Working Paper

Local Attachments and Transnational Everyday Lives: Second Generation Italians in Switzerland

Published 1 January 2008 / By Susanne Wessendorf

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Introduction

Many descendants of migrants grow up in the context of lively transnational social relations to their parents' homeland. Among southern Italian migrants in Switzerland , these relations are imbued with the nostalgia for return, a dream fostered since the beginning of their migration after the Second World War. Members of the second generation have developed different ways of negotiating the transnational livelihoods fostered by their parents on the one hand, and the longing for local attachment and rootedness on the other. This paper discusses how second-generation Italians have created their own cultural spaces and repertoires of Italianità and belonging within Switzerland and with co-ethnic peers, and how, for some, this sense of belonging evokes the wish for 'roots-migration', the relocation to the parents' homeland.

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