Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Adrian Sherman


As the trend in Italy shifts from emigration to immigration, the country has become a primary destination for people choosing a new home. Immigrants from Eastern Europe, Asia and North Africa are entering Italy in increasing numbers. Contemporary Italian society has consequently undergone transformation in national and cultural identity during the past several decades as it becomes a more multiethnic population. This project investigates immigration and the concept of national identity at several levels through the lens of schooling, which represents a central institution in the formation of identities and the lives of young children. The project explores how immigrant youth at the primary level of schooling and their families make sense of the new systems they find themselves in and how this influences who they are. Research centers on the current perception of immigrants in Italian society, how this translates to primary school environments, and how the Italian Ministry of Education makes programmatic and instructional decisions around their immigrant student population, thereby intentionally creating and shaping identities for immigrants. This paper had four main goals: to examine the immigrant student experience in public primary schools in Italy; to see how this overall experience is shaped and directed by the strategies, policies, and practices that exist at a national level in Italy and relate this to a broader national agenda of the current Italian government; to question if policy results in early educational curriculum that perpetuates the image of an immigrant as “inferior” or “other” in Italy; and to explore how this could potentially shape the early concept of national identity in immigrant students and result in larger consequences for contemporary Italian society.


Human Geography | Regional Sociology