From scapegoats to ‘good’ immigrants?
Title: From scapegoats to ‘good’ immigrants?
Author: KOKKALI, Ifigeneia
Citation: Quaderni del circolo Rosselli, 2011, Vol. 110, No. 3, pp. 161-173
ISSN: 1123-9700; 2038-7075
The massive concentration of the Albanian migration over a short period of time has marked this particular flow as a unique case. Greece has been the destination par excellence of Albanian out-migration, while 60 percent of the country's foreign immigrants come solely from Albania. Greek public opinion, Greek media and the state have viewed immigrants and Albanians in particular, first, with suspicion and resentment, then with a utilitarian and paternalist spirit, since the latter, post-2004, were perceived as beneficial to the country's economy. This shift together with the changes brought to the ethno-national structure of the foreign population of Greece due to the entrance of new immigrants from Asia and Africa in the mid-2000s, had a significant impact on the perception of the Albanians by the dominant society. From scapegoats they were until the early 2000s, at the end of the decade they become the 'good' and integrated immigrants of the Greek society. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that this 'integration' is only integration by name. For this purpose, I draw on an empirical study conducted in 2005-2006 in Greece, as well as on the relevant literature. My argument starts from a brief overview of the Greek immigration policy that has opened 'Pandora's Box' for the hostile perception of the Albanians. Then, I try to discuss the reasons that brought a shift to this perception and why the Albanians are currently thought to be the most integrated foreign population of Greece. Finally, I distinguish three preconditions that - according to me - permit discussions to go freely on the issue of the successful integration of Albanian immigrants in Greece.
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