Sociology of local conflicts against the Rom and the Sinti in Italy: Plurality of contexts and variety of political interests

  • Tommaso Vitale Dipartimento di Sociologia e ricerca sociale, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca
Keywords: cities, political instruments, urban policies, mediation, prejudice


Traditionally, in Italy, the Rom and Sinti problems have always been a local issue. Likewise, in recent years, the international containment between the European Union and Italy on ethnic discrimination policies has often started from local choices. In urban politics, the greatest interest lies in electoral consensus and political support. This article develops the idea that 'consensus' influences the choice of policy instruments and objectives. Looking at the cases of Milan and Rome, a type of demagogic mode is emphasized in order to build consensus, and its consequences for the Roma and Sinti groups and, more objectively, for social cohesion. Then, analyzing ten medium-sized Italian cities, there are traces of a more increased consensus-building process. In particular, we will emphasize the relevance of (1) three different types of mediation and (2) involvement of Roma beneficiaries in the planning of policy instruments for the regulation of their lives. The article concludes about the strategic relevance of pluralizing the variety of policy instruments, not using Rom only as a specific type of ethnically driven political instrument.