The COMICS project: Meaning and practice of participation among young immigrants in Modena

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This paper reports on the results of a research studying the aspects of the social practices of citizenship, and the construction of identities by young immigrants; the analysis of the social wellness and integration of the participants. To analyze the social participation and wellness of the interviewed we haven't used indicators elaborated by other researches or by previous theoretical studies: we chose, instead, to build our own indicators accordingly to what the participants indicated during the interviews as the most relevant aspects of their everyday life. This paper finds that participation in the relevant processes of the host society requires neither uncritical engagement in its cultural forms nor full sharing of the meanings of cultural symbols. Social participation is effected through a series of processes of negotiation and mixing of symbols, meanings and cultural forms, through intercultural communication, both in school and in dealing with their peers. As categories like "integration" and "adaptation" seem to oversimplify the degree of participation, this paper wants to stress the variety of meanings, expectations and problems encountered by young immigrants, on the path to integration accordingly to their autonomous self-expression.

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In recent years migration has become a top-tier international issue that attracts the attention of States, international organizations and civil society organizations. Amid the increasingly complex challenges pertaining to international migration, the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), an umbrella organization established by Congregation of the Missionaries of Saint Charles, Scalabrinians, with more than 250 entities involved in various activities and services helping people on the move around the world, is committed to the protection of migrant children and youth, since children and adolescents are the most vulnerable group of migrants and people on the move. In their 125 years of existence, the Scalabrinians have been involved in migration processes at the international level, promoting comprehensive service programs and advocating for the human dignity of migrants and their families. The Scalabrinian Congregation was founded in 1887 by blessed Bishop John Baptist Scalabrini, in order to accompany millions of Italians who were migrating to the American continent, fleeing from the consequences of the Industrial Revolution and economic crisis in Europe. From the end of the 19th century until post-World War II, the Scalabrinians worked to establish parishes, schools, hospitals, migrant service centers, cultural centers, orphanages, nursing homes, cooperatives, migrant associations and service committees. In 1960, the Scalabrinian Congregation extended its mission to all migrants, not just Italians, thus expanding its outreach worldwide. As a result, the programs and services that help migrants have multiplied, especially for the neediest and most vulnerable migrants, refugees, internally displaced people and seafarers.
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