Language and Political Participation Among Second- and Third-generation Italians in Australia

In the wake of the U.S election voter engagement has been highlighted as crucial to the functioning of democracies. Emigration waves have increased the presence of transnational communities worldwide, resulting in institutions and programmes that help non-resident citizens to maintain their language and to actively participate in the life of their country of origin.

The Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre is pleased to congratulate MMIC network member Dr Matteo Bonotti and Dr Chiara De Lazzari on their being awarded a grant by the Italian COMITES (Comitato degli Italiani all’estero https://comites.org.au/) and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their project ‘Language and Political Participation Among Second- and Third-generation Italians in Australia’.

This research project will investigate the impact of these policies by looking at the case study of Italy. It will focus specifically on the relationship between language proficiency and political participation. Since all Italians resident abroad have the right to vote in Italy’s national elections and referendums, the project will explore the impact that Italy’s language policies have on second- and third-generation Italians in Australia, particularly in Victoria and Tasmania, and whether and how they enable them to participate in political debate in Italy. Via a series of interviews and a survey, the project will aim to understand how confident second- and third-generation Italians in Victoria and Tasmania are in engaging in Italian political debate from abroad, and how effective Italy’s language policies are in providing them with the language skills necessary to understand and/or participate in that debate and be informed voters.