Migrations, Imprisonment and Crime in Italy, 1863-1998

Dario Melossi, Universita di Bologna

Interest for the relationship between migration and crime goes back to the fascination of modernity with mobility. Liberty and mobility have increasingly been coupled not only in the realm of international relationship but especially in the everyday life experiences and perceptions of Western societies. It is the destiny of modernity to continuously excite movement--but at the same time fearing it when uncontrolled and then aspiring to put "checks" on it. This is true from the very beginning of modernity, starting with the "free and 'unattached' proletarians" narrated by Marx in Volume One of Capital. In the develo9pment of Western societies, unchecked mobility (both "spatial" and "social") has recurrently been connected with crime. I investigate empirically this set of assumptions by analysing the relationships of im-migratory movements, crime and punishment in Italy, from 1970 to 1998, and of e-migratory movements, crime and punishment in Italy from 1863 to 1984.

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Updated 05/20/2006