Accepted Paper:

Italian migrants to Morocco and the French influence: negotiating post-colonanial mobilities  


Maria Giovanna Cassa (University of Brescia)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses the first findings of a research conducted in Morocco with Italian migrants today. It will present ethnographical case studies highlighting personal and symbolic relationships between Italian French and Moroccans. Ideas of a good life, power and mobility will be central to the discussion.

Paper long abstract:

Italy wasn't a Morocco ex-colonizer nevertheless there was a large Italian community in the first half of the twentieth century. The history of the Italian presence in Morocco will be shortly discussed in order to better understand the present situation. Reflecting on Italian migrants in Morocco will underline how the high French presence has a role in shaping lives and imaginaries, not only for the ex-colonised but also for other subjects such as the expatriates and sun-Saharan migrants. "French culture and community" (using an emic perspective) are indeed symbolic landmarks in many ways. Both Italian and French migrants belong to a social elite able to shape models of development and behaviour. The ethnographic cases discussed will mostly be Italian families with adolescent children. They live a high-class life and share experiences in school with young Moroccans from elite families who hold local power and with the French and other expatriates. Analysing the experience of Italians and their cultural references makes it possible to highlight continuities and discontinuities in the colonial influence from a decentralised point of view. How the school system influences students' ideas about future, mobility and power and how it changes their way of dwelling will be presented. Family and student mobility in the city as well as other family decisions often depend on the school organization. The processes described also enriches understanding of the political meaning of claiming (or not) citizenship rights by transnational subjects as well as the emergence of a generation experimenting with multiple emplacements.

Panel P048
Moving beyond the colonial? North-South mobility, power and post-colonial encounters [ANTHROMOB]