Media Discourses of Chinese Integration in Prato, Italy

Key information

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Russell Square: College Buildings

About this event

Kevin Latham (SOAS)

The rapid growth of the Chinese population in Prato, Italy, over the last two decades has transformed the social context of the town and made immigration a high local concern. Around one quarter of Prato’s population is now Chinese, yet the Chinese population is barely represented in areas of mainstream public life in the town. In this context the issue of the lack of Chinese integration has come to dominate local discourses with the media playing a prominent role. Media also participate in various processes of identification in the town ranging from negative stereotyping of Chinese immigrants in Italian media through to the celebration of business successes in the Chinese-language press. Italian media representations of the Chinese in Prato have focused heavily on the issue of (the lack of) integration of Chinese people into mainstream Italian or Prato society; the Chinese population is often described as closed, introverted and isolated and there is often a focus on illegality and criminality. However, through their use of Chinese-language media, Chinese immigrants can identify with a range of quite different and contending identities linking them to either China or to the broader Chinese diaspora in Europe. This paper offers a provisional analysis of the media context that surrounds and redefines Prato’s Chinese population. It will argue that with a few notable exceptions, both Chinese-language and Italian media offer few opportunities for local people to embrace moves towards greater integration.

Organiser: Paru Raman

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