Domenico Perrotta

Symbolic violence and migrants in Italy. Research experiences with Romanian construction workers and Burkinabe farmworkers

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Habitus; Doxa; Subaltern Integration; Bourdieu; Ethnography.

This article focuses on the issues of the «integration» and/as «cultural subalternity» of migrants in Italy. It aims at discussing some concepts developed by Pierre Bourdieu, such as symbolic violence, habitus, and doxa, reflecting on two ethnographic studies. The first one, conducted between 2004 and 2008, was about migrants from the Dolj Department in Romania, employed in the construction sector in Bologna. The second study started in 2010 and is about migrants from Western Africa - in particular from the Boulgou province in Burkina Faso - employed on a seasonal basis in agriculture in Puglia and Basilicata. By describing representations and practices of these two groups, on the one hand the article shows how some discourses on immigration in Italy are embodied by the migrants themselves: this seems to confirm Bourdieu's theory of symbolic violence. On the other hand, the field research revealed the presence of «illegitimate» representations and practices: as different kinds and sources of symbolic power are at work in this context, migrants can (at least in part) «emancipate» themselves from the dominant "doxa".

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