Local attachments and transnational everyday lives: second‐generation Italians in Switzerland

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Many descendants of migrants grow up in the context of lively transnational social relations to their parents' homeland. Among southern Italian migrants in Switzerland, these relations are imbued with the wish to return among the first generation, a dream fostered since the beginning of their migration after the Second World War. Second‐generation Italians have developed different ways of negotiating the transnational livelihoods fostered by their parents on the one hand, and the wish for local attachments on the other. In this article I discuss how the children of Italian migrants have created their own cultural repertoires of Italianità and belonging within Switzerland and with co‐ethnic peers, and how, for some, this sense of belonging evokes the wish for ‘roots migration’, the relocation to the parents' homeland. With the example of two trajectories of local attachment and transnationalism among members of the second generation of the same origin, I question existing work on the second generation that assumes commonalities among them on the grounds of ethnicity and region of origin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-382
Number of pages18
JournalGlobal Networks
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Wessendorf, S 2010, 'Local attachments and transnational everyday lives: second‐generation Italians in Switzerland', Global Networks, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 365-382 which has been published in final form at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1471-0374.2010.00293.x This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


  • Second‐generation Italians
  • transnationalism
  • ethnicity
  • belonging
  • roots migration
  • Switzerland


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