Discourse and politics of migration in Italy: The production and reproduction of ethnic dominance and exclusion
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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Over the last twenty years, the management of a series of complex questions raised by the growing presence of foreign immigrants in Italy has been carried out via the “invention” of specific social problems and their accompanying discourse categories. From its first appearance the term “clandestino” (or irregular immigrant) has assumed a dual significance as a concept widely adopted in public discourse and as the pillar of an ideology that comprises a very specific set of political positions regarding the management of immigration. Moreover, to the extent that the clandestino was interpreted as a threat or problem to be eliminated or solved, it very rapidly became a discursive and practical focal point for the institutions that play a crucial role in immigration management and control. Drawing on my research from late 1990s on immigration policies and control in Italy, I show how and to what extent some institutional everyday activities of the police have been reshaped by discourses and practice that focus on dealing with irregular immigrants. This reorganization contributed to generating a complex web of knowledge, discourses and practices that produced the essential vocabulary and the hegemonic frameworks for public debates about immigration in Italy. It also makes the need and urgency to cope with irregular immigration both a political centre of gravity and a basic strategy to reproduce social order. Keywords: Immigration discourse; immigration policies; immigrants’ criminalisation; police practices; Italy


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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