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Abstract

Loretta Baldassar analyses the importance of emigrants' visits home as a significant moment in the migratory process useful for the study of the territory-identity relationship. On the basis of an analysis of visits home by first, second and third generation emigrants from a small town in north-eastern Italy resident in Australia, she reaches the conclusion that, for the first generation of immigrants the return visit often represents a moment of spiritual renewal, while for the second and following generations, the visit home is frequently experienced as a rite of passage which leads to a transformation in their identity. The ethnographic data she presents is used to discuss the concept of de-territorialise identity, according to post-modern theories; at the same time the data serves to provide an understanding of how it is possible to construct a sense of identity through emigration, an identity which is managed between the country of origin and that of adoption.
Fabio Bertonha's paper proposes a pause for reflection on emigrants as a foreign policy factor in Italy in the fascist period. The author takes a detailed look at the various moments of the symbiosis between the regime's foreign and emigration policies and at the successes and failures that the utilisation of this mechanism for the projection of power and influence caused Mussolini's Italy. The analysis focuses especially on the relationship between the conquest of the Italians abroad and other central aspects of Mussolini's «subversive diplomacy», namely the contact with the fascist movements abroad, the use of propaganda and the attempts to subvert order in various countries.
Danilo Romeo examines the recent loss of the transnational perspective in the debate on migratory studies. This approach, bringing the migratory phenomenona back to the dynamics of the global capitalist economy, augurs an evolution of the concept of immigration that is better suited to the internationalisation of the national historiographies and to a perspective of world or global history. Starting from these assumptions a number of Italian and Italo-American historians have begun to interpret Italian emigration from a point of view which, being detached from the individual national historiographies and thus from the concepts of assimilation and pluralism, leads to the study of a probable Italian diaspora.

 

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