Multiculturalism Policies in Contemporary Democracies

Multiculturalism Policies

in Contemporary Democracies

Multiculturalism Policies

in Contemporary Democracies

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Italy

flag of Italy
   
TOTAL SCORES
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 1.5 1.5 1.5

 

1. CONSTITUTIONAL, LEGISLATIVE OR PARLIAMENTARY AFFIRMATION OF MULTICULTURALISM AT THE CENTRAL AND/OR REGIONAL AND MUNICIPAL LEVELS AND THE EXISTENCE OF A GOVERNMENT MINISTRY, SECRETARIAT OR ADVISORY BOARD TO IMPLEMENT THIS POLICY IN CONSULTATION WITH ETHNIC COMMUNITIES

    No.

   
Affirmation Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Italy passed its first immigration legislation in 1986 (Law 943/1986), which outlined the guidelines for entry of labour migrants and provided the country’s first regularization of illegal immigrants (Chaloff 2005). In 1990, the government hosted a conference on immigration, which brought together various stakeholders, including anti-racism and civil society organizations. Law 40, a framework law on immigration, which was passed in 1998, set up the country’s three-pillar approach to migration. These pillars, which remained in effectthrough various governments, include (a) curbing illegal migration, (b) regulating legal migration, and (c) integrating immigrants (Chaloff 2005). Although the three pillars mention integration, this is understood in Italy to refer primarily to economic integration.
  • In 2002, a new immigration law (Law 189/2002) was adopted to increase border controls, make naturalization more difficult, provide for easier expulsion, and introduce additional restrictions to the immigration regime (Bodo and Bodo 2010).
  • When a centre-left coalition was elected in 2006, plans were introduced to ease some restrictions and make access to citizenship easier, but when a right-wing coalition government was elected in 2008, these plans were discarded, and measures were once again hardened particularly with respect to illegal migration (Bodo and Bodo 2010). While immigrants are given access to public services, policy reforms in 2009 made it more difficult for even legal migrants to access these (Ibid.).
  • Chaloff (2005, 5) argues that Italy’s “migration policy is based on limiting migration into the country to meet specific labour demands and fill particular positions”; there is also a heavy emphasis on curbing irregular migration. Chaloff (2005) emphasizes that Italy is not a multicultural country and that social integration is deemed to have occurred so long as immigrants have jobs and the same access topublic services that native-born Italians enjoy. Where integration initiatives exist, these tend to focus almost exclusively on employment. As Caponio (2013, 227) argues, when it came to integration policies, “immigrants’ different cultural backgrounds were treated as of subordinate relevance in the making of Italian society.” 
  • Bodo and Bodo (2010, 22) argue that “migrant communities’ fundamental right to culture and freedom of expression, which is enshrined in the constitution, has not yet been recognized and explicitly promoted by the state administration.”
  • Still, there are some examples of regions and municipalities working to involve minority communities. In Tuscany, for example, several “intercultural centres” have opened, and legislation has been passed to recognize interculturalism. Some cities have also appointed consultative bodies or special councillors that promote immigrants’ civic integration or ethnic, religious, and cultural pluralism. In Bologna, for example, there is a Foreign Citizens Council where a non-EU electorate is able to vote for representatives on a consultative council to make policy recommendations on local matters. However, the local government is not obligated to consider such recommendations and it remains a strictly consultative body (Mutwarasibo 2012; Sredanovic 2013). As Hill et al. (2016, 228) convey, “lip service is paid to the language of integration, but it is not backed up by developments on the ground.”
  • Moreover, in municipalities where multicultural policies have been established, the focus tends to be on interculturalism or absorbing immigrant and minority communities into existing structures; there is little in the way of actual empowerment (see also Kosic and Triandafyllidou 2005). Indeed, Caponio (2013) notes that in the mid-1990s, there were some municipalities that specifically acknowledged and engaged with immigrant groups, but by the early-2000s reverted to more generic intercultural programs or policies. The focus on cultural recognition at the local level was largely borne out in improving local service delivery rather than empowering minorities; as a result, she suggests that “a sort of ‘multiculturalism of convenience’ is emerging, since cultural difference is acknowledged when deemed necessary and useful for the regular functioning of services, but avoided when it poses electoral dangers to political actors” (Caponio 2013, 230). 
  • With respect to the inclusion of ethnic communities in policy development, Chaloff (2005, 19) notes that “immigrants themselves are virtually excluded.” While various civil society organizations, including employers’ associations, trade unions, and religious groups are included in consultations, Chaloff suggests that the attitude towards immigrants is paternalistic, and they are rarely represented in policy circles.
  • Hill et al. (2016) also suggest that NGOs and the voluntary sector have taken on much of the work regarding migrants’ integration, and “continue to substitute for a strong state in this field” (228), especially over the past decade amidst the migration crisis.

