Talking about my Generation: Emigration and a ‘Sense of Generation" among Highly Skilled Young Italians in Paris - Laboratoire Médiations : Sciences des lieux, sciences des liens Access content directly
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Talking about my Generation: Emigration and a ‘Sense of Generation" among Highly Skilled Young Italians in Paris

Abstract

Like other southern European countries of historical emigration, Italy has had a new wave of emigration in recent years, mainly of young skilled professionals whose mobilities are very different from those of older generations of Italian migrants. Unlike studies describing this under-researched group as highly skilled workers or “super-movers” in search of job opportunities in terms of “brain drain” or “brain circulation”, this paper proposes a generational approach to young Italian migrants. Drawing on qualitative data (in-depth interviews) with 20 highly skilled young Italian adults (25-40 years old) working in Paris, we examine the various motivations and patterns of migrants’ trajectories. We highlight how migratory experience strengthens a deep sense of belonging to the same generation among these young adults. This “sense of generation” is partly connected to the growing mobility of youth within the European Union (thanks to European programmes such as Erasmus), but it also refers to the deep “generation gap” and the place of young people in Italian and southern European societies. In the interviews, Italy is described as a “gerontocratic” and weakly meritocratic society where young adults have no opportunity to obtain official contracts or senior positions on the labour market, achieve housing autonomy, or participate in the political sphere. Instead of presenting themselves as a global elite, young Italian professionals in Paris instead describe themselves as a “sacrified generation” prompted to emigrate from a country in crisis. Spatial mobility in thus described as a response to a situation of generational injustice. Such as sense of generation is strengthened with the experience of mobility. Our qualitative approach responds to the growing interest in micro-level analysis of the experiences of highly skilled migrants. The generational perspective we propose has thus far received little attention in migration studies

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Dates and versions

hal-04505416 , version 1 (14-03-2024)

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Hadrien Dubucs, Thomas Pfirsch, Camille Schmoll. Talking about my Generation: Emigration and a ‘Sense of Generation" among Highly Skilled Young Italians in Paris. Lesley Murray; Susan Robertson. Intergenerational Mobilities. Relationality, Age and Lifecourse, Routledge, pp.78-90, 2016, 9780367668075. ⟨10.4324/9781315589251-14⟩. ⟨hal-04505416⟩
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