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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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This book was imagined and outlined during my stay in Oxford in 2015–16. I owe my deepest gratitude to the intellectual energy of its academic environment and the vitality of its human relationships. My thanks to the Faculty of English of the University of Oxford for inviting me, and to Elleke Boehmer both for her long-standing friendship from the moment we met at the Univesity of Leeds what seems like an impossibly long time ago, during the pre-Blair years, and for offering a delightful living and writing space. Oxford provided the inspiration and the network for the outstanding group of contributors to this collection. Among those who helped to make such an amazing collaboration possible, I wish to thank Tessa Roynon, Justine McConnell, Hélène Neveu Kringelbach, Guido Bonsaver and Federico Varese. I am also grateful to Sandro Mezzadra and Pierluigi Valsecchi, who contributed from Italy. This book was planned in the unsettling climate provoked by political uncertainty, populist drives, racist rhetoric and xenophobic campaigns in the lead-up to Brexit. Thus, it seemed even more urgent to try to compose a representative picture of the groups of people that were, and still are, crossing the Mediterranean, and to look at Italy as a bridge across that sea towards Europe. I owe my gratitude to Laurel Plapp of Peter Lang Oxford, who has been extremely helpful, patient and collaborative during the editing process, and to Giovanna Gualtieri and Andrea B. Farabegoli, who insightfully helped with the translation...

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