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What’s in a name? Children of migrants, national belonging and the politics of naming

journal contribution
posted on 11.12.2020, 10:16 by Marco AntonsichMarco Antonsich
As Western societies experience a ‘transition to diversity’ spurred by international migration, an enduring question is how this transition impacts on the nation and its symbolic borders. The article addresses this question by adopting an original analytical lens, what I call the ‘politics of naming’, i.e. the agonistic tensions around naming practices between the majority society and children of migrants. Focusing on the case of Italy, the article identifies three main discursive practices: the embracement by children of migrants of the names ascribed to them by the majority society as a way to claim social visibility and citizenship rights; the rewriting of ascribed social categories (e.g., ‘second generation’) as a way to rewrite the boundaries of national belonging; the rejection of these interpellations for more plural identities. The findings suggest, on the one hand, the persistence of an ethno-racial bias which continues to inform the nation in the age of diversity and, on the other hand, an attempt by the children of migrants to re-imagine the nation along cultural (rather than ethno-racial) lines. It is by more closely attending to this tension that the impact of the transition to diversity on the nation can be revealed.

Funding

European Commission under Grant PCIG13-GA-2013-618470

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Social & Cultural Geography

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Taylor & Francis

Publisher statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Social & Cultural Geography on 10 Mar 2021, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14649365.2021.1896026.

Acceptance date

09/12/2020

Publication date

2021-03-10

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

1464-9365

eISSN

1470-1197

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Marco Antonsich. Deposit date: 10 December 2020