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Keywords:

  • race;
  • immigration;
  • Europe;
  • Africa;
  • labor;
  • national identity

Abstract:  This paper examines how regional and national identities are being reshaped through the spatialization of “race” in Italy. Neoliberal globalization expands the spatial mediation of historically layered racialized anxieties. In the context of African in-migration, “black” is emerging as a prominent marker of difference. The state has largely proscribed immigration from impoverished African nations, effecting a shadow economy of undocumented workers. Corporate interests have seized on the presence of these workers and hyper-exploited them. Meanwhile, trade union and feminist organizations are consciously blind to the “race” question, providing inadequate relief to those most in need. In discussing the empirical and geographical realities of racialization, I refine Marx's understanding of disposable surplus labor. In particular, I argue that the racialization of surplus populations must be understood in the context of the regional and global inequalities that have compelled post-colonial populations to migrate.