Normalizing the exception: prejudice and discriminations in detention and extraordinary reception centres in Italy

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The human security of both migrants and refugees is at risk at several steps in the process of migration. This work considers that migrants’ human security is not automatically guaranteed once they reach a safe country in Europe either. This article explores how, with the evident will to bypass Italian anti-discriminatory law, derogatory legal instruments, such as law decrees, have been used to increasingly normalize the state of exception with indefinite detention and further extraordinary measures in the system of reception. The analysis of Italian laws, legislative decrees and reports in the field of migration proves that, in Italy, the state of exception has been normalized particularly from 2018 onwards through Salvini’s Security Decrees, to evidently both create additional insecurities for migrants and self-fulfill the initial prejudicial assumption that framed migration as a threat to the nation. The normalization of the exception does not stop at the borders but continues also throughout migrants’ stays, with the consequent increasing entanglement of citizens’ stereotypes and migrants’ discriminations, mainly through a self-fulfillment of prejudice, which further endanger the life of refugees, whose insecurity is left to persist across the entire Italian territory, when instead it should supposedly be a safe country for those in need of a shelter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-464
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Detention
  • Discriminations
  • Migrants reception centres
  • Prejudice
  • State of exception


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