“An Ugly Word”: Talking (and Not Talking) about Race in Italy

“An Ugly Word”: Talking (and Not Talking) about Race in Italy

Ann Morning (NYU) et Marcello Maneri (Milano Bicocca)
Séminaire scientifique de l'OSC - 28 juin 2019
  • Image Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock. Manifestation against racism (Milano, 2011)Image Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock. Manifestation against racism (Milano, 2011)

 Séminaire scientifique de l'OSC 2018-2019

98, rue de l'Université 75007 Paris - salle Annick Percheron

vendredi 28 juin 2019 de 12h30 à 14h

“An Ugly Word”: Talking (and Not Talking) about Race in Italy

Like many of their Western European neighbors, Italians eschew the term “race” (razza) and are not exposed to it in the institutionalized forms—like census questionnaires, school applications, or medical intake sheets—that are familiar to Americans. But does this mean that the notion of biologically-rooted demarcation between descent-based groups is entirely foreign in Italy?

We report on our in-depth interviews with 75 college students in Milan, Bologna, and Naples, in conjunction with interviews of 30 students in vocational schools in Milan, and for comparison, interviews of over 50 undergraduates in the north-eastern United States. In contrast to the claim of some scholars that culture-based prejudices distinguish Western European “new racism” from American biology-based racial ideology, we find that beliefs about physical difference that circulate widely in the U.S. are hardly unknown in Italy. Indeed, the relative absence of a developed constructivist view on race among our young Italian interviewees makes it harder for them than for their American peers to counter biological definitions of it, a paradoxical result given Italians’ much stronger rejection of the language of “race.”

Ann Morning (NYU)

 Ann Morning is Associate Professor of Sociology at New York University.
Marcello Maneri (Milano Bicocca)She's Visiting in Sciences Po - Département de sociologie, during June 2019.

Marcello Maneri
is Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Milan - Bicocca.


 Register is mandatory for external audience and/or snack (bernard.corminboeuf@sciencespo.fr).

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