 

2. THE ADOPTION OF MULTICULTURALISM IN SCHOOL CURRICULUM

    Few programs, and those that exist tend to focus on “interculturalism” rather than multiculturalism per se.

   
School Curriculum Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0.5 0.5 0.5

Evidence:

  • Responsibility for school curriculum is quite decentralized, and there is thus significant variation. At the national level, there has been little attention given to immigrant students, save for a period in the mid-1990s, when the Ministry of Instruction issued a “series of high-minded and vague documents outlining an official multicultural policy” (Chaloff 2005, 6). These were subsumed under Ministerial Memorandum 73/1994, which was entitled “Intercultural dialogue and democratic coexistence: The planning engagement of the school.” The memo set out several principles, including the notion that “intercultural education should be considered as the pedagogical answer to cultural pluralism…; it must concern all students; it has to do more with the development of relational skills and dialogic identities than with the teaching of specific topics; it implies a less Euro-centric approach to school subjects, as well as the safeguard of minority languages and cultures” (Bodo and Bodo 2010, 62).
  • Nonetheless, this had little effect, with research suggesting that schools have difficulty integrating respect for diversity into their programming, and the Ministry of Instruction, University and Research’s education reforms making “no mention of immigrants” (Chaloff 2005, 7).
  • Further, Bodo and Bodo (2010) note that while schools are able to set their own curriculum, very few of them have adopted the principles outlined in the 1994 memorandum. Not only that, but since the memorandum was issued, there has been a “legislative gap,” with little policy activity occurring in this area in the ensuing years. As Bussotti (2017, 53) aptly sums up, “voluntarism and a lack of political guidance characterized the Italian education system’s transition toward a multicultural approach.” 
  • In 2004, the Ministry of Education created a Unit for the Integration of Foreign Students, but there was no mention of multiculturalism, and the government simultaneously cut funding to tutors, cultural and linguistic mediators and “learning facilitators” who were active in schools and classrooms (Bodo and Bodo 2010).
  • In 2006, the Ministry of Education issued a new Ministerial Memorandum entitled “Guidelines for the first reception and integration of foreign students” as well as a “Policy framework document for the integration of foreign students and intercultural education.” Then, in 2007, it issued additional guidelines, entitled “The Italian way for an intercultural school and the integration of foreign students.” This latter document refers (as the 1994 memorandum did) to intercultural education as the “integrating background” (i.e., a guiding principle or foundation) necessary in an increasingly plural society. These programs have sought to integrate foreign students while still allowing them to maintain their cultural differences. Intercultural interaction is emphasized in the guidelines, and schools have begun to offer intercultural education programs, but these programs vary widely.
  • When it comes to education policy, interculturalism “has gradually become a vague general term, used to define a vast range of initiatives, all differing in their motivations, intentions and results” (Armellei 2015). Moreover, some analyses suggest that the Italian model of interculturalism has primarily targeted migrant students and their integration into the classroom. Although this is an important step in creating more diverse and inclusive schools, more recent research on the subject has suggested that the Italian model of intercultural education has not adapted to incorporate second-generation students and diverse pupils born to immigrants in Italy (Contini and Herold 2015; Pasquale 2015). In effect, they suggest that the focus on transitioning migrant students into the Italian school system has failed to engage on broader issues linked to diversity and discrimination in schools more generally, and that this has led to major disparities in educational attainment for youths of various backgrounds in the Italian school system (Bussotti 2017). 

 

3. THE INCLUSION OF ETHNIC REPRESENTATION/SENSITIVITY IN THE MANDATE OF PUBLIC MEDIA OR MEDIA LICENSING

    No.

