Although classical research on social stratification has widely considered the geographical dimensions of social inequalities, surprisingly fewer studies have focused on how spatial arrangements affect the intergenerational reproduction of social inequalities in the last decades. The GESI (Geography and Social Inequality in Italy) is the first comprehensive study that investigates how the geographical area of origin affects different aspects of individual life courses and reverberates on social inequalities in life outcomes in Italy.
The project considers the multidimensional and cumulative nature of social stratification, focusing on different aspects of individuals’ life chances: educational and occupational opportunities, social mobility pathways, family dynamics and internal geographical mobility.
Four aims are addressed:
a) to investigate the effects of geographical origin on individuals’ life outcomes;
b) to study how geographical origin intersects with other dimensions of social inequality (e.g. education, social background of origin, etc.);
c) to examine how internal geographical mobility reinforces existing social inequalities;
d) to collect new and original data on different aspects of social and geographical inequalities.
The GESI project adopts a multi-method approach, not only focusing on existing publicly-available datasets, but also conducting:
a) a new quantitative survey on a representative sample of the Italian population, aiming at filling a substantial lack of data on detailed geographical origin, internal mobility and related social inequalities;
b) a set of qualitative interviews in a theoretically-selected sample of marginal areas, aiming at studying the relations between migrants and stayers and highlighting the role of trans-local social networks.
GESI is an interdisciplinary project, involving five research units (Milan, Trento, Catania, Bologna and Roma Luiss) with specialists in different areas of social sciences and in different methodological approaches. The GESI project is organically connected with the international literature and with other research projects under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Finally, through a structured dissemination plan, combined with the advice of a high-level international board, the GESI project provides relevant scientific and socio-economic impacts.