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Accepted Paper:

Between global desires and local (im)possibilities: the migration from Sri Lanka to Italy   
Luca Bacciocchi (Verona University (Italy))

Paper short abstract:

This paper is concerned with migration between Sri Lanka and Italy, and underlines the effects of the contradictions between global desires and local (im)possibilities in Sri Lanka. One of these effects is the increasing desire to migrate to Italy, which has become a dream land for many Sri Lankans.

Paper long abstract:

This paper is concerned with migration between Sri Lanka and Italy, which has been taking place over the last 30 years. This paper is the outcome of multi-situated ethnographic research.

In some Sri Lankan cities of the western coast, people live embedded in a social space (Bourdieu, 1980) where the dynamics of the global economy and global flows of meanings and imaginaries (Appadurai, 1996) have created a gap between global desires, which envisage higher standards of living and consumption, represented as "modern life", and local possibilities, which make global desires impossible to realize locally because of the fragility of the local economy.

In Sri Lanka, migration has introduced socio-economic inequalities between migrants and non-migrants. Here, a socialization process transforms Italy for Sri Lankan citizens into a dream land, where people think it will be possible to improve their lives and return to Sri Lanka with new riches.

Panel W036
Aspiring migrants, local crises, and the imagination of futures 'away from home'
  Session 1