Fear of “others”: processes of securitization in South Tyrol
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At: 13th Pan-European Conference on International Relations ; Sofia ; 11/09/2019 - 14/09/2019 ; Situated at the interplay between the field of ethnic politics, migration and security studies, this paper analyzes processes of securitization in South Tyrol, an Italian province with German and Ladin-speaking population and a sophisticated consociational system to protect their cultural features. Since the 1990s the province has witnessed the arrivals of many migrants from foreign countries. Scholarship on securitization has tended to reproduce Kymlicka’s dychotomy between polyethnic groups and national minorities. Whereas many scholars focus on the securitization of migrants and migration, other researches applies the concept to the politics of ethno-nationalism. Departing from this dichotomy, I consider cultural diversity itself, rather than a specific community, as the target of securitizing moves. With this framework, the paper analyzes to what extent, how and in what terms securitization processes have unfolded in South Tyrol vis-à-vis the presence of cultural diversity and diverse cultural communities in the province, whether historically rooted or deriving from recent migratory flows. I use a qualitative methodology focused on analyzing securitizing discourses and practices as emerged in party programs, political speeches, policy and legal documents, together with data from public opinion surveys. The paper aims at bringing to light how different features of cultural diversity become targets of securitizing moves and how distinguished processes of securitization interact over time. Overall, I argue that even at the sub-national level, as in the case of South Tyrol, securitization is rooted in the nation-state paradigm, which is based on the idea of a culturally homogenous composition of the society.