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The Importance of Being Southern: The Making of Policies of Immigration Control in Italy

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The distinction between 'weak' Southern European and 'strong' Northern European migration regimes has often been used to explain the shortcomings of Italian immigration policies. This article challenges such a bipolar perspective, by analyzing Italy's evolution as an immigration country beyond the so-called the 'Southern' regime stereotype. We show that the unsatisfactory outcomes of Italian mechanisms of immigration controls are not necessarily the epiphany of a weak policy apparatus. We argue that they are the result of a much more complex mix of factors shaping Italian immigration policies since the 1980s: unrealistic policy goals, contradictory international pressures, structural internal constraints and fragile party coalitions.

Affiliations: 1: University Institute Ortega y Gasset, Madrid, Spain; 2: Trento University, Trento, Italy


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