National Identity and Immigration: The Case of Italy

  • Eva Garau

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The thesis sets out to examine the debate on national identity and immigration in Italy. It analyses whether Italy, in reacting to immigration, is following any classic model of integration of foreign citizens following the example of countries such as Britain and France, or whether it has developed an alternative long-term strategy more adequate to its own situation. It also questions whether the debate on immigration has triggered a discussion on the renegotiation of the meaning of national identity, in order to make it more inclusive of minority identities within the country. The thesis traces the debate as it emerges in the public sphere. It identifies the main actors involved, and analyses the rhetoric used by the leading voices to put forward their respective views and claims. It aims at providing a picture of the discussion within each group as well as investigating the relationship between different actors, their alliances and the dissent they express. The role of three main actors taking part in the discussion is explored in detail, namely Italian intellectuals, the Catholic Church and the Northern League. It addresses their role in shaping public opinion and influencing the state policy-making on immigration. Through the final analysis of Italian legislation, the thesis concludes that Italy is moving towards the construction of a highly exclusive identity, where the idea of integration does not feature.
Date of Award7 Jun 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorRoger Eatwell (Supervisor)


  • national identity
  • immigration
  • Catholic church

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