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Outsiders as Invaders: on the Attitudes of Maltese Citizens toward Irregular Immigrants

Contributions from European Symbolic Interactionists: Conflict and Cooperation

ISBN: 978-1-78441-856-4, eISBN: 978-1-78441-855-7

ISSN: 0163-2396

Publication date: 2 July 2015

Abstract

Malta is a small, densely populated, and dominantly Catholic island republic not too far off the North-African coast. Before 2002, Malta never had to deal with many irregular immigrants. Nevertheless, negative stigmas toward “southerners” were pre-existent and seemed to have been around for centuries. This stigmatization was caused by a historical identification of the self of Maltese citizens as Christian Europeans. By 2002, irregular migration patterns changed and thousands of African irregular immigrants started arriving by boat every year. Keeping in mind the smallness of the island, this had a considerable impact on its ethnographic landscape. Pre-existing stigmas strongly persisted, additional stigmas were created, and many supposed inconveniences were fabricated by the Maltese citizenry. The title “outsiders as invaders” is quoted from an interview with a Maltese expert on irregular migration. This brings attention to the fact that stigmatized persons who are living in Malta are still regularly demonized and seen as “the others” by mainstream society. Even today barely any effort is made by Maltese society, institutions, or even its government to support integration and acceptance of non-European outsiders.

Keywords

Citation

Van Hooren, D. (2015), "Outsiders as Invaders: on the Attitudes of Maltese Citizens toward Irregular Immigrants", Contributions from European Symbolic Interactionists: Conflict and Cooperation (Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Vol. 45), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 75-97. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0163-239620150000045004

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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