Nomadi o “Figli del ghetto”? Ebook gratuito

Copertina di Figli del ghetto. Gli italiani, i campi nomadi e l'invenzione degli zingari, 2002

Copertina di Figli del ghetto. Gli italiani, i campi nomadi e l’invenzione degli zingari, 2002

Nonluoghi, l’editore del mio libro uscito nel 2002, ha recentemente messo online l’ebook di Figli del Ghetto in vari formati che sono scaricabili gratuitamente a questo indirizzo. Lo scandalo romano ‘Mafia Capitale’ ha portato alla ribalta in maniera forte le politiche pubbliche per rom e sinti e soprattutto riaccesso il dibattito sui cosidetti ‘campi nomadi’, che a Roma presentano le fattezze di campi di internamento di triste e non distante memoria. Telecamere, muri e filo spinato, controlli in uscita ed entrata e isolamento, rendono questi campi strutture di mero contenimento in condizioni di decenza, talvolta neanche questa. Sono luoghi dove guardiani e para-assistenti sociali (spesso sottopagati) del mondo di fuori fungono da palliativi, meri ingranaggi di un sistema piu’ grande di loro che rendono appena piu’ tollerabile.

Molti questi temi li trovate piu’ o meno sviluppati in questo saggio di dodici anni fa. Buona lettura!

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An (Italian) undocumented migrant in New York

CorriereOnLine, 14 December 2014

Corriere della Sera, 14 December 2014

We are used to thinking of ‘illegal’ migrants as others from us, so if you are Italian and live in Italy the ‘clandestino’ is always imagined as a dark skinned, male and young person who travelled to Italy by a perilous journey on a rickety boat. More left-leaning Italians add to this image also the fact that the person may have been exploited, smuggled and vulnerable. No doubt, this is true for some, but there are many more routes into the country, more routes into ‘illegality’ and certainly different degrees of poverty, vulnerability and exploitation among undocumented migrants (see Sans Papiers).

Each country has a slightly different version of the quintessential ‘illegal’, and I say ‘slightly’ because a quick overview will easily point to a ‘preference’ for dark skinned and poor people for this casting role. But it is not a matter of ‘imagination’ only.

As I have pointed out a number of times (see my TEDx talk), immigration enforcement acts on those stereotypical representations of ‘the illegal’ and contributes to reify them. In other words, when the UK’s Home Office send border officers in search of undocumented migrants to raid Chinese or Indian restaurants or Kebab shops in East London or Brixton or to wedding ceremonies of people with South Asian sounding names in search of ‘sham marriages’, well, it is not rocket science but one can reasonably guess that it is likely that, if they are going to find someone without papers, he/she is going to be Chinese, Indian, Kurdish or Pakistani. There may well be thousands of white Americans or Australians living in the UK despite expired visas, but for the Home Office and a large part of the population they are not imagined as undocumented migrants and, fulfilling its own prophecy, not raiding more ‘respectable’ bars, shops or department stores the Home Office is unlikely to find them.

This video interview published on the Italian broadsheet Corriere della Sera is fascinating because it challenges upfront exactly those stereotypes and the immigration enforcement practices that they inform and in turn are reproduced by. So here you have a 24 year old Italian who, in breach of the terms of his visa, works in a posh patisserie ‘regularly’ but on someone else ID documents. He is aware of Barack Obama’s DACA scheme but doesn’t fulfil the requirements – ‘I can’t wait five years’, he says. He wants to regularise his position to open a business in the States as in Italy there is no chance to get a bank to lend him money. He has considered his options and the most feasible one is to marry someone with a US passport and gain the Green Card through marriage. It is not that difficult, he says. Being Italian doesn’t make him an obvious target for immigration control. He has also chosen to go for a gay marriage, not because this captures the zeitgeist of Obama’s America (but there may be something not verbalised around this) but ‘because otherwise my girlfriend would be jealous’, he explains. ‘It is a mutually convenient arrangements’, he adds. His US spouse is going to get tax cuts and $20,000 from him, but in instalments, the final one to be paid when he eventually gets the Green Card and can fulfil his American dream. Acting on stereotyping on Southern backwardness and machismo, the journalist asks: ‘Is your Sicilian mum shocked by your decision to marry a man?’. ‘No, no problem about that, but she worries because if I get caught, I could get a huge fine or even go to prison’.