   
Media Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Bodo and Bodo (2010, 23) note that while there are some private radio stations that broadcast in a number of languages, “the new minority languages have no access to national TV and radio networks.” They do point out, however, that there are a number of foreign language newspapers, although these cater specifically to immigrant and minority communities, rather than integrating diverse perspectives into mainstream outlets. Further, most of these papers are run by NGOs and volunteers, rather than receiving public funding or state support.
  • The public broadcaster RAI notes in their 2016 Reports and Consolidated Financial Statements that pluralism is one of the “fundamental principles of the Concession Holder’s activity”. Pluralism is understood here as “the aptitude for being mindful of all diversities of gender, culture, religion, etc., in order to make a vital contribution to the development of a more inclusive society by representing different points of view and the capacity to do so” (RAI Group 2016, 26). The RAI mission statement and information on ethics, as well as casting and hiring practices, do not mention diversity mandates and/or the representation of minorities.
  • During the past couple of decades, the Italian media have portrayed largely negative and stereotyped images of immigrants (Kosic and Triandafyllidou 2005, 16). This has continued with the framing of the migration crisis and is well documented in a number of media analyses (see, for example, Bruno 2016, Musarò and Parmiggiani 2017). 

 

4. EXEMPTIONS FROM DRESS CODES (EITHER BY STATUTE OR COURT CASES)

   No.

   
Exemption Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Although Italy is officially a secular state, the Catholic Church remains influential. There has been much debate over the presence of crucifixes in public institutions, particularly in schools. A court ruled in favour of a Muslim man in 2003 after he protested the presence of a cross in his village’s public school, but the government did not support this decision and relied on a little-used provision (dating back to the Fascist era) to overturn the judge’s decision (Chaloff 2005); the village responded by erecting a three-metre high crucifix.
  • To date, there are no national-level bans on religious clothing, nor court rulings that prohibit headscarves or veils in public spaces (Open Society Justice Initiative 2018). Some organizations and municipalities have turned to a 1975 law pertaining to the Protections of Public Order (Law 152/1975) to support restrictions pertaining to religious face coverings, but a 2008 court case clarified that the security legislation did not apply to the burqa or niqab (Open Society Justice Initiative 2018). A bill to amend Law 152/1975 by adding an explicit ban on the burqa and niqab was proposed in 2011 but was not passed by parliament. Similarly, a proposal for national-level legislation prohibiting the veil was brought forward in 2011 but has never been passed. That said, a 2005 anti-terrorism law increased penalties for those convicted of concealing their identity by wearing a burqa (Barnett 2013).
  • Moreover, there are a number of local-level bans on religious clothing (Islamic Human Rights Commission 2004). The first official ban took effect in Lombardy in 2016, followed by the Veneto Region in 2017 (Open Society Justice Initiative 2018; BBC 2018a). Unofficial bans also exist in many communities, where women can face fines for wearing the burqa or niqab in public (Open Society Justice Initiative 2018). Some mayors have also proposed banning the “burkini”, though there are no explicit bans on religious swimwear to date (BBC 2018a).
  • In terms of accommodations in the workplace, Simoni (2008, 5) notes that in decrees adopted to implement European directives on anti-discrimination, Italy allows for the consideration of an employee’s “work suitability.” This, it is argued, provides an overly broad interpretation of the situations in which differences in treatment can be justified, particularly with respect to the armed forces, police,prison, and emergency services, such that the state has “too broad discretion to admit exceptions to equal treatment.” Within Italian decrees, there is no mention of any requirement to provide reasonable accommodation.
  • In 2001, Turin stipulated that foreign women had to give photos without wearing a hijab. In response, the Italian Foreign Ministry issued a circular allowing Muslim women to wear headscarves in photos, drawing comparisons to headdress worn by Catholic nuns (Islamic HumanRights Commission 2004).

 

5. ALLOWS DUAL CITIZENSHIP

    Yes.

   
Dual Citizenship Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 1 1 1

Evidence:

  • Italy has permitted dual citizenship since 1992 (Howard 2005). Citizenship requirements are outlined in the Citizenship Act (Faist and Gerdes 2008). The requirements for citizenship are very restrictive, and the government enjoys a great deal of discretion; nearly 90 percent of applications for naturalization are rejected (Chaloff 2005).

 

6. THE FUNDING OF ETHNIC GROUP ORGANIZATIONS OR ACTIVITIES

    No.

