Director & BRIDGES Scientific Co-coordinator
Unplanned migration (especially by sea) has dominated the history of Italian migration policy over the last 30 years. Although subsequent waves of arrivals have differed in terms of causes, scale and landing points, forced migration flows have constantly played a key role in both public debate and policy responses.
The way in which migration has been addressed in public discourses is characterised by certain recurring features, such as the idea of migration as a security threat to be dealt with security-driven measures, the metaphor of arrivals as a ‘siege’; or the emphasis on human suffering and deaths at sea that influenced the development of a humanitarian narrative.
Following the conceptual and methodological framework developed by the BRIDGES Work Package 7 concept note (Boswell and Smellie 2023), this Working Paper analyses how recurrent elements of certain narratives circulate in the communicative (media and political arenas) and in the coordinative spheres (the one of policymaking) at different levels in the Italian political system.
The study focuses on three specific events occurred in 2015 (the adoption of the EU relocation scheme), 2017 (the initial stage of a process of ‘criminalisation’ of NGOs) and in 2022 (the Ukrainian crisis) and addresses the question of how event-related narratives resonate with the master narratives on migration that emerged in the 2012–2022-time frame.