Raise Your Voice: The Multicultural Question and the Birth of Migrant Literature in Italy

  • Michele F. Fontefrancesco University of Gastronomic Sciences, Pollenzo, Italy
Keywords:
migration, Italy, migrant literature, voice, multiculturalism, cultural integration

Abstract

At a time when Italian society is experiencing a surge of ethnic intolerance and xenophobia, the paper addresses the question: "what role can migrant literature play in creating a multicultural society?" In so doing, the paper continues the debate opened in the 50th issue of this journal concerning the anthropological relevance of migrant literature. It shifts the analysis to Italy and looks at the period of fast demographic, legal, and cultural transformation that occurred between the 1980s and the 1990s. This is the moment when Italy turned into an international destination for global migration; a change that also required a cultural change in the country in terms of multiculturalism. Thus, the paper explores the birth of Italian migrant literature and presents the main steps in the development of this genre, which encompasses both bottom-up and top-down initiatives. The analysis suggests migrant literature is a key cultural medium through which the new migrant communities have negotiated their cultural presence in the country and created a bridge and a comprehensive cultural framework within which the different cultures of the new Italians can coexist and mix with the old ones. In this respect, the development of migrant literature can be read as a tool for integration and a fertile ground for cultural innovation. At the same time, the analysis also points out the power relations that underpin the process of cultural creation and the strategies used by migrants in order to achieve legitimacy. 

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Published
2020-12-15
How to Cite
Fontefrancesco, Michele. 2020. “Raise Your Voice: The Multicultural Question and the Birth of Migrant Literature in Italy”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 15 (4), 1141–1152. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v15i4.8.