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Gateways to Europe: Language and transnational migration (completed)

Gateways to Europe: Language and the Management of Transnational Migration 


This research project investigates processes of transnational migration at the southern periphery of the European Union, specifically North African arrivals in Italy. It particularly aims to produce a complex understanding of the role of language and multilingualism in the immigrants’ social, political, and economic integration process in Italy, but also in other European host societies more generally.

Alfonso Del Percio (Photo: Nadia Frantsen/UiO)

Alfonso Del Percio (Photo: Nadia Frantsen/UiO)

About the project

As a gateway to Europe, Italy represents an emblematic site for an investigation of language's social meaning in transitional immigration. On the one hand, Italy plays the role of a prime transit point for individuals migrating from the African coasts to Europe. On the other, the country has particular salience for a better understanding of processes used in the management of linguistic and cultural diversity, the mobilization of multilingual resources, and the appropriation of linguistic capital. With Italy as a starting point, this project can contribute significantly to the production of sociolinguistic knowledge on the linguistic challenges that transnational migration poses to both the host country Italy and the immigrants themselves.

This study pays close attention to the reception, assistance, legal and practical counseling, as well as the medical care offered at the receiving center. Furthermore, it examines how the individuals are identified, categorized, and transferred to further specialized reception facilities and educational, civic, and professional spaces of integration.

This inquiry scrutinizes what it means to serve migrants arriving in Europe and involves a questioning of the infrastructures, strategies and practices that the Italian state implements to meet the linguistic demands posed by the reception of these individuals. This also entails a fine-grained analysis of the support and gate-keeping practices provided by those individuals working within the institutions serving migrants. Finally this implies an inquiry of the professional training and formation of those individuals working for the arriving migrants.

Shedding light on these factors will help to raise and answer a number of questions regarding multilingualism's role in the making and legitimation of sociocultural difference, and the significance of language for access, selection, social mobility, and gate-keeping processes related to transnational migration.



Published Apr. 30, 2015 2:51 PM - Last modified Nov. 21, 2019 2:30 PM


Alfonso Del Percio

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