Dissertation Abstracts

The Second Generation of Immigrants: Pathways to Integration of Young People of Foreign Origin in Naples

Author: Tatarella, Grazia , graziatatarella@hotmail.com
Department: Social Science
University: Federico II - Naples, Italy
Supervisor: Prof.ssa Antonella Spanò
Year of completion: 2010
Language of dissertation: Italian

Keywords: migration , identity , second generation , transnationalism
Areas of Research: Family Research , Childhood , Migration

Abstract

Italy, previously a country of emigration that has shifted into a land of immigration, we have been witnessing the slow and steady permanent settlement of immigrants. The data on family reunification and the number of foreign children illustrates the extent of this phenomenon. The children of immigrants, or second generation, born in Italy live "between two worlds" (Favaro, 2007) in a state of perpetual commuting, and must continually reconcile conditions and status often too different. Living with their parents sometimes creates conflicts related to the cultural values of the land of origin, both with the host society, where they are seen as foreigners even when they were born in Italy or arrived during early childhood.
In this context, it seemed useful to analyze the biographies of the children of immigrants. Their stories help reveal the difficulties they face and the extent to which these difficulties are inherent to the condition of the alien and the extent to which they are related to adolescence. The topic of second generation integration, a question that turns out to be crucial for understanding the changes in the current migration processes, is important for understanding the changes affecting receiving societies, wherein the integration of the second generation is a real challenge for social cohesion (Ambrosini, 2005).
The young second-generation immigrants, unlike their parents, display new forms of identity, processed and developed as inclusion and adaptation strategies which, unlike in the past, do not follow a logic of either-or, but rather and-and (Colombo, 2007). Migration in a globalized context, in fact, provides direct and indirect contacts between spatially distant cultures and societies. From these different contexts arise not only new socio-cultural products, but also new political actors that mediate their identity beyond national borders.
This dissertation draws on research conducted in Naples with young students, who are children of immigrants, and who belonging to the three largest immigrant communities in the Campania region: China, Sri Lanka and Ukraine. In the study, particular attention was devoted to the ways in which young people belonging to the second generation will build new forms of belonging, assuming that such a construction is never constant, but always in flux, continuously negotiated in relation to specific contexts of action. The adoption of a situational perspective – which also avoids any kind of determinism - has allowed us to take into account the fact that long, continuous relations between different groups do not necessarily lead to the disappearance or the radicalization of the differences: the latter, in fact, may persist and take on new meanings, not necessarily emblematic of an oppositional culture, nor indicative of marginalization. Particular attention has been paid to contextualize the phenomenon in the light of some key indicators, such as the subjects' age, provenance, time of arrival, and the family migration project.

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