Good Families, Good Tenants, Good Homes. Cohabitations, Housing Standards and Immigration Controls in Italy.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:25
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Paola BONIZZONI, University of Milan, Italy
The paper aims to explore how immigration controls increasingly extend into the private realm of the family and the home, through the superimposition of specific conceptions of “good” homes and “proper” family life vehiculated by national and local regulations, meant as critical devices mediating access to civic membership and the rights that follow.  A first kind of controls explored in the paper aims at regulating membership rights claimed on the grounds of family belonging. Efforts to distinguish “true” families from the “sham” trigger intrusions into the private sphere of the home aimed at verifying the effectiveness of kin cohabitation, seen as the essential condition of a “proper” family life. A second kind of controls concerns instead proofs of adequate housing for regulating immigrants’ and their relatives’ access to civic membership on the grounds of integration performance. In this respect, housing standards play a critical role in mediating crucial status transitions (such as legalization or access to long-term residency) also making migrants’ access to fundamental human rights (such as the right to family life) increasingly stratified in terms of social class. The proposed research, focused on the Italian context (and, especially, on Northern Italy), combines an analysis of immigration regulations with interviews with migrants, experts and privileged observers.