An italian school? Managing diversity and everyday cosmopolitanisms in the roman primary school Carlo Pisacane
(Sapienza University of Rome)
Paper short abstract:
After being "ethnicized" due to the consistent presence of foreign pupils, the primary school of Rome Carlo Pisacane became a matter of national identity. Nevertheless, the school stuff turned this diversity into an attractive feature and today it is possible to observe it as a cosmopolitan space.
Paper long abstract:
In the Carlo Pisacane primary school, located in the multicultural roman neighborhood of Tor Pignattara, more than the 80 percent of pupils in 2007 were legally foreigners even though the great majority were born in Italy. Although foreign presence in that territory is a structural feature, Pisacane soon became a political affair at national level and this negative social connotation was in fact transformed into a more general issue of national identity. Nevertheless, during the following years, Pisacane has been able to move from a ghetto school into something similar to a cosmopolitan enclave: teachers and parents have succeeded in this operation, in fact, by turning diversity into an attractive feature to the point that from 2013 onwards the number of italian pupils has been increased. In doing my ethnographic fieldwork in 2015, I observed if and how this cultural diversity of the territory was experienced by children, teachers and parents. I therefore propose to rethink to Pisacane as a cosmopolitan space, within which different forms of everyday cosmopolitanisms have the opportunity to grow and develop. In the attempt to eradicate the opposition between being cosmopolitan and being "parochial", the research observes why and how cosmopolitanism can no longer be seen as a phenomenon exclusive to Western elites and globetrotters. Despite some problematic issues, among the children this naturalization of the difference is experienced thanks to the support of teachers and parents, who try to go beyond the national feelings of belonging with the aim of shaping post-national identities.
Cosmopolitan enclaves: tensions and paradoxes