9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS04 Europe and Immigration

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Emerging Migration Patterns: Intra-European and Intra-National Migration Building I, 1E9

The networks of foreign immigrants in Italy

The present study exploiting network analysis techniques aims to describe the ties existing between origin and destination geographical areas.
The analysis of internal and international migratory flows is based on the data collection of changes of residence.
We apply the method of social network analysis (SNA), a technique for visualizing, describing and analyzing a system of relations. SNA has developed a number of indicators that focus on the relationships between the nodes, the centrality of the node in the network, the distance between nodes.
In a first step we focus on international mobility that has so radically transformed the map of countries of origin and destination of migratory flows over recent years. In the case of the foreigners┬┤ international migration flows the countries of origin are identified as "sending nodes" and the local Italian areas are identified as "receiving nodes".
In a second step to study the foreigners┬┤ internal mobility we consider local Italian areas as nodes.
The big cities, such as Rome and Milan, are no longer the areas that mostly attract immigrants. Many small centres, in the dynamic north of the country, play a very relevant role as destination of internal migration flows of foreigners.
The analysis underlines the difference in the networks of the various communities. Migration dynamics seem to be deeply determined by the presence and the functioning of a variety of networks at different levels of aggregation. Migration networks can be defined as "groups of social ties" formed on the basis of kinship, friendship and common origin. They link migrants and non-migrants together in a system of reciprocal obligations and mutual expectations. Networks bring about the cumulative causation of migration because every new migrant reduces the costs of migration for a group of non-migrants, thereby inducing some of them to migrate, creating new network ties to the destination area for another group of people, some of whom are also induced to migrate, creating more network ties, and so on [Massey, 1990].