In this research, we examine the complex ways in which young people of different ethnic background construct their representation of citizenship in Italy. Based on a psychosocial perspective the paper will show that the representations of citizenship shared by young people are informed by personal and collective experiences and that the notion of citizenship, is not straight forward, but influenced by location within a broader social, cultural, political, economic and historical context. Therefore, this article is concerned with understanding how young people of different (Italian, Moroccan, and Albanian) ethnic background define their representations of citizenship in Italy and how these representations are anchored in their experiences of participation and everyday life. For young people, and adolescents, in particular, recognition takes place in very local circumstances (bound by home, school and neighbourhood) that can be the training grounds for the practice of citizenship. Participants The total sample includes 85 participants (40 males, 45 females) 28 were Italians, 28 were Albanians and 29 Moroccans. The mean age of the sample was 19.50 (S.D. = 2. 67; min 14 years old, max 26 years old). A total of thirteen focus groups were conducted: two involved Italian young adults (n = 14; mixed by gender) and two involved Italian adolescents (n = 13; mixed by gender). Italians were all students. Two involved Albanian young adults (n = 15; mixed by gender) and two involved Albanian adolescents (n = 14; mixed by gender). Recruitment Although the sampling was purposive, we still used a convenience sample, which means that the data is drawn from a self-selected group. Instruments The focus group included questions concerning: understanding of citizenship and of human right issues, perceptions of young people participation, opportunities and resources, perception of young people voice, perceptions of young people information and of themselves as citizens, sources of information on political and social issues and their influence, personal and group experiences of participation. We did not ask for definitions of citizenship, but we gathered them from the discussions of related themes. All the focus groups were conducted in Italian language; participants with an immigrant background were fluent even for most of them if Italian was their second language. The data were analysed following the steps of thematic content analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Results The analytic process allowed us to progress from the description of participatory experiences to the identification of specific patterns of participation that were contributing to build young people’s views on citizenship. Those specific patterns allowed us to identify five dimensions that articulate young people’s discourses on citizenship and participation: legal or admittance dimension, that refers to rights and duties that are recognized to citizen; the instrumental dimension, where citizenship is seen more in terms of overcoming practical obstacles and consequent freedom, the belonging dimension, the everyday performing dimension, the participatory dimension. Practical implications of our findings will be discussed.

Discourses and practices of citizenship among young people of different ethnic backgrounds living in Italy

Cinzia Albanesi;Elvira Cicognani;Bruna Zani
2020

Abstract

In this research, we examine the complex ways in which young people of different ethnic background construct their representation of citizenship in Italy. Based on a psychosocial perspective the paper will show that the representations of citizenship shared by young people are informed by personal and collective experiences and that the notion of citizenship, is not straight forward, but influenced by location within a broader social, cultural, political, economic and historical context. Therefore, this article is concerned with understanding how young people of different (Italian, Moroccan, and Albanian) ethnic background define their representations of citizenship in Italy and how these representations are anchored in their experiences of participation and everyday life. For young people, and adolescents, in particular, recognition takes place in very local circumstances (bound by home, school and neighbourhood) that can be the training grounds for the practice of citizenship. Participants The total sample includes 85 participants (40 males, 45 females) 28 were Italians, 28 were Albanians and 29 Moroccans. The mean age of the sample was 19.50 (S.D. = 2. 67; min 14 years old, max 26 years old). A total of thirteen focus groups were conducted: two involved Italian young adults (n = 14; mixed by gender) and two involved Italian adolescents (n = 13; mixed by gender). Italians were all students. Two involved Albanian young adults (n = 15; mixed by gender) and two involved Albanian adolescents (n = 14; mixed by gender). Recruitment Although the sampling was purposive, we still used a convenience sample, which means that the data is drawn from a self-selected group. Instruments The focus group included questions concerning: understanding of citizenship and of human right issues, perceptions of young people participation, opportunities and resources, perception of young people voice, perceptions of young people information and of themselves as citizens, sources of information on political and social issues and their influence, personal and group experiences of participation. We did not ask for definitions of citizenship, but we gathered them from the discussions of related themes. All the focus groups were conducted in Italian language; participants with an immigrant background were fluent even for most of them if Italian was their second language. The data were analysed following the steps of thematic content analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Results The analytic process allowed us to progress from the description of participatory experiences to the identification of specific patterns of participation that were contributing to build young people’s views on citizenship. Those specific patterns allowed us to identify five dimensions that articulate young people’s discourses on citizenship and participation: legal or admittance dimension, that refers to rights and duties that are recognized to citizen; the instrumental dimension, where citizenship is seen more in terms of overcoming practical obstacles and consequent freedom, the belonging dimension, the everyday performing dimension, the participatory dimension. Practical implications of our findings will be discussed.
Italian Youth in International Context. Belonging, Constraints and Opportunities
58
75
Cinzia Albanesi, Elvira Cicognani, Bruna Zani
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