Accepted paper:

Ageing within the diasporas in Italy: elderly Egyptians in Milan


Marta Scaglioni (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca)

Paper short abstract:

Although they are often represented as workers or young families, several Egyptian migrants in Milan decide to spend their old age in Italy. Institutionally and socially fragile, some of them resort to informal care networks within the diaspora itself, posing several challenges to it.

Paper long abstract:

In spite of their initial plans of returning to their home country after a life of work in Italy, a consistent number of Egyptian migrants decide to spend in Italy the last part of their lives, accessing the Italian retirement system. Most of them are located in Northern Italy, with a high concentration in Milan and surroundings. Contrary to the prevalent representation of migrants as professionally active, therefore, increasingly more Egyptians are in need of care and of the welfare system, such as retirement, unemployment, and invalidity subsidies. At the conjuncture with the economic slowdown and with the retrenchment of welfare in Italy, most ageing Egyptian migrants belong to the more vulnerable strata of society, posing several challenges to the informal network of care and care-giving within the diaspora itself. Based on fresh ethnographic material, this contribution aims to unpack local constructions of age, ageing, successful ageing, and care from the emic perspective of the elderly community of Egyptians in Milan, keeping an eye at how these meanings are contextually negotiated during their migration experience. The experiences of these individuals will be intersected with the general legal and institutional framework they are embedded in, and with the points of view of younger generations and care-givers within the Egyptian diaspora itself, with a geographical focus on the city of Milan.

panel Anth18
Old age and migration: an African perspective