Diversity, Economic Growth and Social Cohesion
Edited by Maddy Janssens, Dino Pinelli, Dafne C. Reyman and Sandra Wallmann
Chapter 10: Rome. Electing Foreign Representatives to the City Government: Governance Strategies
Raffaele Bracalenti and Kristine M. Crane This chapter portrays the recent integration policy in Rome. Like the following chapter, this one is an example of a deliberate intervention designed to better integrate foreigners in the host community. It traces the evolution of integration policies in Rome from a charity-driven approach to a participatory model where the immigrant communities can influence the development of the city solely by virtue of their status as residents of Rome. The willingness of the (new) policies to strive for multidirectional flows between the immigrants and the natives mobilized a large number of ethnic communities. The elections created a sense of empowerment and a common issue that also helped to increase the level of communication and create networks within and amongst the diverse immigrant communities. The merit of this intervention not only stems from its added value for the immigrants, but it has also established an increased awareness of immigration issues amongst Italians. 10.1 INTRODUCTION: FOREIGNERS IN ITALY: EVOLUTION OF EMERGENCY TO INTEGRATION POLICY Once an emigration country, Italy has evolved from being a country of emigration to one of immigration only in the past 30 years. Starting in the late 1970s, it began absorbing immigrants from nearby Mediterranean countries, the Balkans, Africa, South America and the Far East (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, China and the Philippines), with most settling in Rome. Initially, the Catholic Church provided for immigrants’ most basic needs, including housing, legal assistance and Italian language courses. This charitydriven approach that responded to...
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