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Mattia Messena

General field of research

Psychological studies

Project by

Tiziana Mancini, Università degli Studi di Parma

  • Abstract
  • Starting from Allport (1954), social psychology has widely emphasized that contact with persons of different cultures itself is important in reducing ethnic prejudice and social discrimination and generally in improving intercultural relationships. These are all basic aspects for both processes of social inclusion of migrants and forms of active citizenship.

    Conceived as a process of action research and evaluation, this project is therefore situated within psycho-social theories on intergroup relationships and acculturation practices. It aims to map and analyze experiences of proximity (coexistence) between Italians and refugees or asylum seekers which have been developed over the last few years in the region of Emilia-Romagna by local agencies and associations in the context of the SPRAR (System of Protection for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) and other second-stage reception programs. International and national studies have convincingly shown that only “under certain conditions” proximity between people of different cultures can foster positive intercultural relationships, and in some cases it can also have a positive effect on people who are not directly involved.

    In line with the “National Plan for Integration of Beneficiaries of International Protection,” issued by the Italian Ministry of Interior in September 2017, the project aims to identify which combination of factors (such as the context of proximity, the type of contact and the networks created, and the psychological processes involved) can help or hinder positive outcomes of such experiences of proximity. Specifically, the research will aim to identify those practices which a) foster social inclusion, b) stimulate processes of participation and active citizenship among immigrants, and c) counteract ethnic-based discrimination.

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