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Muslim migration and integration in Italy: social representations in media discourses. Chiara COLOMBO Dipartimento di Psicologia Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca
Introduction The Italian situation The increasing migratory phenomenon; The relevance of migration from Muslim areas: Muslims constitute 33% of the presences (Caritas, 2005); Islam has reached the second place among the most spread religions (Gaarder, 1998).
Objectives and Hypotheses The “approaching style” of migrants and the one of the receiving society interact to define ways, timing and directions of the integration process (Berry, 2005; 2003; 2001); The role of mass-media in forming and representing the most spread opinions; To outline and trace a global picture of the shared representations (Moscovici, 1984) that the Italian press propagates and conveys about the issue of (Muslim) migration; Differences according to the political/cultural tendency of the media.
Method (1/4) Articles collected from 2 magazines Espresso Panorama Articles collected between 23 January 2003 and 31 December 2005 Research for 21 key words grouped into 4 semantic areas (Immigration, Islam, Foreign presences, Integration)
Method The sample: discursive material Final corpus: 378 articles (174 from Espresso and 204 from Panorama) Graph 1: percentage of articles from Espresso and Panorama. (2/4)
Method The sample: discursive material The articles in the considered years are distributed quite in a balanced way: Graph. 2: percentage of articles from Espresso and Panorama according to the publication year. (3/4)
Method (4/4) Thematic categorisation, realised by 2 independent judges; Elementary contexts analysis, and Analysis of Lexical Correspondence, both performed with the support of T-LAB software package (Lancia, 2004), for the integrated application of qualitative/quantitative methodologies for textual analysis
Results Thematic categorisation Identification of 8 macro-categories: Graph 3: percentage of articles according to thematic area.
Thematic categorisation Graph 4: percentage of articles from Espresso and Panorama according to thematic areas. Significant differences (Chi square (7 df): 19, 142; p<. 01): Espresso: religious issues, “signs of integration”; Panorama: political governance, criminality problems, terrorism in reference to the presence of Muslims in the country.
Elementary contexts analysis Cluster 1 ‘Internal political issues’ – contributions from both magazines; Cluster 2: ‘Work and regularisation of immigrants’ – typical discourse of Espresso; Cluster 3 ‘Islam and the West, Islam in the west’ – contributions from both magazines; Cluster 4 ‘Illegal immigration. The problems of illegal landings’ – contributions from both magazines; Cluster 5 ‘Islamic Terrorism in Italy’ – typical discourse of Panorama.
Elementary contexts analysis Cluster 1 ‘Internal political issues’ Espresso principally focuses on theme of safety, also as a “pretext” for criticising the government’s actions: “I think it’s about electoral strategies, which are good for, demonstrating how much the Lega Nord cares about citizens problems and their safety. ” The fresh outbreak of criminal episodes is provoking rifts within the Berlusconi government coalition. Someone feels the need to adopt hard measures. (Espresso, 2004) Panorama instead highlights more explicitly the link between national safety and terrorism and the debate relating to the extension of “non EU citizens” right to vote: Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu intends to present a law by decree on Tuesday to the House of Deputies on the urgent measures studied by the government to raise the defences against terrorism. (Panorama, 2005)
Elementary contexts analysis Cluster 2: ‘Work and regularisation of immigrants’ Espresso emphasizes the difficulties and the living conditions of immigrants. “Verbal dismissal, without notice or a justifying reason”, he says in his accusation. The boy is terrorised because his residency permit expires on 10 November. Renewal is not possible without regular work, as established by the Bossi-Fini law on immigration. The immigrant risks expulsion. (Espresso, 2004) The Bossi-Fini law is harshly criticized for its inefficiency and uselessness and because it has shown itself to be counter productive: This is more or less valid for all of Italy. Also for the North-East (of Italy), which is an orphan of the economic miracle. Two years after the Bossi-Fini law, the verdict on its application hasn’t been convincing. The mechanisms for entry into the workforce don’t work. The residence contract which gives right to a one year permit has engulfed the renewal procedures (…). (Espresso, 2004)
Elementary contexts analysis Cluster 3 ‘Islam and the West, Islam in the west’ Both magazines make a general reflection regarding the current reality of Islam and its evolution due to the contact with the Western world. “The Western world, which has a secular culture, when it looks at Islam it only sees a religion which has been reduced to a pure representation and of empty content. The reality is however different”. What does it mean? “In their daily life, Muslims are experiencing an ever accentuated materialism and therefore they are moving away from their religion”. (Espresso, 2004) A debate on the concept of democracy emerges as well: You have always repeated that “there isn’t a contradiction between Islam and human rights”. “Human rights aren’t Eastern or Western, they don’t belong to Muslims or to Christians, but to all the religions and civilisations. Even democracy has a very clear meaning and doesn’t only belong to the West”. (Espresso, 2004) In order to deal with the Christian religion, those people have created another religion based on earth and on people: democracy. Democracy is a religion in every respect and Muslims can’t accept a religion which isn’t Islam and isn’t Allah » . ( Panorama, 2004)
