Economic Miracle and Political Limbo: Italy and Its ‘Extracommunitarians’

Carl-Ulrik Schierup

in Migration, Citizenship, and the European Welfare State

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780198280521
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603730 | DOI:

Series: European Societies

Economic Miracle and Political Limbo: Italy and Its ‘Extracommunitarians’

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To grasp Italy’s experience of migration, welfare, and citizenship, it is necessary to first understand the convoluted relationship between formal legislation and central directives on the one hand, and their interpretation and implementation in a decentralized and clientilistic political-administrative setting on the other. Added to this is the complexity of Italy’s division into major regions that are still very different in terms of economy, political culture, and social structure and, consequently, in terms of the modes in which immigrants become incorporated into economy and society. This refers in particular to the traditional north-south divide, which has not vanished during the last three decades of economic restructuring and political change, but has taken on partially new forms. The chapter presents data on the growth of immigration in Italy. It draws a cursory sketch of the specific character of the Italian conservative-corporatist welfare state and the discontents produced by its merger with Italy’s post-Fordist political economy and labour market. It describes the growing structural dependency of the Italian economy on migrant labour and discusses the segmentation of the labour market in relation to the major regional divisions. The chapter closes with a discussion of vagaries of policy formation and the current political struggles in Italy over immigration.

Keywords: clientilism; informal economy; regionalism; conservative welfare state; post-Fordist economy

Chapter.  14219 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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