“No Pizza without Migrants”: Between the Politics of Identity and Transnationalism
Why are there such different patterns of identity and community formation among second-generation migrants? A transnational perspective with focus on the migrants' relationship to their (or their parents') homeland is neccessary, argues anthropologist Susanne Wessendorf in her paper "No Pizza without Migrants: Between the Politics of Identity and Transnationalism: Second-Generation Italians in Switzerland":
"Politics of identity, transnationalism and integration should not be regarded as mutually exclusive, but as complementary strategies or reactions of migrants to the challenges of and tensions between mobility and settlement"
Wessendorf has among others studied Italian migrants in Switzerland and their political Secondo movement that fights against the negative image ascribed to them (They designed and sold T-Shirts as a way to communicate their pride in being members of the second generation, and to show that even if you do not look like a foreigner, you might well be of immigrant origin).
Wessendorf critizes concepts which describe fragmented second-generation integration as simply ‘bicultural’, moving ‘between two cultures’:
"But these new spaces can neither simply be called ‘transnational social spaces’, she writes: They are clearly embedded in the political, economic and socio-cultural realities of the nation-state in which they emerge. Rather, they are counter-hegemonic attempts to deal with both a national legal system and, sometimes, the nostalgia for the homeland."
PS: This one of the Working Papers of the Center of Migration, Policy and Society at the University of Oxford