Home > Speakers & Moderators > Dr. Ferruccio Pastore - Forum of International and European Research on Immigration (FIERI)

Dr. Ferruccio Pastore - Forum of International and European Research on Immigration (FIERI)

Dr. Ferruccio Pastore (PhD, European University Institute, 1996) is since May 2009 the Director of FIERI (International and European Forum for Migration Research, www.fieri.it), an independent research institute based in Torino (Italy). He has previously been Deputy Director of the international relations think-tank CeSPI (Centre for International Policy Studies, Rome) and a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Firenze. Besides research, he has worked as an adviser on migration policy issues for Italian institutions (among which the National Council of Economy and Labour and the Schengen Parliamentary Committee) and international organisations (among which IOM and ILO). His current research activities focus on the governance of labour migration in Europe and on the impact of the economic crisis on migration and integration processes.

"Integration crisis? The impact of protracted economic crisis on immigrant integration in southern Europe"
During the pre-crisis decade, Italy and Spain emerged among the largest immigrant destinations in Europe. But soon after the same two countries stood out among the hardest hit by the downturn, in both macroeconomic and social terms, with immigrants among the most severely affected, especially in occupational terms. In spite of this, no major sign of deterioration in immigrant-native relations has materialized, be it at the level of intergroup conflict, in opinion trends or in electoral dynamics.
How can such apparent paradox be explained? In my presentation I will argue that it depends on the specific features of what, in both Mediterranean countries, can be described as a “low-cost immigration model” (Pastore, Salis, Villosio, 2013), i.e. one based on a strict complementariness between native and immigrant workers on the labour market, and on structurally low levels of welfare expenditure for immigrants.
One could hypothesize that such combination of structural circumstances would have been destabilized and altered by a protracted economic crisis. So far, however, this does not seem to happen. On the contrary, the low-cost model seems to show some resilience by becoming even more low-cost. Immigrant segregation in the lowest layers of the labour market is getting even more systematic while their access to welfare benefits is further hampered by massive welfare cuts which are targeting primarily migrant-specific schemes.
My hypothesis, based on research currently carried out with Irene Ponzo and Ester Salis, is that it is precisely this further reduction in the structural costs of immigrant integration for both native workers and public coffers which is preventing major upsurges in perceptions of competition and therefore in intergroup tensions between natives and immigrants. Secondary migration (from southern to northern Europe and especially for EU migrants) and “voluntary” returns of immigrants to their origin countries also seem to concur in averting a large-scale and conflictual “integration crisis” by disproportionally concentrating the impact of the crisis and integration losses on immigrants. Consistently with a fundamental pattern of neoliberal polities conflict is prevented through increased inequality and disempowerment.