A sense of crisis looms in Italy. Economic concerns, shrinking public resources, and the refugee emergency add to longstanding concerns over national birthrates and migration. How do professionals and volunteers working in Milan address migrant parents in this context of crisis?


The city of Milan has transformed itself from an industrial to a financial and fashion powerhouse over a few decades. Milan is also known for the volunteerism of its citizens and a history as a destination for migrants. Growing poverty, decreasing public resources, and the arrival of significant numbers of refugees, however, all contribute to a sense of crisis around the place of migrants in the city.
Milena Marchesi’s research examines how professionals and volunteers support and guide migrant parents through changes in welfare services and new values of solidarity. Lucrezia Botton asks to whom Egyptian migrant parents turn for various kinds of assistance and advice. What kind of norms and expectations do they encounter in their quest?

Milena Marchesi

Milena Marchesi is Postdoctoral researcher and Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, Radboud University. She was previously at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her dissertation research examined the intersections of reproductive and migration politics in the context of welfare state restructuring and the remaking of social citizenship. In the Reproducing Europe project, she examines how migrant parents are addressed by new forms of generative welfare and the citizenship implications of its participatory demands. Milena is co-editor of the volume Reproduction and Biopolitics: Ethnographies of Governance, ”Irrationality” and Resistance (Routledge, 2015).


Lucrezia Botton

Lucrezia Botton is a PhD candidate at the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, Radboud University. As part of the Reproducing Europe project, she explores how the state manages to convey normative conceptions on parenting to migrant families as well as which institutional actors attempt to implement them. Lucrezia graduated from the Near Eastern Program at New York University with a thesis on the outcomes and paradoxes of a development program for seasonal migrants run by the Italian Cooperation in Egypt. She is the co-director of two documentaries on the aftermath of the 2011 uprising in Egypt.