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Destination Italy

Representing Migration in Contemporary Media and Narrative

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Edited By Emma Bond, Guido Bonsaver and Federico Faloppa

Italy is one of the most recent immigratory destinations in Europe, having long been one of the continent’s most important sources of emigration. Due to its strategic position in the Mediterranean, the Italian peninsula is a crossroads of complex transnational movements and represents a unique and dynamic context for the study of contemporary migration and its representation through the diverse channels of media, literature and film.
The product of a two-year interdisciplinary research project into representations of migration to Italy, this volume brings together scholarly contributions from the fields of migration studies, linguistics, media, literature and film studies as well as essays by practitioners and activists. It provides both a multi-faceted snapshot of how diverse representations of immigration capture experiences and affect decision-making dynamics and an in-depth study of how media, literature and cinema contribute to the public perception of migrants within the destination culture.
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The Postcolonial Afterlife of Primo Levi

← 285 | 286 →DEREK DUNCAN← 286 | 287 →

Extract

Parte del nostro esistere ha sede nelle anime di chi ci accosta: ecco perché è non-umana l’esperienza di chi ha vissuto giorni in cui l’uomo è stato una cosa agli occhi dell’uomo.

—PRIMO LEVI

Il clandestino è l’ebreo di oggi.

—MONI OVADIA

I sommersi e i sanati is the title of a volume which examines the legal position of Italy’s migrant population.1 Its authors quite self-consciously play on the title of Primo Levi’s final work, I sommersi e i salvati, a book which in turn reprises the title of a chapter in Levi’s first book, Se questo è un uomo.2 By creating an association between today’s migrants and those who perished, or indeed survived, the experience of the Lager, the authors of I sommersi e sanati offer their readers the lure of an historical precedent, a very powerful gesture of contextualization for what is to follow. This gesture is all the more potent because it is far from unique. Evocations of the Holocaust in denunciations of how Italy’s migrants are treated particularly in relation to their incarceration on account of their irregular ← 287 | 288 →status are not uncommon. Laura Bazzicalupo, in her essay ‘La biopolitica del Novecento’, is unequivocal in calling Italy’s Centri di permanenza temporanea (CPT), ‘i nostri lager’.3 Films such as Giordano’s Quando sei nato non puoi più nasconderti, and Vittorio de Seta’s Lettere dal Sahara represent the experience of the CPT as one of radical dispossession of the self as the migrant body...

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