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Nicola Montagna

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Labor, Citizenship, and Subjectivity: Migrants’ Struggles within the Italian Crisis

This article contributes to the study of migration and politics in Italy through the analysis of three contentious cycles that took place between 2010 and 2011: the “a day without us” general strike of migrants on March 1, 2010, the occupation by six migrants of a crane in central Brescia for 17 days in November 2010, and the mobilization of seasonal worker migrants in the green district of Manduria in Puglia in summer 2011. These cycles of protest raised a number of issues related to citizenship rights, freedom of circulation in a globalized world, labor exploitation, and the link between migrant workers and hosting societies. Although they were highly localized and had little national coordination, these protests showed the emergence of migrant workers as autonomous political actors and the link between migration citizenship and labor within a growing multiethnic society. The first part of the article looks at the dynamics of migration and the incorporation of migrants in the Italian economy. The second part focuses on the issues raised by migrants and the subjectivities engaged in these cycles of protest, and the organizational structures of protest. These struggles posit migrants as political subjects and their analysis offers a way out of conceiving mobility in terms of coercion or simply as an economically induced phenomenon to look at the autonomy of migration and migrants as political actors.

protest, migrant activism, crisis, social movements, subjectivity, Italy

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 39, No. 1 (2012): 43-61

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