Love in a time of Globalization: intimate relationships as practices of everyday multiculturalism , 3-4 June 2019, Padua (Italy)

‘Migration and Migrant’ seminar at the University of Padua

Padua (Italy). 3-4 June 2019

WORKING PAPER ‘Love at the time of Globalization: intimate relationships as practices of everyday multiculturalism’
One of the most profound effects of globalization is that people from everywhere are falling in love with people from everywhere else. Increasing migration worldwide has facilitated the unions of people from different countries, religions, ethnicities and, presumably, cultural backgrounds. Such unions are often celebrated as a sign of integration; however, the classic assimilation theory no longer suffice in tackling the growth of large cities, which are witnessing unprecedented levels of diversity. We know little, therefore, about what happens the next generation down: the romantic relationships among young people in super-diverse urban contexts.
Drawing on narratives collected from a qualitative research study, this paper provides a beginning exploration for how difference both matters and does not matter in young adult (native born) Italians’ relationships with the second generation migrants in the metropolitan area of Milan. What meaning is made about these differences? And what is the role of the network, the extended family, the neighborhood, and others in constructing difference? In eliciting discourses of difference, mixed couples face more prejudice from outsiders, and subsequently they may feel that the experience of diversity is a source of great stress. Particularly from their parents, tensions and negative reactions are based on discriminatory attitudes and preconceptions linked to the partner’s origin, phenotype or ethnocultural characteristics, such as religion, in intersection with gender. At the same time these relationships represent a ‘quiet revolution’ that holds for re-envisioning people’s idea of ‘us and them’, challenging what it means to inhabit multiculturalism in our everyday lives.
Intercultural Relationships, Everyday Multiculturalism, Second Generation Migrants, Young Adults, Integration, Milan
Lidia MANZO,
Department of Social and Political Sciences, University of Milan (Italy)
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