Between Genders and Generations: Migration and Families in Contemporary Italy

Isabella Crespi, Claudia Santoni, Maria Letizia Zanier


In a worldwide context of growing migration, many studies confirm the central role played by the family in the migration plans and strategies of individuals, that is, the decision to emigrate and how. The family also takes on considerable importance in defining subsequent modifications, such as the length and development of the plan to emigrate. According to the literature and recent studies, we find that the migration experience changes social relationships by especially altering intergenerational and gender roles. The change may be limited to family rules, or be extended to affective gender and generation bonds. The family care function takes place in a new social and cultural environment and family bonds must be reconsidered, in light of the cultural, social and economic features of the hosting country. In this regards, Italy is quite an interesting case because of its long history of migration and its recent role as immigration country. These features are discussed, with particular attention to domestic and care work, and women’s (and men’s) roles when participating in Italy´s labour market. The aim is to focus on the Italian situation in light of the literature and recent sociological research in reference to policies and practices.

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