On how the universality of rights translates into national politics and practices of exclusion: The spectre of precarity among young “migrants”

  • Cristina Notarangelo Università di Genova


The structural presence of young migrants leads us to investigate the different levels and practices through which inclusion and exclusion processes are declined in daily life also considering the persistence of apparent and concealed barriers affecting the construction of new forms of political, social and cultural cohesion. Drawing on life stories of young people who arrived in Italy from the country of origin at different stages of their educational formation and socialization process and on fieldwork, this ethnographic paper explores the material and symbolic consequences engendered by the tension existing between Italian educational policy and norms regulating the status of migrants and more in general the effects of immigration policies. A case study conducted in the city of Genoa provides evidence of discrepancies between the aims of some institutions, in particular schools, which even if with lots of contradictions try to valorize multiple belongings and to adhere to international Conventions on human rights, and an “outside” context which ties the permit of residence in Italy to the sphere of labour or to the involvement in the education system provided that the family of a dependent major student have the required income. This fact limits the opportunities and redefines the rights both of second generations and adult migrants educated elsewhere and migrated in search for a new or better life. The expectations of young migrants with multiple identities are thus betrayed because they have to confront walls and barriers which distance them from citizens, citizenship and connected rights.


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