Politics of National Identity in Italy
Immigration and 'Italianità'
By Eva Garau
Routledge – 2015 – 242 pages
Series: Extremism and Democracy
This book focuses on the politics of national identity in Italy. Only a unified country for just over 150 years, Italian national identity is perhaps more contingent than longer established nations such as France or the UK.
The book investigates when, how and why the discussions about national identity and about immigration became entwined in public discourse within Italy. In particular it looks at the most influential voices in the debate on immigration and identity, namely Italian intellectuals, the Catholic Church, the Northern League and the Left. The methodological approach is based on a systematic discourse analysis of official documents, interviews, statements and speeches by representatives of the political actors involved. In the process, the author demonstrates that a 'normalisation' of intolerance towards foreigners has become institutionalised at the heart of the Italian state.
This work will be of particular interest to students of Italian Politics, Nationalism and Comparative Politics.
1. Introduction 2. Italian intellectuals and the ‘death of the homeland’. Antagonistic identities in Italy since 1945 3. ‘Nobody is a foreigner within the Church’. Selective solidarity as a criterion to grant citizenship 4. ‘Masters in our own land’: the Northern League’s rhetoric on identity and otherness 5. Citizens of the world: a seemingly proletarian approach to immigration 6. Lampedusa: the promised land or a gateway to Europe?
Eva Garau is a Research Fellow in Contemporary History at the University of Cagliari, Italy.