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A Land on the Threshold

South Tyrolean Transformations, 1915–2015

Edited By Georg Grote and Hannes Obermair

Among the many commemorations of World War I, little was made of the 100th anniversary of the secret Treaty of London between Italy and the Western War Allies in April 1915, which sealed the fate of South Tyrol for the duration of the twentieth century by passing it from Austria to Italy. In May 2015, a symposium was held in the medieval Prösels Castle in the Italian Dolomites to mark this historical moment. Contributors set out to explore the political, social and cultural impact of South Tyrol’s existence «on the threshold» during the twentieth century.

Individually and collectively, the essays in this volume challenge the simplistic reading of South Tyrol as merely a geographic region torn between Germanic and Italian cultures; instead, they explore the dynamic effects of its geographical, political and cultural history since 1915. South Tyrol, as a modern regional state in Europe, faces many of the same problems as other European regions, be they individual states or sub-state regions. Most of the contributions in this volume are from academics and intellectuals within the Province of Bolzano/Bozen who negotiate and discuss these issues through their native languages: German, Italian and Ladin. By making their research accessible through English translations and abstracts, this volume seeks to bring their work on historical and contemporary developments in South Tyrol to a wider European and global audience.


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Part III: Society Today


part iii Society Today Sarah Oberbichler 8 “Calcutta lies … near the Rombrücke”: Migration Discourse in Alto Adige and Dolomiten and their Coverage of the Bozen “Immigrant Barracks Camps” of the Early 1990s abstract Focusing on the perception of “immigrant barracks camps” of the early 1990s in two daily South Tyrolean newspapers, the German-language Dolomiten and the Italian-language Alto Adige, Sarah Oberbichler first presents a historical overview of the debate about the immigrants barracks in South Tyrol from 1990 until 1994 and then offers an analysis of the range of arguments in the two South Tyrolean newspapers. A glance at current and contemporary South Tyrolean daily newspapers reveals how highly charged the topic of migration was and still is for South Tyroleans, even if – or especially because – migration in the province of Bozen is a relatively recent phenomenon. Up into the 1970s South Tyrol was considered to be a country of emigration, whereby in fact this outward migration was economically, and sometimes politically, motivated.1 When South Tyrol increasingly began to develop into a region of immigration in the early 1990s, the local media also picked up on this new topic of inward migration. For example, in March 1990, the Dolomiten reported: “Up 1 Rainer Girardi, “Geschichtlicher Abriss und demographische Daten zur Migration in Südtirol”, in: Roberta Medda-Windischer, Gerhard Hetfleisch and Maren Meyer (eds), Migration in Südtirol und Tirol. Analysen und multidisziplinäre Perspektiven (Bozen: EURAC Research, 2011), pp. 77–95, 77. 148 Sarah Oberbichler until recent times we...

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