1st Edition

Reframing Immigrant Resistance Alliances, Conflicts, and Racialization in Italy

By Teresa Cappiali Copyright 2022
    322 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    322 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

    This book focuses on the political participation and grassroots mobilization of immigrants and racialized communities in the European context. Based on extensive data collected in Italy, it explores the role that alliances among pro-immigrant groups play in shaping political participation, asking why and how immigrant activists mobilize in hostile environments, why and how they create alliances with some white allies rather than others, and what might explain variations in forms of political participation and grassroots mobilization at the local level. Using social movement, critical race, and post-colonial theories, the author examines the ways in which both institutional and non-institutional actors, including immigrant activists, become involved and compete in the local arena over immigration and integration issues, and assesses the mechanisms by which both conventional and non-conventional forms of participation are made possible, or obstructed. By placing immigrant activists at the center of the analysis, the book offers a valuable and novel insider perspective on political activism and the claims-making of marginalized groups. It also demonstrates how pro-immigrant groups can play a role in racializing immigrant activists. A study of the effects on participation in social mobilization of coalitions, conflicts, and racialization processes among pro-immigrant groups and immigrant activists, this volume will appeal to scholars of sociology, political science, and political sociology with interests in migration, ethnic and racial relations, social movements, and local governance.


    1. The Italian Context and Methodology

    2. A Theoretical Model of Local Dynamics: Alliances and Conflicts in Context

    3. Civic Participation in a City of Intercultural Dialogue

    4. Multiple Forms of Participation in a Stronghold of the Left

    5. Political Contention amid the Rise of the Northern League

    6. Obstructing Participation in a Stronghold of the Catholic Church

    7. Political Racialization and Resistance


    Appendix A: Research Design and Methodology

    Appendix B: List of interviews conducted in Reggio Emilia

    Appendix C: List of interviews conducted in Bologna

    Appendix D: List of interviews conducted in Brescia

    Appendix E: List of interviews conducted in Bergamo


    Teresa M. Cappiali is a Vinnova MSCA-Seal of Excellence Fellow and a researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Sweden. She specializes in migration, the politics of migration, racism, and anti-racism from an intersectional approach.

    "Brilliantly theorized and rigorously researched, Reframing Resistance draws from and makes critical contributions to research on European and North American migration, social movements, and critical race studies. Teresa Cappiali’s comparative analysis of migrant mobilizations, alliances, and intra-movement tensions will be widely read and the definitive book on immigrant rights activism in Italy."

    Chris Zepeda-Millán, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA

    "This is by no means a detached book, but one that is engaged and is engaging in research that addresses extremely relevant issues in migration studies - namely, migrant struggles and activism within civil society, with the support of some political allies. The arguments are empirically grounded through an original conflict-based and multi-sited methodology, where knowledge is produced through the author's participation within immigrant communities, making it clear that these spaces of resistance are local. Even if it is contextualised in Italy, this book illustrates one of the most silent emancipatory struggles in this second decade of 21st century and makes an important contribution to the literature on inclusion and democracy and on justice in our contemporary migratory societies."

    Ricard Zapata-Barrero, University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

    "Theoretically provocative and empirically rich, this volume helps our understanding of migrant struggles by considering the meaning of migration, recognizing their agency, making their voices heard, considering their practices, and the alliances but also the tensions that often emerge in a broad field of action."

    Donatella della Porta, Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy

    "Based on a thorough theoretical construction and on a meticulous empirical work in four Italian cities, this book examines immigrant political mobilization in a social context marked by a strong racialization. A must read for students and scholars interested in exploring the changing dynamics of immigrant politics, immigration political mobilization and citizenship in Italy and in Europe."

    Marco Martiniello, University of Liège, Belgium