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Title: Pastoral power and the integration of migrants : an exploratory study of discourses and practices of integration within Italian refugee reception centres
Author: Distinto, Marco
ISNI:       0000 0004 9355 1994
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2020
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Following the 2014-15 ‘migration crisis’, the European Union and national governments focused their efforts on the efficient management of migrants arriving in large numbers. Accordingly, migrant integration has become a key challenge for EU member states. This research focuses on the Italian context and investigate discourses and practices of integration within Italian refugee reception centres. It examines the organisations supporting migrants’ resettlement and explores the link between how social workers talk about migrant integration (discourse level) and how they ‘do’ integration (practice level). This study draws on a six months ethnographic research, conducted within two Reception Centres of the national refugee protection system (SPRAR), to understand their activities and the power/knowledge relations bonding migrants, social workers and local communities. The data produced consists of field notes and interviews with employees and migrants. Theoretically it adopts a Foucauldian-inspired framework, drawing from concepts of ‘microphysics of power’, ‘governmentality’ and ‘pastoral power’ to analyse the microprocesses of subjectification unfolding within the integration projects. The research addresses the following research questions: By which means are migrants and refugees constituted and constantly reformed as subjects suitable to live in Europe according to the Italian ways of being? How do pressures from the extra-organisational environment affect the discourses of integration and the activities carried out within the refugee reception centres? Finding shows that the SPRAR centres can be seen as pastoral organisations on the threshold between various tensions characterising macro- and micro-politics of integration and inclusion. Integration is promoted through the professionalisation of the pastoral relationship aimed at constituting self-governing migrant subjects. Despite the will to promote multiculturalism, the conflicted relationship between centres and extra-organisational environment pushes employees towards discourses and practices of covert-assimilationism targeting migrants’ everyday life. This thesis extends Foucault’s pastoral power and offers an alternative perspective on integration focused on the micro-processes affecting migrants’ subjectification.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral