“Trasite Favoriti” – Imagining a ‘global community’ in the Town of Riace
by Elisa Betti - University of Florence, Social Sciences campus
Firstly, we went through the main theories about Community, looking into the definitions by authors such as Tӧnnies, Weber and Bauman. Secondly, we moved to Anderson’s theory of Immagined Communities (1983), questioning ourselves on the factors that create for us a feeling of belonging to certain communities. We also tried to analyze the role of borders into the context of both the European Union and the migration flows phenomenon. Then, we went through other contribution to Anderson’s theory such as the definition of social imaginary by Charles Taylor (2002) and the theory of Castoriadis on imagined communities (1987). Finally, tried to reflect around these questions: what is community today? Can we consider the Europen Union as a community? Why? Does immigration influences the community? How?
I presented my research: “Trasite Favoriti” – Imagining a ‘global community’ in the Town of Riace. First, we defined who is a refugees and we analyzed immigration flows phenomenon in Europe in the decades. Second, we moved to the Italian context and the SPRAR system, on which the Riace model is based. We also looked into the context of Calabria and Riace, places characterized by a high emigration flows. Third, I guided them through the methods used in my research, such as semi-structured qualitative interviews and narrative analysis. At the end, we went thorugh the themes and the conclusions of my research, connected with the framework of imagined community.
During this lesson we went through the main theories on Globalization, such as the modernization theory and the dependency theory. We also look into Appadurai five scapes theory and the different dimensions of globalization (economic, politic, social and cultural dimensions). Then we look into some consequences of globalization such as inequality (within and between countries) and immigration flows. We focused on the migration flows referring to Stephen Castles book “The Age of Migration” (2009). Then we moved to the main approaches about integrations, such as the assimilation model, multiculturalism and the most recent two-sided approach, also promoted by the European Union. Finally we read some speeches by politicians of the students’ home countries, trying to identify how do they created the dichotomy between “us” and “them” and the elements that characterized those two groups.
This workshop was focused on qualitative interviews. We tried to build a research project about community and European community feelings. We went through the main aspect of a qualitative research understanding how to chose a sample, what is the ethic of a research and the recruitment strategies. Then the students were given some tips about how to conduct a good interview, keeping in mind their research question but taking care of the attitude toward the participants and their feelings. They were provided with suggestions about the transcription process and the thematic analysis of the data. Finally all together we tried to create an interview guideline for semi-structured interviews related to community and European community feelings. At the end they were asked to conduct at least two interviews with the guideline created in class and tiring to apply the suggestions acquired in class. Then they transcribed the interviews and did a little analysis of the main themes.