The Imagined Community, Symbolic Cultural Boundaries, and the Other
Discursive Activations of Anti-immigrant Sentiment by Political Parties and the Media in Italy
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.