9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN32 Political Sociology

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Citizens on the Margins: Political and Social Rights in Practice Building I, 2E10

The political participation of immigrants at institutional level in Italy

The immigration of non-communitarian citizens in the European union increases the necessity to implement public policies to integrate the foreigners in the countries of arrival of the migratory trajectory. The progressive stabilization of immigrants in receiving societies implicates an attention to the inclusion of the "new" citizens in the social and political life within the "new" territory of residence. One of the point of the scientific debate on the integration of foreigners in political life considers the different forms thorough which immigrants share the social norms, political practices and values of receiving societies. The proposed contribution starts from the assumption that a crucial element for the political integration of immigrants in receiving societies is the active participation of the newcomers citizens in political practices and debates of the country.
The contribution examines closely, both from the empirical and from the theoretical point of view, the issue of the political integration of foreigners in Italy. The case studies consider a recent instrument of political inclusion for immigrants activated in some Italian cities at institutional level: the consultative body of immigrants. These organisations composed of elected representatives of non-national immigrated communities, were founded in some Italian cities at the end of the 20th century in order deal with the problems and opportunities related to the phenomenon of immigration and the foreigners' presence. The case studies focus on the impact that consultative bodies of immigrants have on the city context. In particular they reconstructs the impact that the representative bodies for immigrants have on the administration, in the public sphere and the relationship they establish with associations. The case studies evaluate, on the one hand, if these participative bodies are tools for an effective and substantial political participation for immigrants and, on the other hand, explore - at a more theoretical level - the relation between collective (cultural) identity and political participation.