This three-year project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, explores how differences in economic, cultural and social capital shape the opportunities and experiences of Italians who have been living in the UK - particularly London and the West Midlands - since the 2008 economic crisis. The project looks at the role of intra-European mobility in reproducing or altering established ‘pathways’ to class formation at a time of economic uncertainty, especially for a group of migrants which is at the same time very privileged - in terms of legal status - and very diverse, in terms of educational and professional trajectories, cultural and political proclivities, but also age, ethnicity/race and gender.
Theoretically, the project draws on recent developments in ‘cultural’ class analysis to explore differences in social trajectories, capitals and everyday practices of distinction. However, it also pays attention to social relationships and networks, particularly their subjective and affective dimension. On the one hand, I am interested in how differences in kinds and amounts of capital influence motivations for moving abroad, post-migration lives and aspirations for the future. On the other hand, I am exploring how relational dynamics complicate these issues, and the very idea that intra-EU mobility is simply about maximisation of resources and/or the pursuit of individualised lifestyles.
Methodologically, the research uses life-course interviews, participant observation and semi-structured questionnaires. I am also working on migrant-produced media and ‘cultural intermediaries’, i.e. migrants actively involved in the production of narratives and representations about Italians in the UK.
Here is a presentation - delivered at the conference The Spectre of Brexit - discussing the project's questions, aims and methodology
You can also find a recent blog for The Sociological Review discussing some of the project's early findings and a list of the conference papers delivered so far. Follow the project's updates on ResearchGate.