The article seeks to illustrate Italian educational policies for students with an immigrant background within the context of the EU intercultural framework. Italy can be considered the EU country where interculturalism is more widely recognized in terms of pedagogical theory and school legislation. However, the Italian approach is characterized by a weak and contradictory relationship between policy, teaching strategies and educational experiences. To support this argument, I will refer to a review of Italian sociological studies, which demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of the interculturalism as applied to the Italian education system. The conflict between theory and practices is illustrated by empirical findings that suggest immigrant students are still not granted equality of opportunity, linguistic and cultural diversities are almost absent from most school curricula, and a positive dialogue between culturally different subjects is still more of an aspiration than a fact. More research is needed in order to monitor and evaluate if intercultural practice is indeed a true expression of the ideas to which it aspires.
Albeit through contradictory policies, Italy has adopted an intercultural approach for the management of cultural diversity. The recent significant increase in the number of refugees arriving in Italy deeply challenges this paradigm. There are 93,000 people in Italy today who have been forced to leave their country of origin due to persecution, war or violations of human rights. Although many of them would prefer to get to northern Europe, under the current legislation they cannot choose the country in Europe in which to settle and they are often obliged to remain in a country they have not chosen as their final destination. Analysing some key elements of Italian intercultural policies, this paper highlights critical issues surrounding the inclusion of asylum seekers and refugees in the Italian context in which inadequate responses to the complex needs of this particularly vulnerable population have been shown. Finally, concluding implications include the issue of the inclusion of refugees for an intercultural approach able to offer opportunities of interaction and integration in the Italian context are presented.
For many years Italy has been described as a country of emigration. Only since the 1970s Italy has moved from being a net exporter of migrants to a net importer. Despite growing cultural and religious diversity, the implications of the pluralisation of the Italian society on national identity have been largely ignored. Italy has been recently described as a country without an established model of integration or pluralism.1 The so called ‘Italian way’ towards cultural diversity remained predominantly theoretical in character and not supported officially, in the sense of being incorporated into the nation’s history (as it is in Canada or Australia). The rise of ‘ethnonationalism’ and legacies of past colonialism contributed to create an institutional notion of supposed ‘Italianness’, which is based on the exclusion of the ‘Other’. During the Liberal and Fascist periods, colonialism was used to create and re-produce a strong sense of nationhood, re-composing the many internal divisions by racialising ‘otherness’ outside rather than inside the nation’s borders. This study suggests that, due to historical amnesia and a weak national identity, a similar logic is now informing the implementation of anti-immigration policies in Italy.
Until the 1970s, Italy’s population trajectory had demonstrated a clear propensity to be an emigrating nation. Over its almost 150-year history, it had witnessed four major phases of outward migration which had defined this country and created large diasporas across the globe. However, major changes began occurring to this demographic trajectory. It saw the unexpected arrival of large numbers of migrants from mostly poorer nations which it only reluctantly acknowledged. But, Italy was both unprepared and unconvinced to respond to this new phenomenon of incoming migration. Even though many of its European neighbours began to engage with this new and wider multicultural paradigm emerging in the 1980s, this multicultural approach never took hold in Italy. At the same time segments of the Italian education system were obliged to tackle recently arrived large numbers of migrants and their children requiring integrated models of education. While the political elites sought to remain immobile with large numbers of incoming immigrants, schools and educational institutions had little choice. Unfortunately, as this paper will demonstrate, this approach was mostly limited to the area of education. Although Interculturalism received a boost from its European Union promotion in 2008, it remained largely an activity exercised within the domain of public education. Fundamentally multiculturalism, like interculturalism were never officially embraced in Italy. While some sectors of society constructively engaged with interculturalism arguably as a different and more developed idea than multiculturalism, Italy and its policymakers continue to avoid engagement with migrant integration models whatever they be.
At a time when multiculturalism as an approach to managing diversity in society has been declared a failed policy in many western countries, Australia still seems committed to the approach as evidenced in public discourse and government declarations. The concept of interculturalism— promoted as a more appropriate approach to dealing with diversity in other parts of the world such as Europe and Canada—seemingly has no place in the Australian context. However, changes in the understanding of the concept, its application and degrees of commitment to it can also be observed in Australia. Not only has the meaning and execution of multiculturalism changed considerably over the years, there has also been vigorous debate and backlash, embodied in the political arena, by the (re) emergence of parties, and more recently, a variety of groupings with a nationalistic and/or nativist focus. More generally, a hardened attitude in public discourses concerning migration, social cohesion and national identity has developed over the last two decades. In the context of these developments, this article will trace the evolution of the Australian concept of multiculturalism and its concrete application focussing on the changes of the last two decades. A comparison of Australia’s purportedly unique type of multiculturalism and concept(s) of interculturalism to explore whether Australia’s nation-building project is indeed distinct from other countries’ diversity experience, or whether there is a place for interculturalism in Australia in an era of increasing mobility will conclude the article.
Hailed initially as the country’s saviour for saving Italy from default, Mario Monti’s technocratic government (2011-13) ended in controversy and with its achievements questioned. Aware of this contested legacy, this article seeks to revisit Monti’s term in office and to assess his approach to the crisis that engulfed Italy and the eurozone in 2011-12. In doing so, it looks primarily at Monti’s European policy, but also briefly examines his domestic agenda. Monti’s legacy has so far drawn very limited academic interest. By filling a gap in the existing literature on contemporary European and Italian affairs, this article aims to improve our understanding of a critical phase in the recent politics and foreign policy of one the key EU member states.
The Five Presidents’ Report presents a range of actions to complete Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union. This article examines whether the Five Presidents’ Report will lead to significant beneficial reforms, having regard to the European sovereign debt crisis and the legal framework of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The article discusses the background to the production of the Five Presidents’ Report, including how preceding reports responded to the European sovereign debt crisis. The proposals to create a European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS), European Fiscal Board (EFB) and a Eurozone Treasury are focussed upon in this article. The article concludes that the measures proposed in the report do not go far enough towards establishing financial stability in the Eurozone. A key criticism is that counter-cyclical policy has not been the focus of the report’s recommendations on fiscal matters.
Ian Manners (2002) famously argued that the European Union (EU) is a ‘normative’ power. According to this description, ethical values are fundamental both to the legal basis, and to the day- to-day policies of the EU. This essay evaluates the claim that the EU is a Normative Power, focusing on the field of human rights. Certainly, the EU strongly promotes its human rights policies as being a force for good in the world. The EU’s has traditionally been supportive of international legal regimes, and its human rights values have conditioned its relations with other actors. Despite this, the EU’s policies have often failed to change the behaviour of other actors. The main cause of this gap between rhetoric and reality is the conflict between the traditional realist interests of member states, and the ideals of the EU. The EU must be more conscious of this clash, if its human rights policies are to be successful.