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Locating the Other: Antonio Tabucchi's Narratives of Cultural Identities

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Traditionally a country of emigration, Italy found itself transformed to a net receiver of immigrants in the last three decades of the twentieth century. The new migration patterns have deeply altered Italian national and cultural identities. Acclaimed writer Antonio Tabucchi has, for some time, contested dominant discourses of European identity, addressing national borders and cultural boundaries as a factor of personal and collective identity formation. He has participated actively in recent debates on the place of the Roma (gypsies) in Europe and has repeatedly drawn attention to the social and political factors that separate the Roma from mainstream Italian society. It is against this background that Tabucchi's narratives becomes exemplary: problematising, as they do, the notion of national territory and representing nomadic subjects who remain located outside normative spaces, thus disrupting the vision of homogeneous national spaces. I argue that Tabucchi uses the topos of the border both to challenge discourses of nationalist place-making and to explore the potential of border zones to provide alternative visions of cultural identity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2007

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