrants into Italy. These immigrant youth are organizing themselves politically, socio-culturally and religiously through the creation of associations. The reflections presented in this paper result from a study on these associations in the city of Bologna undertaken together with a post doctoral student (Riccio & Russo, 2009). Members of the second generation are often depicted as ‘different’ by the majority society, a phenomenon typical of contemporary cultural racism which draws absolute boundaries to legitimise the incommensurability of cultures and the normalisation of social exclusion and discrimination. Nevertheless many second generation associations try to avoid culturalism and embrace contemporary diversity by going beyond ethnic and national boundaries and by challenging common sense representations. These associations are characterised by cosmopolitan ambitions, familiarity with new media, public assertiveness, transnational connections and good linguistic skills which facilitate communication with Italian institutions. The primary objectives of second generation associations are to fight discrimination and to facilitate equal opportunities for social mobility for youth of immigrant background. Yet, these youth associations encounter various difficulties such as frustration in their inability to ensure active participation, avoiding dependency and elitism.
The Others in Europe
164
175
Riccio B.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/102317
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