Migrant and Minority Mobilization

Periodo di svolgimento
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Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Political Science and Sociology"

Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Transnational Governance"

Optional for the 4th and 5th year students of the MA Programme in "Political and Social Sciences"


The movement of peoples across national boundaries, which became particularly visible in Western Europe since the 2015 “long summer of migration”, has encountered both the support and opposition of domestic actors. Moreover, in the last decade migrants and racialized subjects have mobilized to reclaim their right to settle, to receive a decent wage and to access citizenship rights. The goal of this seminar is to address migration as a contentious issue, focusing particular on its significance for collective action. The course will provide students with the analytical tools necessary to understand the dynamics of migrant and minority mobilization, and the different forms of contentious politics they engaged upon. The course will explore undocumented migrants’ collective actions as acts of emancipation and will touch upon the multi-scale perspective of political contention around migration. To offer an extensive overview on the effects on the everyday life of racialized subjects, the course will also explore the mobilization for citizenship rights of second-generation migrants, which contested the national boundaries of citizenship regimes, as well as racial justice struggles at the local and global level, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Furthermore, it will look at the literature on migrant support actors, such as anti-racist groups and refugee solidarity movements, exploring their moral and emotional dilemmas.

Schedule of the course


Session 1: Introduction: the contentious politics of migration

8/11/2022, h. 14-16


Required readings

R. Koopmans, P. Statham, M. Giugni and F. Passy (2005) “Introduction: The contentious politics of Immigration and Ethnic Relations” in Contested Citizenship. Immigration and Cultural Diversity in Europe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 1-31

Eggert, N. and M. Giugni (2015) “Migration and Social Movements” in D. Della Porta and M. Diani (eds.) The Oxford handbook of Social Movements. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 159-172

Additional readings

D. Però and J. Solomos (2010) “Introduction: Migrant Politics and Mobilization: Exclusion, Engagements, Incorporations” Ethnic and Racial Studies 33(1), pp. 1-18

T. M. Cappiali (2017) “’Whoever decides for you without you, s/he against you!’ Immigrant activism and the role of the left in political racialization” Ethnic and Racial Studies 40(6) 69-987


Session 2: Migrant activism and citizenship

10/11/2022, h. 14-17


Required readings

Isin, E. (2009) “Citizenship in flux: The figure of the activist citizen” Subjectivity 29, 367-388.

Ataç, I et al.  (2016) “Introduction: The Contentious Politics of Refugee and Migrant Protest and Solidarity Movements: Remaking Citizenship from the Margins” Citizenship Studies 50 (2): 527–544.


Additional readings

Rygiel, K. (2011) “Bordering solidarities: migrant activism and the politics of movement and camps at Calais” Citizenship Studies 15 (1): 1-19

Monforte P. and P. Dufour (2011) “Mobilizing in borderline citizenship regimes: a comparative analysis of undocumented migrants’ collective actions” Politics&Society 39 (2), 203-232.


Session 3: Migrant and refugees solidarity movements

15/11/2022, h.14-17

Required readings

Giugni, M. and F. Passy (2001) “Political Altruism and the Solidarity Movement: An Introduction” in Political altruism?: solidarity movements in International Perspective Rowman & Littlefield:  Lanham, pp. 3-25

D. della Porta and E. Steinhilper (eds.) (2022) “Shrinking spaces and civil society contestation: an introduction” in Contentious Migrant Solidarity London: Routledge, pp. 1-18.


Additional readings

A. Óscar García, and M. B. Jørgensen. (2019) ‘Solidarity as Political Action. Crime or Alternative?’ In Solidarity and the ’Refugee Crisis’ in Europe, Springer, pp. 119–30.

G. Maestri, and P. Monforte (2022) “Keeping it private or making it political? ‘Soft repression’ and the depoliticisation of everyday conversations among pro-refugee volunteers” in Political altruism?: solidarity movements in International Perspective, D. della Porta and E. Steinhilper (eds.), Rowman & Littlefield:  Lanham, pp. 83-99.


