Katia Pilati

Structural Inequalities and Political Participation by Filipino, Egyptian and Ecuadorian Immigrants in Milan

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: political participation, organizational engagement, immigration, inequalities

The aim of this article is to analyze structural inequalities related to immigrant mobilization in Milan. The focus is on opportunities and constraints derived from the political institutional structure and the organizational context. Social movement literature, particularly the political opportunity structure approach emphasizing the role of citizenship regimes in shaping opportunities of immigrant mobilization and the organizational approach stressing how immigrant organizational affiliations provide resources for their political participation, is drawn upon. The empirical study uses data collected through a survey carried out in Milan from November 2006 to April 2007 on 900 immigrants of Filipino, Egyptian and Ecuadorian origin and 300 Italians as a control group. Findings show that a prevailing ethnic conception of citizenship in Italy does indeed define asymmetries between Italians and foreign immigrants but does not reflect significant asymmetries among immigrants. Most immigrants are in fact still foreigners and, consequently, have similar political constraints. Furthermore, organizational resources are significantly associated with higher levels of immigrant political participation, and autochthonous organizations provide more resources than ethnic or immigrant organizations.

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