Immigration: A Resource for the Economic Competitiveness and the Social Cohesion of the European Society

Research output: Other contribution


In the contemporary European landscape, because of different reasons, the question of integration of migrants has gained a strategic relevance, until being coincident with the question of social integration tout court1: i) first of all, the inclusion of recently arrived migrants is today more complex than it was in the past, since all the major “integrative institutions” of the industrial society–from the big enterprise to the Union movement, from the Keynesian welfare state to the mass political parties–are now involved in a process of decline or transformation; ii) in a social landscape characterized by a widespread sentiment of uncertainty migrants and members of ethnic minorities are often perceived as the responsible for the “breakdown” of social cohesion, and the causes of the precariousness that characterized post-fordist economies; iii) such a collection of phenomena to those we referred evoking the theme of ethnic revival contributes to redefine the reference framework: the emerging figure is that of the “trasmigrant”, an individual who preserves strong links with his/her country of origin. Breaking with the tradition of the Nation-States, founded on a principle of unity guaranteed by the attachment of their nationals, the idea of transnationalism insert a revolutionary element in the institutional functioning of the European society; iv) the visibility of the migrants’ communities in the public sphere can’t no longer be judged as folkloristic expressions or signals of a lack of integration; on the contrary, they are considered as legitimate manifestations of an increasing heterogeneous society. Sometimes the minority groups assert their need to be acknowledged as different and distinguishable from the rest of the population, claiming special rights that collide with the legal tradition of the European society, based on the principle of equality of all citizens in front of the law. Considering these assumptions, we can surely admit that migrants’ experience is a sort of “mirror” of the more general problems and difficulties of the process of integration and exclusion in the contemporary European landscape. However, at the same time, migrants can be view as paradigmatic examples of the citizens of an open, mobile, “transnational” and pluralistic society. Starting from these premises, in this paper we will focus our attention on some key issues represented by: i) The role of migrants in strengthening the competitiveness of European economy; ii) The role of migrants as agents of development for both the destination and the sending country; iii) The role of migrants in redefining the meaning of citizenship; iv) The role of migrants in the rethinking of the Welfare regimes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • coesione sociale
  • immigration
  • immigrazione
  • social cohesion


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