Accepted Paper:

'Intermundia 2006': political uses of a multicultural festa in Rome   

Author:

Pierluigi Taffon (University of Naples L'Orientale)

Paper short abstract:

Piazza Vittorio, crossroads of migrant communities, is a contested space in Rome. The City Council organises the Intermundia festival to encourage intercultural dialogue. This paper scrutinises political strategies that emerge from the interaction between multicultural politics and performance of culture.

Paper long abstract:

Based on research carried out in Rome, Piazza Vittorio, in the month of May 2006, my paper aims at revealing the implicit and explicit political strategies that emerge from the interactions between the local government's multicultural politics and the performances of various non-profit organizations and city schools.

Piazza Vittorio is a highly contested and embattled space in Rome: For the past two decades, the square has been the crossroads of different migrant communities which happened to settle down in the city. This heterogeneous presence has completely changed the appearance of the whole area. Many immigrants, who decided to settle there, set up various shops, restaurants and stalls in the local street market and in the square itself. In the meantime, the square has also become the stage for political claims directed to the local and national government. In this context the Council Department for Education has chosen to organize a multicultural Festa called Intermundia, specifically directed at encouraging the intercultural dialogue between different communities and Roman citizens through the exhibitions of non-profit associations and schools.

In this six day Festa, migrants, far from being the actors of the various performances, have in most cases become a symbolic object: Using the rhetorics of multiculturalism, the council has taken possession of this object to convey a specific representation of its political strategies towards migrants. This dynamic has been even clearer in this year's edition because the Festa took place one week before the local elections.

Panel W037
Investigating the city spectacle in a globalising world