“Help Them Back Home”: Italian Fantasies of (Neoliberal) Inclusion from Buona Scuola to Salvini’s Government

  • Valentina Migliarini University of Bologna
Keywords: Inclusive education; refugee children; special education; education policy


This paper explores how inclusive education in the Italian context has shifted from the Marxist model based on the solidarity of Integrazione Scolastica (see D’Alessio, 2011) to a neoliberal approach which targets Black migrant and forced-migrant children. The introduction of Renzi’s policy reform, Buona Scuola, marked this shift towards neoliberal inclusion, and the current far-right government, led by Salvini, adds a populist character to it, evident in his mantra of “helping them back home”. Drawing from Butler’s (1997) notions of subjectivation and referring to Tomlinson’s (1982) concept of benevolent humanitarianism, the paper analyzes how Italian educators conceptualize the inclusion of migrants and refugees through neoliberal fantasies.  However, the space of neoliberal inclusion is ableist, racist, and exclusionary. Ultimately, the paper advances the intersectional approach of Disability Critical Race Theory (DisCrit) to (re)frame educational and social inclusion in Italy and to refute a neoliberal model that perpetuates racial disparities (Annamma, Connor, Ferri, 2013; 2016).


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