European citizenship, Italian nationality, and the “institutional myth” of return: The case of Argentinians and Chileans of Italian origin

By Melissa Blanchard


Building on ethnographic research undertaken in the Trentino region, this article analyzes what being a European citizen means for Argentineans and Chileans of Italian descent who emigrate to Italy, and thus to Europe, thanks to the Italian nationality they have inherited from their ancestors. It analyzes the different uses and representations associated with dual nationality, as well as the scales of belonging that accompany this mobility, showing that the possession of European citizenship is fostering the current resurgence of emigration to Italy, including from Latin America. The article also argues that this mobility has called into question European migration policies, shifting the focus from the rhetoric of border closures to practices of selective immigration. It thus questions the constant redefining of boundaries in Europe between “us” and “them.”


  • Return migration
  • Nationality
  • European citizenship
  • Belonging
  • Chili
  • Argentina
  • Italy
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