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Maria Teresa Cappiali

Maria Teresa Cappiali
 

Dissertation

Activism and participation among people of migrant background: Discourses and practices of inclusiveness in four Italian cities

As more interest in the processes of integration of immigrants and ethnic minorities grows amongst European scholars, the factors that account for differences in forms of civic and political participation need to be examined more in detail. Building on the literature on migration, this study addresses the following research question: What accounts for differences in forms of civic and political participation by activists of migrant background at the local level?

I argue that in order to understand differences in participation, it is important to go beyond an exclusive consideration of the state and institutional actors, to look at both institutional and non-institutional actors, and to examine how, through their interaction, they shape opportunities and constraints for participation. My thesis investigates both conventional and non-conventional channels in four Italian cities and considers immigrant activists as relevant political actors, who are able to mobilize and shape participation through their interaction and alliances with the organizations of the receiving society.

This research upgrades three main hypotheses present in the literature. The first finding is that approaches to integration adopted by local actors matter. This study identified three main approaches to integration: 1) Assistance, based on the idea that immigrants are in need and thus focuses on the promotion of delivery of services and advocacy; 2) Intercultural, founded on the idea that immigrants are would-be citizens and that integration is reciprocal; and 3) Political rights promotion, which focuses on the idea that immigrants are entitled to basic political rights, and thus encourages the opening of channels of participation to immigrants who are denied local voting rights. The empirical analysis shows that while the assistance approach does not encourage participation because it conceives immigrants as passive subjects, the other two approaches encourage civic and political participation respectively. Second, this study demonstrates that left-wing actors matter. It shows that the actors who contribute to opening channels for participation are not only moderate and institutional left-wing actors, such as local authorities, main political parties, and trade unions, but also radical and non-institutional left-wing organizations. Left-wing actors interpret and act differently with respect to immigration and participation and this affects how immigrant activists mobilize. Third, this study underlines the role of perception of the opportunities for participation and shows how activists of migrant background appropriate the discourses and practices of left-wing actors. It documents how immigrant activists respond to the opportunities offered by other actors and how they contribute to the opening of channels for participation by creating alliances with the left-wing organizations and by challenging the discourses and practices of local actors.

Current Activities

since 2016
Postdoctoral Fellow, Collegio Carlo Alberto, Turin, Italy (Department of Politics and Sociology)

Current Projects

Articles for Peer-Reviewed Journals

Challenges and Opportunities for Immigrant Workers Organizing in the Globalized Economy: Case Studies from Italy and Spain (accepted for the Special Issue of ILR Review, The Impact of Immigrant Legalization Initiatives: International Perspective).

Challenges and Opportunities for Immigrant Workers Organizing in the Globalized Economy: A New Theoretical Framework (will be submitted to the Journal Citizenship Studies).

Theorizing Immigrant Political Participation in European Cities: Lessons From Italy and Spain (with Juan Carlos Triviño Salazar from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain).

Chapters for Book Collections (invited)

Immigration Challenges and Responses: The Role of the State and Left-Wing Political Actors, Book Title: Italy and the Crises (eds. Emanuele Evangelista and Sidney Tarrow).

Civil society organizations between inclusion and exclusion: What role in managing migration and diversity?, Handbook Title: Cities of Migration (eds. Tiziana Caponio, Ricard Zapata Barrero and Peter Scholten, Palgrave Macmillan).


Research and Teaching Interests

International migration and immigrant incorporation; Politics of migration; racial and ethnic politics; social movement theories and immigration; post-colonialist theories and racialization; qualitative research.

Education

Spring 2016
Cornell University, Ithaca, USA
Mario Einuadi’s Center of International Studies
Fall 2015
Cornell University, Ithaca, USA
Department of Government
Academic Host: Michael Jones-Correa
2010 - 2015
Ph.D., Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada
Department of Political Science
Ph.D. dissertation defended on October 14, 2015, Succeeded with distinction
Title: Activism and Participation Among People of Migrant
Background: Discourses and Practices of Inclusiveness in Four Italian Cities (English)
Dissertation committee: Jane Jenson and Pascale Dufour; External Examiner: Marco Martinello (University of Liège)
2013-2015
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
Visiting Scholar, Munk School of Global Affairs, Centre of Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies
Academic liaison: Jeffrey Reitz
Oct. 2013/ Apr.-July 2014
European University Institute, Florence, Italy: Visiting Researcher, Department of Social and Political Science, Academic liaison: Donatella della Porta
2007 - 2009
MA, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy
Department of Political Philosophy
Grades 110-110 with distinction
2004-2007
B.A., University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
Department of Political Philosophy
Grades 110-110 with distinction

Work Experience

Winter 2016
Invited Lecturer on Sociology of Migration
University of Turin, Turin, Italy
Department of Culture, Politics, and Society, Undergraduate and Graduate courses (English)
June-Nov. 2016
Consultant for European Vision 2016 on the Refugee Crisis, Appointed by Compagnia San Paolo
Working Group 1: “From conflict to equilibrium: the construction of a common ground for a social and political consensus on migration”
March 2015
Invited Lecturer on International Migration and Development
York University, Toronto, Canada
Department of Social Science, Undergraduate course (English)
Fall 2011 / Fall 2012
Teaching Assistant, Research Methods in Political Science, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada, Department of Political Science, Undergraduate course (French)

Awards and Fellowships

2013-2015
International Research Training Group (IRTG): “Diversity.” Doctoral fellowship.
2013-2014
Université de Montréal, Faculté des Études Postdoctorales (FESP). Doctoral fellowship.
2011-2014
Université de Montréal, Department of Political Science. Doctoral fellowship.
2011-2013
Programma Master and Back—Alta Formazione 2010 (Program Master and Back—High-quality Education 2010). Agency of Labor of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia, Italy. Doctoral fellowship.

