In the city of Milan, Italy, via Padova and Sarpi-Canonica are two neighbourhoods were cultural diversity became visible and caused concern in the local political and media debate. Via Padova, a working-class area with one of the highest share of immigrant residents, has been subject to a stigmatization process after clashes between groups put a strain on in it in 2009. Sarpi-Canonica – simplisticly defined as the Chinatown of Milan – is a middle-class neighbourhood which saw the growth of Chinese wholesale; after conflicts raised over the functions of the neighbourhood, a renovation project was started. Drawing from these two cases, in this paper we explore the discourse about diversity and mixed communities according to neighbourhood and city key informants: the representations provided by policy-makers and social partners are insightful on the Italian discourse about the “ideal” model of interaction and living together between diverse residents. A quite shared integrationist/intercultural approach shows that diversity is accepted but not encouraged, while pluralism should be tempered by an attention to social cohesion and minority specificity should blend into the majority. So, social faults are seen as due a) on the one hand, to an inadequate diversity management by public institutions; b) in a more blaming way, to the (self-)isolation of some minorities. Drawing from interviews, policy documents, and literature, we will show how the fear for ghettoisation is related to the ethnicisation of public space: a visible and “separated” diversity is somehow considered more dangerous than socio-economic inequality, and this grounds local policies and initiatives that may compress diversity.

Original document

The different versions of the original document can be found in:

http://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.15660 under the license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0
Back to Top

Document information

Published on 01/01/2014

Volume 2014, 2014
DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.15660
Licence: Other

Document Score


Views 2
Recommendations 0

Share this document

claim authorship

Are you one of the authors of this document?