Stories
Publications
Spotlight
Line by line

Updated & short stories

Beyond the line

Insights & analysis

In the media

the voice of international press

Sense Maker
Dictionary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
PLEASE LOG IN
Email Address
Password

LoginSign In
  • Dictionary
    human_lines_dictionary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

INTEGRATION

Social integration refers to a state of substantial and consensual involvement by all subjects, whether collective or individual, in a society’s general system of institutions, norms, and values.

An example is the social integration related to the phenomenon of migration from the south of Italy to the north in the first postwar decades, in particular in order to look for work. One of the first definitions of social integration dates back to the mid 1960s. Under this definition, social integration is the “mutual exchange of human experience on the psychological level ... a cultural exchange from which a broader and more mature perspective emerges, which must involve an insertion of the immigrant into the new social structure as a vital and functional part that enriches the whole” (Alberoni and Baglioni, Sociology Studies Year 2, Fasc. 4, October-December 1964, pp. 347–70). As evidenced by the definition, these migratory movements should not lead to the formation of ghettos in the cities and metropolitan areas; such ghettos are avoided because of an attitude of openness on the part of the immigrants, and a capacity for reception and insertion, and for accompaniment and dialogue on the part of the resident population.

The first definition of the social integration of foreign immigrants was coined by the first Commission for Integration, established in 1998 within the Ministry for Social Solidarity. The definition was taken from the Commission’s first report on immigration, published in 2000, which described social integration as “a process of nondiscrimination and inclusion of differences as part of a continuous and daily attempt to maintain both universal principles and particularisms, which prevents situations of marginalization, fragmentation, and ghettoization that threaten social balance and cohesion and affirms universal principles such as the value of human life, the dignity of the person, the recognition of freedom for women, and the development and protection of children, principles about which no exceptions can be granted, even in the name of the value of differences between peoples” (art. 40 of the Presidential Decree 5/98 establishing the Commission for Integration).

The goal of integration into the job market cannot be described merely as the need for beneficiaries to achieve economic autonomy at the end of the 12-month project, but rather as the need that they become an active part of local economic networks, becoming not only income earners but also possessors of rights with respect to their labor contracts. In this way, economic autonomy becomes economic integration into the local job market and into the relevant legal framework and social context.

The subjects interviewed frequently referred to integration as a path on which the protagonists are the immigrants who must enter into a new community, understand its rules, and learn its history, culture, and language, as well as the host communities, which must be open to gaining an understanding of the languages, cultures, and sometimes religions of diverse people, and to applying that understanding to the Italian context.

As respects integration into the job market, the Humanitarian Corridors program benefits from a number of legal and economic instruments, including “job grants” available as a result of European and national contributions and traineeships at various local companies financed by the diocesan Caritas for a short time. Both of these mechanisms are aimed at establishing personal contacts between employers and beneficiaries, who, having recently arrived in the area, often face great difficulties in developing these contacts and in understanding how the local job market works in terms of the competencies needed and the types of jobs that are available.

INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION

  • Refugee status is granted to a foreign citizen who has a well-founded fear of suffering persecution if he returns to his or her country of origin, or who has already suffered such persecution before fleeing his or her country of origin. The asylum seeker has the burden of proving the elements on which his application is based before one of the Territorial Commissions for the Recognition of International Protection (art. 3, paragraph 5, Legislative Decree 251/2007). The residence permit for this status is valid for five years and renewable without further verification of the conditions.
  • Subsidiary protection is granted to a foreign citizen “who does not have the requisites to be recognized as a refugee but for whom there are serious reasons to believe that, if he returned to the country of origin, he would run an actual risk of suffering serious damage" (art. 2, letter g, Legislative Decree 251/2007). The residence permit for this status is valid for five years and is renewable upon a verification of the persistence of the conditions that were the basis for the recognition of protection.

ITALIAN BISHOP''S CONFERENCE

Founded in 1952, the Italian Bishops’ Conference is the permanent assembly of Italian bishops. It is tasked with directing the pastoral life of the church in Italy, maintaining relations between the Italian state and the Catholic Church, and managing the funds raised through the “eight per thousand” system, which is based on the provisions of the 1929 agreement between Italy and the Vatican (modified in 1984). The president of the conference is chosen directly by the pope.