Since the global financial crisis of 2008, Italy has struggled to stabilize its economy. It has also been on the frontlines of the European Union’s “migration crisis,” intercepting hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum-seekers at sea and on its shores, all the while lacking adequate infrastructure and resources for humane reception. Recent and ongoing austerity measures enforced by the EU and the IMF have compounded extant forms of suffering on multiple fronts; Italians are facing fewer employment opportunities, lower pensions, and higher taxes, while incoming migrants, viewed by many as “drains on the state,” struggle to navigate the weakened bureaucratic apparatus of the Italian state and to access vital resources. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the Italian provinces of Lazio and Sicily in early 2014 and 2016, my talk will explore the imbricated economic and health vulnerabilities of Italians and their migrant counterparts, and allude to the lived experience of economic austerity that has percolated throughout the Mediterranean borderlands.
Megan Carney is a medical and sociocultural anthropologist. She has been a faculty member at the University of Washington since 2012. Her research focuses on gendered and transnational migration, migrant health, social movements, and biopolitics, both in the Western United States and Southern Italy. In 2015, Dr. Carney published The Unending of Hunger: Tracing Women and Food Insecurity Across Borders with University of California Press. The book explores the lived experiences of migration from Mexico and Central America to the United States and the transnational dimensions of food insecurity. It was awarded the 2015 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine. Dr. Carney's work has been published in a wide range of sources, such as Medical Anthropology Quarterly, The Journal of Political Ecology, and Gender, Sexuality and Feminism. In collaboration with Professors Katharyne Mitchell and Ricardo Gomez, she is being funded through a Simpson Center award to study spaces of Sanctuary in the EU and the United States. Currently, she is working on another book manuscript about the migrant solidarity movement in Sicily that is titled Island of Hope: Migration and Solidarity in the Mediterranean. Since 2013, she has been a contributing editor of Anthropology News and a board member of the Society for Medical Anthropology. She also serves as an advisory member of the new Public Education Initiative of the American Anthropological Association "World on the Move: 100,000 Years of Human Migration" that is striving to educate a wider public about migration. Dr. Carney is a board member for the Seattle-based nonprofit Puentes whose mission is to stand with undocumented families through advocacy, education, and mental health.