The Rights of Those Who Have No Rights : Italian Parent Committees in Local Educational Politics in Zurich (1960-1980)

Although Italian immigrants in Switzerland were not allowed to participate in political elections or vote, they had frequently created their own, alternative ways to influence politics. So-called Parent Committees, initiated by Italian immigrant associations, addressed local school authorities and found various ways of contributing to education policies at the local level. Following the perspective of Critical Citizenship Studies, the contribution analyses the different modes as well as the limits of local cooperation of Italian Parent Committees and local school boards. In spite of having no official citizenship rights, immigrants were nevertheless able to ‘act as citizens’. In doing so, they often succeeded in mitigating some of the basic problems of Italian children being disadvantaged at school—although they did not solve these problems entirely. Proceeding persistently, yet pragmatically, the Italian Parent Committees faced serious restrictions when it came to changing school practices on a more fundamental level.


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