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Superdiversity and sub-national autonomous regions: Perspectives from the South Tyrolean case

Roberta Medda WindischerRoberta Medda-Windischer

Senior Researcher/Coordinator of the Research Group ´National Minorities, Migration and Cultural Diversity` Institute for Minority Rights, EURAC Research, Bolzano/Bozen, Italy

Fair management of migration and cohabitation of culturally different groups, together with debate on identity and sense of belonging, are challenging and intricate matters, especially in territories inhabited by historically traditional minorities such as those in Catalonia, South Tyrol, Scotland, Flanders, Basque Country and Quebec. The coexistence of old minorities and new minority groups originating from migration (‘new minorities’) in sub-national territories adds complexities to the governance of superdiversity and migration issues. The relation between ‘old’ communities and ‘new’ minority groups can be rather complicated. Interests and needs of historical groups can be in contrast with those of the migrant population. Moreover, the presence of new minorities can impact, not necessarily negatively, on the relationship between old minorities and majority groups at state level and also between old minorities and the central state, as well as with policies enacted to protect the diversity of traditional groups and the way old minorities understand and define themselves.

In our Policy & Politics article published in a special issue focused on superdiversity, our analysis of a case study based on South Tyrol confirms that it is not possible to speak of a fixed and monolithic view about migration taken by old minorities. Just as there are differences between and within nation-states (between ‘migrant-friendly’ and ‘migrant-hostile’ countries and between national parties promoting inclusive policies and those sustaining restrictive measures), old minorities are differentiated between and within themselves. Nor is it possible to analyse the issue as a two-actor game between old and new minorities: the game also invokes relations between old minorities and the central state, especially with regard to issues of political competence on migration matters; and in addition it also interacts with the central state’s approach to migration. Continue reading Superdiversity and sub-national autonomous regions: Perspectives from the South Tyrolean case