Enzo Colombo, Lorenzo Domaneschi, Chiara Marchetti

"Prisoners of Bureaucracy?": Meanings and Practices of Citizenship among Children of Immigrants in Italy

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract


The article aims to present recent research findings - using in-depth interviews - concerning immigrants' children attending Italian upper secondary schools. The study attempts to explore how these youngsters - either born in Italy or arrived during their childhood - represent and claim citizenship, how interested they are in claiming it, what kind of motivation they advance for its achievement, how they value it. Specific attention is reserved to comparing how different contemporary sociological perspectives about citizenship's permanence and change can be useful to better understand the Italian situation. The interviews indicate that citizenship is still considered very important by immigrants' children, born or bred in Italy. Citizenship is still fundamental for the rights to stay, to be legitimately present, that is to be allowed to participate, on a ground of equal consideration and recognition, in daily life. On the other hand, if one considers the ties between citizenship and identification, rather than formal and participatory dimensions, one observes the emergence of transnational and cosmopolitan ideas of citizenship, calling for the recognition of plural and different forms of loyalties and belongings. Although these youths identify themselves as Italians (in terms of lifestyle, routines, freedom and opportunities stemming from their living in Italy), they are not willing to give up or hide others forms of belonging (especially as concerns values, traditions, and family ties).

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