La criminalizzazione non è uguale per tutti. Percorsi biografici di detenuti stranieri in Italia Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa, 2014, 1, 71-95



This paper argues that the controversial issue of the relationship between immigrants and crime cannot be fully understood focusing only on the crime rates of migrants. Shifting the point of view from the concept of “crime” to the “criminalization process” instead allows one to understand the complexity of the phenomenon, the plurality of the social actors involved, and the important dimensions of power and domination characterizing it. This article presents research based on nineteen life stories of foreign prisoners in an Italian prison (Padua). The aim is to analyse the impact of the migrant criminalization process during the course of the interviewees’ lives. Not everyone, in fact, has experienced this process with the same intensity as there are some factors that can produce a greater or lower impact: this research has highlighted five such factors, which will be discussed in the article.