Diversity and the afterlives of welcome in Italian mountain towns

Elisa Lanari

How do people living in small towns, rural and mountain areas respond to and navigate increasing diversity? The project seeks to answer this question by focusing on the politics and afterlives of refugee “welcome” in an Alpine mountain region of northeastern Italy. Over the course of ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2021 and 2023, Elisa engaged with residents from both migratory and non-migratory backgrounds to understand how pro-diversity initiatives and showings of solidarity were maintained in a context of right-wing politics, pandemic crises, and crumbling infrastructures. She also followed the emplacement of post-2014 refugees who have settled in this region, learning about their experiences of isolation and (im)mobility as well as the pleasures afforded by friendship and economic independence. Weaving together these foci, the project will theorize how personal relationships and natural environments are implicated in the forging of a “precarious mountain cosmopolitanism.”

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