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UCL Mellon Programme: Interdisciplinary Seminar 2008-2009

Translations/Transpositions - Migration and non-mother-tongue writing
(in association with the UCL Italian Department)

Seminar: 18 March 2009 (Chair: Dr Federica Mazzara)

Dr Nicola Mai, ISET (Institute for the Study of European Transformations), at London Metropolitan University

From Albanophobia to (Roma)Rumanophobia: new and old moral panics, social transformations and the re-configuration of Italian national identity


In the 1990s the arrival of Albanian migrants on the Italian shores coincided with the staging of a powerful moral panic, which produced equally powerful dynamics of social exclusion. In the 2000s, the Albanians were able to gradually extricate themselves from these exclusionary narratives and policies, which are now targeting new groups of newcomers: Romanian Roma migrants. The paper will draw on the original ethnographic material and observations gathered in the context of research undertaken in Italy to explore differences and similarities between the ‘albanophobia’ of the 1990s and the ‘(Roma)rumanohobia’ of contemporary times. These two interlinked moral panics will be examined both in terms of their discursive construction and of the relations they bear with deeper social transformations. In this respect, the paper will underline how both ‘albanophobia’ and ‘rumanophobia’ can be seen as displacement mechanism to avoid confronting the ‘real fears’ issues agitating the fears of Italians: unemployment, inflation, the precarisation of survival, enduring and widespread political corruption and poor governance

Suggested reading

Mai, N. (2008) Out of Albania Oxford: Berghahn Books


This page last modified 26 September, 2012 by UCL Mellon Admin

Book cover: Muamma

Book cover: Unpacking the collection

imag: book cover, Federica  Mazzara

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