Paolo Boccagni, Francesca Lagomarsino

Celebrating as citizens, living as immigrants. An election day in a courtyard in Milan, "as if it were in Ecuador"

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Ecuadorian migration, external voting, ethnography, Ecuadorianness

The involvement of emigrants, from a distance, in the social life of the mother country has recently been analysed in many respects, including their external voting. The same applies to immigrants' pattern of communal sociability overseas, whether with a focus on the role of co-nationals, or on the social reproduction of significant traits of the Ecuadorian way of life. The article combines both of these perspectives, making use of a case study on the celebration of Ecuadorian migrants' external voting in Milan, Italy. A narrative, self-ethnographical analysis of the event is provided, which compares the sending state's public discourse on "migrant rights", and the voters' own representations and expectations. The consequences of their enfranchisement are thus explored. Our fieldwork suggests that the electoral participation of emigrants - in this case at least - is a matter of patriotic self-identification, of communal sociability and of visibility in the public sphere abroad, rather than, in migrants' own perceptions, a lever for the democratic exercise of their own "transnational citizenship".

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