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Accepted Paper:

Reproducing citizens, remaking social solidarity in Italy  
Milena Marchesi (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Paper short abstract:

Over the past two decades, Italy’s welfare model has been transformed, while concerns over birth rates and immigration persist. Through analysis of three government documents on welfare, integration and reproduction, I show the centrality of the family in the remaking of citizenship.

Paper long abstract:

Over the past two decades, Italy's social welfare model has been transformed by the neoliberal requirements of European integration and by austerity measures. These changes intersect and resonate with concerns over persistently low birth rates, intensifying (bio)political battles over reproduction, and a diversifying citizenry driven by immigration.

The bases of social solidarity and citizenship in Italy, as elsewhere in the New Europe, are being redefined through these debates. Informed by ethnographic research conducted in Milan in 2007 with feminist and migrant activists, healthcare providers, and cultural mediators, I trace these debates through three government documents: 1) "The White Paper on the Future of the Social Model: The Good Life in the Active Society" (2009), which introduces a new model of welfare in which the normative family plays a key role in fostering social solidarity; 2) "The Charter of Values of Citizenship and Integration" (2007), which argues that monogamous heterosexual marriage is the basis of gender equality and a core European value; and 3) the Italian Minister of Health's "National Plan for Fertility" (2015), which identifies low birth rates as a threat to social welfare and calls upon parents, pediatricians, and teachers to educate children about their health and sexuality, with the aim of protecting their future fertility. Through analysis of these official moments of articulation of values related to welfare, integration and reproduction, I show that the family emerges as a key political subject in the remaking of citizenship in Italy.

Panel P115
Raising Europe: managing parents and the production of good citizens
  Session 1