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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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5 Governing illegal immigration by sea: The difficult Italian challenge (Fabio Caffio)


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5 Governing illegal immigration by sea: The difficult Italian challenge1


For more than a quarter of a century, Italy has been experienced an unstoppable flow of people arriving by sea, first from the Balkans, then from the Middle East and from Africa, with the desire to escape wars and persecution and reach the shores of Europe in search of a better life. Over a period from 1991 until now, on a number of occasions, the aspirations and the rights (to obtain international protection) of these people have come into conflict with the territorial integrity of Italy and the entire European Union. Italy’s approach to direct flows into its own territory, which is strongly inspired by universal principles of humanitarianism and maritime solidarity, has not always been in tune with the rejection approach endorsed by other EU member states. However, Italy has always co-operated with other European partners in the control of their borders. This chapter examines the problematic position of Italy in this context.

Foreword: The many facets of the legal framework for the treatment of migrants at sea

Since 1991, the year that marks the beginning of the massive migration flow towards Italy via the Adriatic Sea, the complexity of the legal issues involved appeared clear. It is worth quoting the authoritative academic, Douglas Guilfoyle:

The phenomenon of refugees and undocumented migrants traveling by sea gives rise to a number of...

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