Publications

under review
Taking Stock of A Day Without Us: A Study of the 2010 Migrant Strike in Italy (recently submitted to the Journal Social Forces).
2016
Book review of "Becoming Arab in London: Performativity and the Undoing of Identity" by Ramy M. K. Aly, Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (September 2016).
2016
‘Whoever Decides for You Without You, He is Against You!’ Immigrant Activism and the Role of the Left in Political Racialization, Ethnic and Racial Studies.
2016
Activism of Immigrants in Vulnerable Conditions and Alliances With Radical Left Organizations. A Case Study of Italy’s Struggle of the Crane. In: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2016.1169917.
2016
(co-authored with Tiziana Caponio) From conflict to equilibrium: The construction of a common ground for a social and political consensus on migration, paper written for European Vision 2016, 15 July 2016.
2016
Beyond the Political Opportunity Structure Approach: Studying Agency Through the ‘Local Realm of Immigration’. In: Ursula Lehmkuhl/Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink/Laurence McFalls (eds.), Spaces of Difference: Conflicts and Cohabitation. Münster: Waxmann, 125-151.
2015
Immigrant Activism and the Role of Left-Wing Allies in Exclusion, Working Papers, Carlo Alberto Notebooks, No. 443, December 2015, ISSN 2279-9362.
2013
How Can Migrants Be Subjects of Their Own Political ‘Integration’? Discourses and Practices of Immigrants Participating in the Italian Left, Robert Schuman Center, European University Institute, Florence, Italy, October 13, 2013. http://www.eui.eu/Documents/RSCAS/Research/MWG/201314/23Oct-MariaTeresaCAPPIALI.pdf

Conference Presentations

2016
Theorizing Immigrant Political Participation in European Cities: Lessons From Italy and Spain” (with Juan Carlos Triviño Salazar from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain). ECPR General Conference, September 7-10, Prague, Czech Republic.
“Local Actors Between Inclusion and Exclusion: What Approaches to Managing Migration and Diversity?” 2016 IMISCOE Conference. Invited at the Workshop ‘Cities of Migration’ for the homonymous handbook collection, June 30-July 2, Prague, Czech Republic.
"Immigrant Workers Organizing in the Globalized Economy in Times of Crisis.” The 2016 CSA (Canadian Sociological Association)- SCS Annual Conference, May 30- June 2, Calgary, Canada.
2015
"‘Whatever You Do For Me Without Me, You Do it Against Me!’ First- and Second-Generation Migrants Challenging the Italian Left.” Council for European Studies, 22nd International Conference of Europeanists, July 8-10, Paris, France.
“The Neo-Assimilationist Turn and the Role of Local Stakeholders in Protecting Migrants’ Basic Rights.” Council for European Studies, 22nd International Conference of Europeanists, July 8-10, Paris, France.
“‘Acteurs locaux et participation politique des immigrants: le rôle de la gauche dans le development des pratiques d’exclusion et d’inclusion en Europe.” Université de Montréal, April 23, Montreal, Canada.
“The Role of Radical Allies for Collective Mobilization by Migrants in Vulnerable Conditions. A Case Study of Italy.” University of Toronto, 8th Annual Ethnic and Pluralism Gradual Research Conference, January 29-30,Toronto, Canada.
2014
“The Role of Local Stakeholders in Protecting Migrants’ Basic Rights: Lessons From Southern Europe.” University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs, Centre of Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies, October 27, Toronto, Canada.
"Rethinking the political opportunity structure approach: The role of political mobilization by people of foreign origin"International Conference „Spaces of Difference: Conflicts and Cohabitation/ Espaces des Différences: Luttes et Partages/ Räume der Differenz: Konflikte und Formen der Kohabitation“, Sep. 13. – Sep. 14., Université de Montréal (UdeM), Montréal, Canada.
“Migrants Engaging with Logics of Inclusion and Identity Regulation within Unions. The Case Study of an Italian Trade Union through a Perspective of Institutional Work.” (With Matteo Rinaldini, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia). HEC Montréal, The CRIMT International Conference “The New Frontiers for Citizenship at Work,” May 12-14, Montreal, Canada.
“Models of Incorporation, Political Opportunity Structure, and People of Foreign Origin’s Civic and Political Participation at the Local Level: A Comparison of Four Cities in Northern Italy.” The 2014 Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Conference, April 3-6, Chicago, USA.
“Exploring Diverging Patterns of Civic and Political Participation of People of Foreign Origin at the Local Level: A Comparison of two “Red” and Two “White” Cities in Northern Italy.” University of Toronto, 7th Annual Ethnic and Pluralism Graduate Conference, January 30-31, Toronto, Canada.
2013
“How Can Migrants Be Subjects of Their Political ‘Integration’? Critical Redefinition of Inclusiveness by Migrants Participating in the Italian Left.” European University Institute. Migration Working Group at the Robert Schuman Center, October 23, Florence, Italy.
“How Do Migrants Define Political ‘Integration’? Critical Redefinition of Inclusiveness by Migrants Participating in the Italian Left.” European University Institute, Summer school COSMOS (Center of Social Movements Studies) “On Methods for the Study of Political Participation and Mobilization,” September 16-27, Florence, Italy.
“How do People of Foreign Origin Engage with the Local Political Opportunity Structure? Comparing Discourses and Practices of Inclusiveness in Four Italian Cities.” 10th Annual Conference of the International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion in Europe-IMISCOE Research Network, University of Malmö, August 26-27, Malmö, Sweden.
 
 
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