Politics of National Identity in Italy : Immigration and 'Italianità' book cover
1st Edition

Politics of National Identity in Italy
Immigration and 'Italianità'

ISBN 9780415793681
Published August 15, 2017 by Routledge
250 Pages

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Book Description

This book focuses on the politics of national identity in Italy. Only a unified country for just over 150 years, Italian national identity is perhaps more contingent than longer established nations such as France or the UK.  

The book investigates when, how and why the discussions about national identity and about immigration became entwined in public discourse within Italy. In particular it looks at the most influential voices in the debate on immigration and identity, namely Italian intellectuals, the Catholic Church, the Northern League and the Left. The methodological approach is based on a systematic discourse analysis of official documents, interviews, statements and speeches by representatives of the political actors involved. In the process, the author demonstrates that a 'normalisation' of intolerance towards foreigners has become institutionalised at the heart of the Italian state.

This work will be of particular interest to students of Italian Politics, Nationalism and Comparative Politics.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. Italian intellectuals and the ‘death of the homeland’. Antagonistic identities in Italy since 1945  3. ‘Nobody is a foreigner within the Church’. Selective solidarity as a criterion to grant citizenship  4. ‘Masters in our own land’: the Northern League’s rhetoric on identity and otherness  5. Citizens of the world: a seemingly proletarian approach to immigration  6. Lampedusa: the promised land or a gateway to Europe?

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Eva Garau is a Research Fellow in Contemporary History at the University of Cagliari, Italy.


The goals of the book are to reconstruct contrasting narratives about immigration and national identity; to name the conflicts, alliances, and interests affecting the national identity national immigration debate; to determine their impact on the development of Italian immigration and citizenship legislation; and to explore whether there is such a thing as a uniquely Italian solution - based on Italian history and imbued with Italian values - to the immigration debate. Garau asserts that intolerance is normal in Italian politics and state policies. Her book provides a great overview of theory that graduate students will appreciate. --R. A. Harper, York College CHOICE