Not bad as an example of migrant agency, youthful entrepreneurship and risk taking that Alice Bloch, Roger Zetter and I describe in our book, of the double position of the migrant as both immigrant and emigrant discussed by the French Algerian sociologist Sayad, and of migrants’ responsiveness to opportunity structures in both country of origin and country of destination that diaspora studies scholars talk extensively in their work.


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Regulating ‘irregular’ migration – podcast on Sans Papiers

Last November Roger Zetter, Alice Bloch (but Alice couldn’t make it) and I were invited to present ‘Sans Papiers: The social and economic lives of young undocumented migrants’ (Pluto, 2014) at the Refugee Studies Centre as part of RSC seminar series this term. The podcast of the presentation is available here.Pluto Bloch Sigona Zetter

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Why has this Italian politician’s neighbourly photo prompted such a furious backlash?

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Nando Sigona, University of Birmingham

Italy has been experiencing a resurgence of xenophobia recently. Migrants and Roma have been violently attacked by gangs, and people claiming to be “ordinary citizens” have organised marches in racially mixed neighbourhoods to stir up unrest.

Against this backdrop, Enrico Rossi, the left-leaning president of Tuscany, has turned what appears to be a rather mundane photograph into a bold political statement.

In the photo, Rossi stands flanked by a family of men, women and children. It’s a Sunday afternoon in Florence. “Let me introduce my neighbours” reads the description posted on Facebook. His neighbours are Romanian Roma.

Enrico Rossi, president of Tuscany, and his neighbours, 2014

Enrico Rossi, president of Tuscany, and his neighbours, 2014

Tense times

The picture was taken just a few weeks after Matteo Salvini, the new leader of the anti-immigration, anti-EU Northern League, paid a controversial visit to a Roma camp in Bologna to see how “tax money was spent”.

Salvini has made regular verbal attacks on Roma and migrants, a core part of his party’s attempt to rebrand itself as Italy’s answer to the French Front National. The steady rise in his approval rating would suggest that it’s working.

Meanwhile, the right is campaigning against Roma and new migrants at a local level too. In Rome, a crazy-train coalition of right-wing extremists, centre-right politicians and members of the mayor’s own Democratic Party is using immigration to fuel public anxieties in an attempt to force the mayor Ignazio Marino to resign.

But the animosity doesn’t stop there. Some of the same people who’ve been at the forefront of campaigns against undocumented migrants and Roma have now been accused of making money out of them as part of a sprawling inquiry into corruption in Rome.

The inquiry has exposed a network involving high-profile officials and mafia. They are suspected of bribery, extortion and corruption. So far 37 people have been arrested and 100 others investigated. The charges include making millions of euros by taking money meant to help support Roma and migrants. Officials have even been caught bragging about how exploiting migrants and Roma is more profitable than the drug trade.

Everybody needs good neighbours

Given all this tension, it is perhaps not surprising that Rossi’s neighbourly photo went viral. The picture attracted more than 6,000 Facebook comments, including from Salvini himself. Most were negative; many were violent and openly racist. (That said, there were 5,000 likes as well.)

Various accusations were levelled at the president in the comments. Many fell back on stereotypes about Roma: why, they asked, was the head of the region hanging out with foreigners, benefit scroungers, parasites, criminals? Why wasn’t he standing up for law-abiding taxpayers?

No matter if this Roma family includes children regularly attending a local school, and adults who work and have no criminal record; the people in the photo are not accepted as neighbours – they are dehumanised, and their real biographies trampled.

It is admirable that Rossi has held firm on his position despite the storm around the photo – even senior members of his party have voiced disapproval. He’s replied to a number of the comments made about the photo on Facebook. With just a few months to go before a regional election, it’s certainly bold to cause such a stir.

Given the current climate in Italy, his decision to fight this particular battle could affect his political career and electoral future – but at least for now, he doesn’t seem to care. One thing is certain: this particular photo will be plastered on leaflets and billboards everywhere as the next election approaches.

The Conversation

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