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International migration and the rise of the ‘civil’ nation

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journal contribution
posted on 04.03.2016, 12:04 by Marco AntonsichMarco Antonsich
Scholars largely agree that immigration policies in Western Europe have switched to a liberal, civic model. Labelled as ‘civic turn’, ‘civic integration’ or ‘liberal convergence’, this model is not identically applied across countries, since national institutions, traditions and identifications still matter. Even so, the main focus is on processes which allow or prevent migrants to be incorporated into nations usually taken for granted in their meanings. Moving from policies to discourses, this article aims to interrogate what kind of nation is behind these policies as a way to further scrutinise the ‘civic turn’. Exploring how the term ‘civility’ and its adjectivisations are discursively deployed in Italian parliamentary debates on immigration and integration issues, the article points to two opposite narratives of nation. While one mobilises civility in order to rewrite the nation in terms of a common, inclusive, civic ‘we’, the other uses civility to reaffirm the conflation between national identity and the identity of the ethno-cultural majority. These findings suggest the importance of exploring the ‘civic turn’ not only across countries, but also across political parties within the same country to capture the ways in which a liberal, civic convergence in political discourses might hide divergent national boundary mechanisms.


This work was supported by the European Commission [grant PCIG13-GA-2013-618470].



  • Social Sciences


  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies


ANTONSICH, M., 2016. International migration and the rise of the ‘civil’ nation. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 42 (11), pp. 1790-1807.


© Taylor & Francis (Routledge)


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies on 2 March 2016, available online:





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