A Case of Bottom-Up, Slow, and Ongoing Political Integration? Naturalised Albanians in Italy

Eriselda Shkopi, Zana Vathi

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

Based on fieldwork conducted with naturalised Albanian immigrants and key informants in the Italian city of Padua, this paper analyses the political integration of immigrants and their voting post-naturalisation. Departing from the predominantly quantitative research on this topic, the paper establishes through qualitative methods a link between memories of past political socialisation in the country of origin, the mode of integration, in particular the role of stigma, and immigrants’ voting patterns. Even though previous research has pointed to common trends of political behaviour and voting of ethnic groups, we find that political integration and voting are closely linked to participants’ personal biographies and social positioning in the country of immigration, political socialisation in and memories of life in the country of origin, and social and cultural capital. This last factor, in particular, played an important role in dissociating voting preferences from immigrant identity and stigma. These different political orientations appear to be furthermore affected by the ‘stigma management’ and its different outcomes for immigrants of an otherwise heavily stigmatised group. Thus, those voting for right-wing parties were more focused on their personal status in the country of residence, while those opting for left-wing political orientations were more considerate of their immigrant origin and the collective interests of minorities. The younger and more highly skilled, in turn, act more as ‘objective’ political subjects uninfluenced by their immigrant origins.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSussex
PublisherUniversity of Sussex
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

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