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Title: Immigrants in Italy : problems of racism and integration
Author: Berterame, Stefano
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1995
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This study focuses on the conditions of immigrants in Italy, the problems of integration they are facing and the coping strategies they adopt in this process. During the 1980s, an increasing number of immigrant workers arrived in Italy. The Government and the Italian society in general were not prepared to absorb immigrant workers for many reasons. Traditionally Italy has been a country of emigration rather than immigration. Moreover, the number of immigrant workers grew considerably in a short period of time, and Italy did not have the necessary legal and social infrastructure to cope with this in-flow. Since the Government is not providing them with some essential services needed to live in the country, many immigrants have to rely on the assistance of voluntary associations and non-governmental organisations (NGGs). Although, there are many associations of immigrant workers, they are not in a position to provide these services. The integration of immigrants is made more difficult by their sociological characteristics. The immigrant population is not homogeneous. Immigrants workers belong to different nationalities and have different migration plans in mind. Filipinos, for example, are mainly women who are planning to work for a few years and then go back to their country. North Africans and Senegalese are generally men who are planning to stay for a longer period. This complexity has involved additional difficulties in addressing the problem of immigration effectively. In addition, the situation of immigrants is not well known. Social scientists have analysed some aspects of the phenomenon and have given some indications of its extent and although the research conducted suffered from many limitations it has helped decision makers to face emergencies but not to plan ahead. Government inaction and the deteriorating living conditions of immigrants have favoured the emergence of racism and intolerance in public opinion. The service provision has now become secondary to the problem of race relations. The problem to be solved is the right of immigrant workers to citizenship and not only the provision of basic services. The situation analysis at national level and the study of two cases (Florence and Rome) suggest that: 1) there is a gap between the image and the reality of immigrants in Italy; 2) the working and living conditions experienced by immigrants do not correspond with their expectations and this create a sort of 'status discrepancy'; 3) immigrants have to cope with a situation of uncertainty that does not permit them to plan their life in the long-term; 4) NGOs and voluntary associations cannot replace the Government in the provision of services but can play an important role in the process of integration of immigrants; 5) after many years piecemeal, fragmented and contradictory interventions the Government, pressed by racism and dissatisfaction growing among public opinion, is now in favour of a policy of closed doors and self-protection.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available