The Imagined Community, Symbolic Cultural Boundaries, and the Other

Discursive Activations of Anti-immigrant Sentiment by Political Parties and the Media in Italy

  • Giulia Gagliano


Italy, like many other European countries, is at a crossroads with its quickly changing socio-cultural demographic landscape and simultaneously heightening nationalist anti-immigrant sentiment that is lighting up the nation. This paper analyzes the concepts of the imagined national community, symbolic boundaries, and the Other in the context of Italian anti-immigrant hostility and moral panic. By examining the discursive logics mobilized by political and media actors against migrants, I identify the discourses that are employed to negatively construct migrant presence in the community, such as that of criminality, amorality, and cultural incompatibility. I argue that such narratives are rooted in the legacies of Italy’s constructions of its own national symbolic boundaries and their identification of the national Self in opposition to the undesirable Other.

Author Biography

Giulia Gagliano

Giulia Gagliano is is a fourth-year Honors Political Science student with a minor in Gender Studies. Her primary research interests are theories of nationalism, Orientalism, and the structures of unequal power, particularly on the axes of gender, race, and sexuality. As a recipient of the Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Award and the J. Alan Baker Memorial Scholarship, she recently completed an honors thesis that explored the intersectional Othering processes mobilized against migrants by nationalist parties in Italy. Looking forward, she hopes to continue her research in the form of a Master's program.