Interethnic relations between Italians and Moroccans: it takes two to tango

  • Carlotta Celozzi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Over the past decades, the pronounced increase of international migration has led many nations to confront themselves with the pressing issue of how to ameliorate and make more harmonious the engagement among people with different cultural backgrounds. The present thesis enters this debate focusing on the mutual relations between Italians and Moroccan immigrants living in Turin (North-West Italy). By means of this case study, this research demonstrates that the support and valorisation of cultural diversity do not damage social cohesion, as some scholars believe, but rather they may contribute to positive intergroup relations if they are well balanced by the adaptation of immigrants to the host country’s culture and by the development of a sense of belonging with the new country. In order to test my assumption I analyzed the impact of a preference for the integration strategy of acculturation (rather than assimilation or segregation) and the extent to which Moroccans and Italians share this preference. These analyses build on the distinction between acculturation in the public and in the private domain and between the concepts of culture and identity. A total of 281 respondents, of whom 136 were Moroccans and 145 Italians, participated in a questionnaire study. Both groups clearly expressed their preference for the integration strategy in the public and in the private domain, and for a dual identity, where migrants identified with both their own ethnic group and with Italy. In addition, these findings revealed that both acculturation strategies and identity patterns were predictive of intergroup relations, with the latter having the strongest impact. These findings were deepened through qualitative interviews, which aimed to explore whether for the specific context of this study the conditions were such that the dual identity could realistically develop. Results indicated that while culture diversity is encouraged and supported, Moroccans still experience a degree of discrimination. Such situation delineates a reality characterised by a ‘segmented pluralism’, that is, a reality where the recognition of cultural and ethnic differences coexist with the persistence of structural inequalities.
Date of Award31 Jul 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJacqueline Andall (Supervisor)


  • ethnic relations
  • Moroccans
  • Italians
  • acculturation
  • integration

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