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Migration and the Contemporary Mediterranean

Shifting Cultures in Twenty-First-Century Italy and Beyond


Edited By Claudia Gualtieri

This collection of essays presents a study of migration cultures in the contemporary Mediterranean with a particular focus on Italy as a point of migratory convergence and pressure. It investigates different experiences of, and responses to, sea crossings, borders and checkpoints, cultural proximity and distance, race, ethnicity and memory, along with creative responses to the same. In dialogic and complementary interaction, the essays explore violence centring on race as the major determining factor. The book further submits that the interrogation of racialized categories represents different kinds of critical response and resistance, which involve both political struggle and day-to-day survival and coexistence. Following the praxis of cultural and postcolonial studies, the essays focus on the present but draw indispensable insight from past connections and heritage as well as offering prognoses for the future. The ambitious aim of this collection is to identify some useful lines of thought and action that could help us to think outside intricacy, isolation and defensiveness, which characterize most of the public official reactions to migration today.

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3 The failures of Italian migration responses/approaches: The relocation scheme and the protection of unaccompanied and separated children (Yodit Estifanos Afewerki)


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3 The failures of Italian migration responses/approaches: The relocation scheme and the protection of unaccompanied and separated children


This chapter presents my fieldwork as a cultural mediator in Western Sicily and as a social worker in Reggio Calabria. From November 2015 to February 2016, I was employed by the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees in Italy and worked as the Tigrinya cultural mediator in the Relocation scheme project, covering the areas of Agrigento, Palermo and Trapani. My scope of assignment was at frontline reception facilities, giving potential relocation candidates pre-structured UNHCR information on their rights and obligations in Italy and Europe. Since May 2016, I have been employed by the independent French humanitarian organization Médecins du Monde. They work in Reggio Calabria because it has been the third major port for disembarkation in Italy in the last few years. My work concerns support for disembarkation procedures, providing formative and intercultural activities for migrants and the people working with them, as well as helping local authorities and actors involved in assisting migrants. In order to present both the positive aspects of the operations being carried out, and the difficulties, which arise daily from the application of standard practices, this chapter will describe the welcoming operations and how they are implemented both by the UN and the NGO with whom my fieldwork has been conducted.


The unprecedented phenomenon of growing migratory flows...

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