Multi- or inter-culturalism? An ethnography of political discourse in an Italian town
(Università di Padova)
Paper short abstract:
The research, carried out in north-eastern Italy, focuses on public debates in which politicians and migrant representatives come to terms with reciprocal representations and engage in self-definition. Turner's theory of performance is explored as a possible means of interpretation
Paper long abstract:
The talk revolves around processes of cultural dynamics and political rhetoric investing both migrants and the larger majority in a north eastern Italian town experiencing constant migration inflows. Data, which come from a seven year long period of field research in Padova, focus on a series of public debates in which local politicians and representatives of migrant communities confront each other and come to terms with one's another narration and representation of the increasingly multicultural context. Such representations, displayed in the public arena, try to make sense of the present through an interpretation of the past and through images of possible future scenarios which, in turn, interact with national legislation on migration and the larger European context. All parties of the discourse are engaged in a process of self-definition and identity construction as public, different but intertwined subjects. We look at Victor Turner's theory of performance as possible means of interpretation, and at Frederick Bailey's action theory as tool for analyzing interaction among the parties involved.
Anthropology and the politics of multiculturalism (a friendly merger of W014 & W030)