DMA Dialogues | Welfare after Empire: Italy, Egypt, and the politics of assistance after 1945
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Welfare after Empire: Italy, Egypt, and the politics of assistance after 1945

Welfare after Empire: Italy, Egypt, and the politics of assistance after 1945

How could a state’s distanced approach to the welfare of its national subjects shape experiences at the end of empire? In this article, I consider this question by looking at the relationship between the Italian state and the departure of Italians from Egypt after 1945. The article presents a sociopolitical history of how experiences and expectations of welfare have shaped relations between the state and its migrant subjects at the end of empire. I argue that the regional strategies of the postwar Italian state turned away from institutional support of Italian residents in Egypt as a means of positioning itself closer to Nasser’s government after 1954 and, in doing so, marginalised the interests of migrant Italians even while it relied on interwar narratives about their importance for Mediterranean political kinships. The article begins by using oral history to understand how the memories of repatriated Italians from Egypt framed the historical context of experiences and expectation…