Accepted Paper:

The influence of local administration and policy on the structuring and dynamics of migrants' associationism: Castelfiorentino and migrants from Morocco  


Elisa Gori (University of Siena)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I analyze the relationship between a local administration and the migrants from Morocco for enlightening the influence of the institutional power on the associative dynamics. I also pay attention to the power's asymmetries that have become resources to enlarge the female citizenship.

Paper long abstract:

Usually local administrations encourage associative experiences. On the other hand, such experiences tend to be instrumental to the realization of the policy of inclusion and to the strategies of control operated by institutional power. This may increase inner tensions in the groups, cause the risk that the ties that characterize them break off, and may invalidate the same migrants' representation.

The policy of the studied area strongly tends to consider anyone belonging to a national group as representative of the entire group. At the beginning of the migrant flows from Morocco, the administration chooses a person among the group and he becomes the main informer for the institution (local administration) and he forms a direct communication channel with the administrators and the politicians.

This determines the orientation of the inclusion policy, which leads to the culturalisation of migrant groups and to the development of inner competition for citizenship. In fact, when the national group enlarges, the new comers consider the role of interlocutor as an opportunity (i.e. for work). On the other hand the administration takes advantage of this representative to control and rule the whole group: the administration has to face an increasing hostility of the public opinion towards migrants, so it needs a continuous control on the migrants. The association has been emptied of its functions: the inner competitions and the groups in the community compromise the cohesion and the sharing of objectives.

In this context (i.e. Moroccans), women are excluded from the association, so they look for their own channel of communication with the administration. This happens through a Moroccan woman who is already employed in the local administration as a cultural - linguistic intermediary. The citizenship among the women is promoted through the intermediary that is part of the administration and that works outside the association.

Panel W088
Migrant associations in Europe: simultaneous incorporation, everyday cosmopolitanisms and actually existing citizenship