   
Funding Ethnic Groups Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • When Italy initially adopted the three-pillar approach in 1998, it included an annual fund of approximately €40 million—the National Fund for Immigration—which was provided to local authorities and NGOs to support the provision of social services and orientation programming for immigrants. The fund was later subsumed under the National Social Policy Fund, and local governments were no longer required to spend the funds on initiatives targeting immigrants. Although some regions continue to support such activities, there is no requirement to do so, and they are not obliged to report to the ministry (Chaloff 2005). Because the National Social Policy Fund is resourced primarily from the European Social Fund, most integration resources are dedicated to the labour market and employment(Chaloff 2005; see also Caponio 2005, 2013).
  • In addition, many immigrant organizations faced increasingly restrictive clauses when it came to accessing public funding at the local level (for example, needing to be formally registered for two or more years to qualify for funding). As a result, Caponio (2005, 936) notes that immigrant associations were often “poorly developed and weakly structured,” relying heavily on self-funding and existing Italian organizations (such as trade unions or Catholic organizations) to serve as intermediaries for financial support. This made it very difficult for immigrant associations to assert themselves as autonomous bodies, creating what Caponio (2005) describes as a paternalistic relationship between immigrant associations and Italian organizations.  
  • Kosic and Triandafyllidou (2005) similarly note that immigrants’ civic engagement more generally tends to be fostered in mainstream organizations, such as trade unions, which then leads to the creation and mobilization of an ethno-specific organization or network. This is, again, characterized as a patron-client relationship, with ethnic organizations not having a great deal of autonomy in part because of limited resources, funding, and support.
  • Bodo and Bodo (2010) note that there are several migrants’ associations across Italy, and these have made growing demands for formal recognition and greater legitimacy. Indeed, the Italian Website on Integration (developed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Education) created a thematic area of their online portal known as the Migrants Association Area in 2014 (Ministry of Labour and Social Policies 2015). The project stemmed from a series of meetings between the above-listed ministries and migrant organizations that were calling for greater empowerment and recognition from the government. The Migrants Association Area is intended to deepen immigrants’ access to information about migrant associations, allowing them to learn more and connect with groups in their area and beyond. They maintain a database of migrant associations across the country, which currently lists 1413 associations (Ministry of Labour and Social Policies 2018).

 

7. THE FUNDING OF BILINGUAL EDUCATION OR MOTHER TONGUE INSTRUCTION

No.

   
Bilingual Education Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • In the late 1990s, the Ministry of Education did issue some guidelines related to the teaching of Italian as a second language, but there were no resources attached, and the focus was on learning the country’s official language, not maintaining or preserving minorities’ languages (Chaloff 2005).
  • In a recent report on cultural policies in Italy, Bodo and Bodo (2010, 23) note that while the country’s autochthonous linguistic minorities have benefited from specific language policies “none of the main languages spoken by the over four million foreigners presently living in Italy have so far been officially recognised or taught in schools.” 
  • At the local and regional level, there have been some “sporadic initiatives” to offer language courses in migrants’ mother tongues (Bodo and Bodo 2010, 23), but these efforts do not appear to be institutionalized or steadily resourced.
  • In 2010, the Ministry of Education, University, and Research (MIUR) issued a mandate to adopt the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) bilingual education model supported by the Council of Europe in two of the three types of secondary schools in the Italian public school system (Leone 2015). This program, however, only applied to learning regional minority languages within Italy, as well as European languages; in effect, this excluded the languages of many large immigrant enclaves that spoke non-European languages (Leone 2015). This program is largely premised on supporting intercultural communication within Europe and promoting students’ career advancements or prospects through multilingualism, rather than reflecting pluralistic or multicultural intentions.
  • A 2014 report (Kambel 2014) noted that Italy still provides no support for migrant children’s cultural heritage and language learning through mother tongue education, and that widespread belief remains that mother tongue instruction will prevent migrants’ integration into the community. 

 

8. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR DISADVANTAGED IMMIGRANT GROUPS

   No.

   
Affirmative Action Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Although Italy places a high priority on immigrants’ employment, this is largely seen as the individual’s responsibility and not an area where the state has a responsibility to intervene. Anti-discrimination measures were introduced in the 1998 immigration law, but victims bore the burden of proof, and the provisions were rarely used (Chaloff 2005).
  • In 2003, to satisfy European anti-discrimination requirements, a National Office for Promoting Equal Treatment and Removal of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination (UNAR) was created; it can investigate cases of alleged discrimination and provides a hotline where callers can receive information (Chaloff 2005).
  • Apart from these minimal measures, there is no other evidence of employment or labour market policies directed at disadvantaged immigrant groups.