Fear of “others”: processes of securitization in South Tyrol
MetadataShow full item record
At: Migration Dynamics and New Trends in European (In)Security, Sixth Edition ; Cluj-Napoca ; 16/05/2019 - 18/05/2019 ; 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 political autonomy and consociational measures to protect their cultural features. Since the 1990s the province witnessed the arrivals of many migrants from foreign countries, which now amount to about 9% of the resident population. Scholarship on securitization has tended to reproduce Kymlicka’s dychotomy between polyethnic/immigrant groups and national minorities. Whereas many scholars have focused on the securitization of migrants and migration, other researches have applied the concept to the politics of ethno-nationalism, addressing processes of securitization in divided societies characterized by ethnic tensions. Departing from this dichotomy, I consider cultural diversity itself, rather than a specific community, as the target of processes of securitization. With this framework, the paper analyzes to what extent, how and in what terms securitization dynamics 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. To conduct the analysis I adopt the Copenhagen School understanding of securitization as a speech act in combination of a sociological variant that highlights the role of legal and policy practices. I use a qualitative methodology focused on analyzing discourses and practices as emerged in party programs, selected political speeches, policy documents and provincial legislations, together with data from public opinion surveys, employed as proxy to measure public acceptance of securitizing acts. In this way, 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.