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Lifestyles, milieus-languages and the economy of the Italo-Berliner

Edith Pichler

(Universität Potsdam)

After World War II Italian workers came to Germany, recruited in the frame of a bilateral agreement between both countries in 1955. After years of stagnation at the beginning of the nineties we can observe a recommencement of Italian migration to Germany. It concerned often a new European mobility encouraged by the European integration process whose actors different from the Italians in the Fifties and Sixties are not employed in the industry but in the tertiary sector. A different Italian migrant typology however characterized the city of Berlin that had attracted people to come there because of its cultural and social life. The political, economic and social character of the City has thus promoted the immigration of a different type of Italians with relative milieus, habitus and lifestyle so defined by me: the migrant workers, the rebels, the postmodernists, and the new mobiles. Berlin is recently confronted with a new European mobility and so in the last 10 years the official number of Italian population has redoubled. Berlin's Italians are prevalently active in the gastronomy and food trade: restaurants, specialty shops, wine bars, bars. The presence of Italian establishments and shops are an attraction for Berlin’s inhabitants. In fact, part of the quarters of the City had won urban quality through the activity of ethnic entrepreneur’s and in a certain measure safety and they got also Mediterranean flair. The Italian restaurants and pubs also form the public space of the quarters Berlin. In this context we can observe an interdependence between milieu provenience, cultural capital of the entrepreneurs, period/time of immigration and the naming of the restaurants/pub. This naming is also connected with the habitus of the owner (but also with the possible clients) and a result of milieu-specific social-lingual practices.