Accepted paper:

Second generation youth in rural space: working (im)mobility

Authors:

Johanna Mitterhofer (European Academy Bozen-Bolzano)
Martha Jiménez-Rosano (Istitute for Minority Rights)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how second generation youth in rural South Tyrol (Italy) negotiate their and their families' experiences of mobility in a context that seems to favour immobility, and the effects their (im)mobile presence has on local understandings of (rural) belonging.

Paper long abstract:

In the valleys and villages of South Tyrol, a mountainous province in Northern Italy with a large German-speaking minority, traces of mobility, both ancient and contemporary, are omnipresent: old smuggler paths take tourists across mountains; local policemen are frequently from Southern Italy; school busses shuttle children from remote farms to their classrooms, which they share with schoolmates whose Slovakian or Pakistani parents work in local hotels. In public discourse, however, definitions of "rural" continue to be rooted in discourses about century-old belonging to the land, age-old traditions, and a strict binary of insider versus outsider. Drawing on an ongoing study of second generation youth (2GY) in South Tyrol, this paper explores how 2GY negotiate their and their families' experiences of mobility in a context that seems to favour immobility. What strategies do they adopt to create their own spaces of identity and belonging, which sometimes overlap with "local" categories of belonging but often don't, and which blur the binary of mobility/immobility, insider/outsider, roots/routes (eg. Alba & Nee 1997; Ambrosini & Molina 2004; Crul et. al. 2012; Levitt & Glick Schiller 2004)? We analyse these strategies in a context where they are particularly salient - during 2GY's transition into a labor market where local roots and family ties often matter more than competence. We explore the complex negotiations that go into young people's attempts to find their place as a minority within a minority in rural Europe and the effects their presence has on local understandings of (rural) belonging.

panel P146
Moving from, moving to, moving in the countryside: ethnographic perspectives on rural mobilities [SIEF panel]