Publication details [#56986]

Marzorati, Roberta. 2013. Imagined communities and othering processes: The discursive strategies of established Italian residents in a Milan city neighbourhood. Journal of Language and Politics 12 (2) : 251–271.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


The article explores discourses, which, strongly marked by the association between immigration and security/safety issues, shape conflicts between groups in the urban spaces. More specifically, the article analyses daily interactions in a neighbourhood located in a semi-central area of the city of Milan and the discursive strategies of established Italian residents in dealing with neighbours, shopkeepers and public space users of immigrant origin. It focuses on the specific case of a small park which, claimed by the Italian residents in the neighbourhood, is currently a space of different activities by different groups and constitutes a core of an intergroup conflict. Referring to the existent Italian literature on the social construction of immigration as a problem related to security and urban safety issues, the article focuses on how such a discourse is produced and reproduced at the local level in established residents’ discourses and practices and their imagination/s of the community of ‘us’. While the article analyses how established residents account for the changes that have occurred in their area, discursive strategies about the nature of the place and its ‘legitimate’ users as well as social practices of appropriation and control are examined in order to show the interrelation between the processes of othering and place-identity making.