Send to

Choose Destination
Soc Sci Med. 2017 Aug;187:251-258. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.02.041. Epub 2017 Mar 1.

"Sharing One's Destiny": Effects of austerity on migrant health provisioning in the Mediterranean borderlands.

Author information

University of Washington, Anthropology, Denny Hall, Box 353100, Seattle, WA, 98195-3100, United States. Electronic address:


Italy has 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. Yet it has lacked adequate resources to ensure humane reception, as other forms of welfare state provisioning have also been rolled back through recent and ongoing austerity measures enforced by the EU and the IMF. While Italians face fewer employment opportunities, lower pensions, and higher taxes, migrants of precarious legal status and asylum-seekers struggle to navigate the weakened bureaucratic apparatus of the Italian state, including the health system. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the Italian provinces of Lazio and Sicily in early 2014 and 2016, this article documents the imbricated economic and health struggles of Italian citizens and noncitizens, and alludes to lived experiences of and community responses to economic austerity characterizing much of the Mediterranean borderlands. I argue that marginalization by the state of both citizens and noncitizens in this setting undergirds some of the local and community responses to economic austerity. Moreover, I suggest that contemporary struggles in this geopolitical context intersect in important ways with the repercussions of austerity legacies that have contributed to widespread displacement in neighboring regions and subsequent migration into the EU.


Austerity; Crisis; Healthcare provisioning; Italy; Migrant health; Solidarity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center