Elementary contexts analysis Cluster 4 ‘Illegal immigration. The problems of illegal landings ’ Espresso above all considers the difficulties of foreign people and highlights the elements which transmit desperation for the situations and conditions in which the immigrants find themselves. 15 August 1999. Off the Montenegro coast an “old boat” loaded with gypsy families shipwrecks. More than a hundred people seem to have died. 12 December 1999, a life raft full of illegal immigrants sinks in the Otranto Channel. 59 immigrants die. 10 June 2001, 12 illegal Albanian immigrants who were perhaps thrown to sea by the boat captains, die in Trani, in the province of Bari. (Espresso, 2004) Panorama highlights the political debate referring to illegal immigration and links the events of the illegal landings to an organized crime racket: The arrival of barges with illegal immigrants continues from the Libyan coasts towards Lampedusa and Pantelleria. The racket is presumed to have a base in the Libyan capital, the real centre for the sorting of illegal immigrants. Other groups of illegal immigrants, formed by hundreds of legal immigrants, are ready to leave from Libya in order to reach the Sicilian coasts. (Panorama, 2003)
Elementary contexts analysis Cluster 5 ‘Islamic Terrorism in Italy’ Panorama principally focuses its attention on threats and on the risk of terrorist acts in Italy. These are three dates which are at risk of terrorist attempts in Italy, after the Al Qaeda threats. Our intelligence doesn’t signal specific alarms: but certainly the 11 th is a symbol for terrorists; the 14 and 15 are the days in which the ultimatum for the immediate withdrawal from Iraq launched by Osama Bin Laden three month’s ago expires. (Panorama, 2004) Espresso rather concentrates on the reactions, positions and actions assumed by Muslim organizations in Italy: Also the Islamic Cultural Institute of Jenner Avenue in Milan condemned the attacks of London and Sharm el Sheikh. It’s the mosque which in the past was closest to the extremist movements. (Espresso, 2005)
Analysis of Lexical Correspondence Factors 1 & 2 (55, 86% of the total variation)
Analysis of Lexical Correspondence Factor 1: Temporal factor Espresso 2003 Panorama 2003 Espresso 2004 versus ü words regarding political and legislative management of the presence of foreigners: political protagonists, political expressions and juridical aspects; ü issues of belonging and religious identity and of the comparison between different religions, specifically Catholic and Muslim Espresso 2005 Panorama 2004 ü problems connected to criminality, terrorism and safety: armed forces, the semantic area linked to a “terrorist threat” and the one tied to criminality
Analysis of Lexical Correspondence Factor 2: opposition between Espresso and Panorama Espresso 2003 Espresso 2005 Espresso 2004 versus ü words associated to immigrants considered as persons and their rights, their migration experience and the values linked to this vision of the problem; ü words connected to an idea of active and constructive action, with a proposal directed at immigrant people; ü the confrontation between Western culture and Muslim faith. Panorama 2003 Panorama 2005 Panorama 2004 ü words of the debate about a terrorist threat, linked to the presence of Muslim immigrants in Italy; ü the threat of illegal immigration and of criminality; ü a more worrying and “alarmist” language.
Discussion and conclusion Similar agenda setting and partly homogenous themes Differences in the ways of dealing with and discussing specific aspects of the immigration issue. Different languages confirm the existence, even if not excessively marked, of differences between the two magazines, associable to the different political position and to the different portion of population that each of them represents. Panorama: the political management of problems connected to illegal landings of immigrants in Italy; the use of a political, sometimes “threatening”, language connected to immigration and to what this risks to involve: illegality, criminality, terrorism. Espresso: the “human” dimension of the problem, the conditions in which immigrants find themselves, their experiences and difficulties as migrant persons; life stories of migrants as examples of steps towards an integration; words associated to immigrants considered as persons and their rights; the use of an “optimistic” language regarding the role of immigrants in the country, connected to a positive, proposing and constructive dimension of their presence and stay in Italy.
Discussion and conclusion A “work-in-progress”; A focus on the discourses strictly linked to the migration of Muslims; A comparison of specific thematic categories. chiara. [email protected] it