Love in a time of Globalization (2018-2020)

Love in a time of Globalization: affective relationships as everyday multiculturalism practices (2018-20) is a qualitative project led by urban/cultural researcher Dr Lidia Katia C. Manzo (grant holder) and supervised by cultural sociologist Professor Enzo Colombo. The project is hosted at the Department of Social and Political Sciences of Milan University and funded by the ALSOS Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme (Migration and Migrants in Italy research program).

#GlobalizationOfLove  #InterculturalLove   #MixedCouple   #GlobalCitizen


Aims of the research

This research examines how romantic relationships between native majorities and second-generation minorities are experienced and performed among young adults in urban areas of super-diversity, by taking Milan as a case study.
After a long experience of emigration, since the end of the 1970’s Italy has become a country of immigration. Initially, attention to this new phenomenon focused on the factors that have given rise to migration, on the process of settling the new migrants, and on their different origins and motivations. Once the new phenomenon had been “discovered”, attention shifted to include the so-called “second generations,” with studies geared toward the behavior, forms of identification and future projects of these subjects. In light of the structural nature assumed by cultural diversity in the context of growing globalization, this research – although important – is in need of further refinement. This new approach does not merely involve looking at the characteristics of an alleged “foreign otherness” that has to be integrated into the social fabric of the host countries, but rather takes into account the functioning of social relations in societies whose structures are increasingly characterized by super-diversity (Vertovec 2007) or hyper-diversity (Tasan-Kok et al. 2009).
The project is situated in the latter perspective: it aims to analyze the romantic relationships of young adults (ages 18-34), focusing on the relationships of couples made up of one member with a migrant family background and the other with a “native” family background. The research adopts the perspective of daily multiculturalism (Colombo 2006; Wise, Velayutham 2009) in that it considers cultural difference not as a “datum” but as a “political” resource that subjects can use in their daily relationships to define situations, establish borders, favor relationships or create forms of exclusion and isolation.
The study intends to examine how the relevance assumed by cultural difference in globalized urban contexts comes to form part of more personal and intimate practices, acting as both an obstacle and a resource for defining individual lives, networks of relationships, future projects and ways of interpreting present and past biographies.
Read the research information sheet


Publications and Outcomes

Manzo, L.K.C. 2021. «If you break up with your family over love, you break up with everyone!». Intercultural couples and their «chosen» networks of support in Italy“, in Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa, 2, pp. 321-345. DOI: 10.3240/101574
Colombo, E., Manzo, L.K.C. 2021. “Moglie e buoi… da dove vuoi!. Rappresentazioni giovanili dell’amore interculturale” (in Italian), in Polis, 2, pp. 183-208. DOI: 10.1424/101335
Manzo L.K.C. 2020. “Love in a Diverse City,” in The Sociological Review, online,
Manzo, L.K.C. 2020. “Album di famiglia. Pratiche della memoria e forme di presentazione della coppia interculturale” (in Italian), in Ascari, P. (ed.), Oggetti contesi. Le cose nella migrazione, Milano: Mimesis “Eterotopie”. ISBN: 9788857568607
Policy brief 1 – January 2020


Dissemination activities

2021, Podcast on mixed couples in Italy for Sulla Razza produced by Juventus social inclusion and anti-discrimination policies on Spotify, Apple-podcasts and Google-podcasts.
12 June 2020, Instagram live: “Mixed couples in Milan”, interview by Nadeesha Uyangoda
25 May 2020, Milan: Innamorarsi a Milano – Amori sconfinati (Falling in love in Milan – Love without boundaries), public event organized by City of Milan (Servizio Reti e Cooperazione Culturale) within the cultural program “Milano Città Mondo #05” at Spazio delle Culture “Khaled ed-Asaad”.
21 February 2020, Milan: L’amore straniero. Rappresentazione delle relazioni affettive tra i giovani a Milano, working paper presentation for the Everyday Life section of the Italian Sociological Association.
12 December 2019, Ferrara: Ethnographic Accounts of Personal Networks, panel session organization for SIAA (Italian Society for Applied Anthropology) VII annual meeting.
27 November 2019, Bologna: Pratiche dell’abitare come politiche quotidiane, working paper presentation to the ‘Abitare il transito: gli spazi dei migranti’ seminar organized by Alsos Foundation.
19 November 2019, Lecco: Siamo nati per migrare, public seminar with the participation of 250 high school students, co-organized with the departments of Pedagogy and Psychology of the University of Milano-Bicocca hosted by Lecco Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  
21 October 2019, Bologna: The boundaries of intercultural love, working paper presented for the Centro Mobilità Diversità Inclusione sociale (MODI) seminar series at the University of Bologna.
3-4 June 2019, Padua: Love at the time of Globalization: intimate relationships as practices of everyday multiculturalism, working paper presented for the ‘Migration and Migrant’ seminar at the University of Padua.
15-18 May 2019, Galway (Ireland) Being in Love at the Time of Globalization: Exploring Diversity in Intercultural Relationships among Young Adults in the Italian Context, 7th EUGEO Congress.
January-March 2019, Milan: The analysis of everyday multiculturalism, workshop tought at the University of Milan for the International BA in Social Sciences for Globalization (20 hours).


Supported by

  • Assessorato del Comune di Milano alle Politiche Sociali, Salute e Diritti,
  • Delegata del Sindaco di Milano per le Pari opportunità, Daria Colombo,
  • Assessore del Comune di Lecco alle Politiche Sociali, Casa e Lavoro, Riccardo Mariani,
  • Consultori Familiari Integrati (CFI) della ATS Milano città metropolitana di Corvetto e Pioltello,
  • Istituti di Secondo grado di competenza dell’Ufficio Scolastico Regionale per la Lombardia a Desio, Lecco, Lissone e Merate.
  • Associazioni e organizzazioni non-profit territoriali: Centro Servizi per il Volontariato (CSV), Caritas, Arci Todo Cambia, Libera, Laboratorio Mazzini del quartiere Corvetto, Associazione Sunugal, Casa per la Pace Milano,
  • Associazione “Lezioni al campo”, il Comitato “Noi tutti Migranti”, il Consorzio cooperative sociali Consolida, il Comitato provinciale ANPI di Lecco, l’Associazione Volontari Caritas Lecco, la Camera di Commercio Como – Lecco.


Latest from the Blog:

Love in a Diverse City – April 27, 2020
CFP: LOVE IN THE DIVERSE CITY – ISA RC21 conference “Shaping & Sensing the city”
10th Summer Course Personal Networks, (UAB) Barcelona, July 1-5, 2019 (Spain)
CURA Urban Methodologies Summer School, (De Montfort University) Leicester, 12-13 June, 2019 (UK)


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