Landscape as a tool of intercultural mediation: comparisons between first and second generation immigrants in Veneto region


International migrations are increasingly drawing scholars’ attention in different field of studies, including geography. Indeed, this phenomenon is currently transforming every territory into a multicultural reality, requiring to reconsider also the relationship between populations, places and cultures. In this complex context, landscape – referring both to the physical characteristics of a place and to the meanings attributed to them – can be used as a tool for highlighting the different aspects which influence the relation between people and the place where they live. This question becomes much more significant, considering that the European Landscape Convention assigns to every landscape – both “exceptional” and “ordinary” ones – an intrinsic cultural value, affirming that it constitutes a reference point for the identity of the people who live there. Taking into account this point of view, the main objective of the research project is to study the relationship between immigrants and their everyday places, paying particular attention to their landscape perceptions. The project represents the continuation of a branch of research which explored this issue with reference to the second generation immigrants living in Veneto Region, studying both Italians and foreign teenagers’ perceptions. These previous researches bring out the fact that landscape allows to effectively investigate both the material and immaterial dimensions of children’s relationships with their everyday places; furthermore, landscape proves to be a useful tool of intercultural mediation, encouraging the dialogue between Italians and foreigners. To this regard, the present project intends first of all to continue the analysis of the data collected during the previous researches, particularly aiming at: pointing out the most important factors that influence the relationship between teenagers and everyday places; deepening what relation exists between the kinds of places teenagers consider as reference points and the meanings attributed to them; understanding the modalities by which foreigners develop new territorial belongings, relating their landscape perceptions to other aspects of their experience (e.g. their age at their arrival to Italy and the length of time since they have lived here). On the other hand, the project aims at further studying the above mentioned issues with reference to the first generation immigrants, and intends to: point out their relationship with the current everyday places; to compare their landscape perceptions with the second generation’s ones and with the autochthonous population’s ones; to explore the immigrants’ relationship with their home country; to use landscape as an “intercultural mediator”, aiming at promoting the dialogue between immigrants and Italians and at identifying operative strategies to facilitate the immigrants’ integration process.

Concerning the case studies, the research will focus on the Veneto region territorial context, mainly in view of the particularly relevant presence of immigrants in this area.

Regarding the methodological aspects, the project will follow a qualitative approach (semi-structured interviews, writing activities, open-ended questionnaires, etc.). Visual methods could be used too, particularly autophotography and interviews with photo-elicitation: indeed, other researches on these topics confirm that these methods are effective at investigating the different aspects of people/places relationship.

2012 - 2014

Responsabile per il Dipartimento
Benedetta Castiglioni

Benedetta Castiglioni
Tania Rossetto