Session 4: The role of emotions

22/11/2022, h.14-17


Required readings

J. Jasper (1998) “The emotions of Protest: Affective and Reactive Emotions in and around social movements” Sociological Forum 13: 3, pp. 397-424

H. Flam (2005) “Emotions’ map: A research agenda” in Emotions and Social Movements, H. Flam and D. King (eds.), London: Routledge, pp. 19-41

Additional readings

Rosenberg S. and Winkler J. (2014) “Com/passionate Protests: Fighting the Deportation of Asylum Seekers” Mobilization 19 (2): 165-184

Monforte, P. and Maestri. G. (2020) “Who Deserves Compassion? The Moral and Emotional Dilemmas of Volunteering in the ‘Refugee Crisis’” Sociology 54 (5), pp. 920-935


Session 5:  Civil society actors and municipalities: The emergence of a multi-scale alliance around migration

29/11/2022 h14-17 – with the participation of Dr. Federico Alagna


Required readings

F. Alagna (forthcoming). “Migration activism and 'municipal militancy' in the EU: A multi-scale perspective”, in A. Buzogany and C. Milan (eds.), Transnational Political Contention and European Integration

L. Fischer, M. B. Joergensen (2022) “Scale-switching as a response to a shrinking space for solidarity. A comparison of Denmark’s Venligboerne and Germany’s Seebrucke” in D. della Porta and E. Steinhilper (eds.) Contentious Migrant Solidarity London: Routledge


Additional readings

R. Bazurli (2019) “Local Governments and Social Movements in the ‘Refugee Crisis’: Milan and Barcelona as ‘Cities of Welcome’” South European Society and Politics 24 (3), pp. 343-370

Lacroix, T., Hombert, L., Furri, F. (2020) ‘Migration and municipal militancy in the Mediterranean’. EuroMedMig Working Paper Series, no. 4. http://hdl.handle.net/10230/45349


Session 6: The mobilization of youth of migrant descent

6/12/2022, h. 14.00-17.00


Required readings

Chimienti, M., A. Bloch, L. Ossipow, and C. Wihtol de Wenden. 2019. “Second Generation from Refugee Backgrounds in Europe” Comparative Migration Studies 7 (40): 4-15.

Nicholls, W.J., Maussen M. and L. Caldas de Mesquita (2016) “The Politics of Deservingness: Comparing Youth-Centered Immigrant Mobilizations in the Netherlands and the United States” American Behavioral Scientist  60 (13): 1590- 1612.

Additional readings

Della Porta, D. , A. Lavizzari and H. Reiter (2022), “The Spreading of the Black Lives Matter Movement Campaign: The Italian Case in Cross-National Perspective” Sociological Forum 37 (3): 700-721

Milan, C. (2022) “Claiming rights. The mobilization of youth of migrant descent over access to citizenship rights in Italy” Citizenship Studies 26 (3): 322-339


Session 7: Ethical concerns of doing research in the field of migration

13/12/2022, h.14-17


Required readings

F. Duvell, A. Triandafyllidou and B. Vollmer (2010) “Ethical issues in irregular migration research in Europe” Population, Space and Place 16(3): 227-239

C. Clark-Kazak (2021) “Ethics in Forced Migration Research: Taking Stock and Potential Ways Forward” Journal on Migration and Human Security 9(3): 125-138

Additional readings

U. Krause (2017) “Researching forced migration: Critical reflections on research ethics during fieldwork” Refugee Studies Centre. Working Paper Series n. 123, 1-39

J. Jordan and S. Moser (2020) “Researching migrants in informal transit camps along the Balkan Route: Reflections on volunteer activism, access, and reciprocity” Area 52 (3): 566-574

Obiettivi formativi

By the end of the course students will have acquired a clear understanding of the main debates in the literature investigating the contentious politics of migration, as well as a deep knowledge of the diverse actors engaged in it. They will be able to critically approach the scholarship on the topic, demonstrate the acquaintance with and evaluate contemporary theoretical approaches. Furthermore, they will be able to identify and apply in an appropriate way the conceptual tools and theoretical approaches learnt throughout the course, and to adopt them in their empirical research.