Re-discovering the importance of naturalization through immigrants' experiences: citizenship and political integration in Padua, Italy.

Eriselda Shkopi, Zana Vathi

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Abstract

This paper focuses on processes of political integration for immigrants in the Italian context, constituting as it does an understudied topic. It does so by looking at one specific community, Albanian immigrants, who have been typically heavily stigmatized. While Albanian immigration in Italy has been a focus of previous research, no consideration so far has been given to naturalization and its influence on other political processes at the level of immigrants’ daily lives. Through the meanings which participants of this research attribute to citizenship and their acting as political agents, the paper unpacks the relations between this "status passage" (Glaser and Strauss 1971) and the political integration of immigrants. The findings show a very complex picture in which multiple factors and interactions play an important role. Legally speaking, Italian citizenship is a pre-condition for immigrants to enjoy the right to vote in elections at all levels, which participants considered a significant indicator of their political integration. Therefore, the political integration of immigrants is heavily conditioned by naturalization, which gives access to political rights, voice and representation as regulated at the state level. However, when considering the role of age and social capital in processes of political integration, there is also reason to believe that the political mobilization and participation of the youngest and most well-educated participants is not as exclusively attached to such formal recognition as a political subject.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalReview of European and Russian Affairs
Volume11
Issue number1
Early online date20 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2017

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