Marriage Al ‘Mosaico’ in Divorzio All’Islamica a Viale Marconi: Muslim-Arab Migrants’ Code Switching at Play in Amara Lakhous’ Novel


The present article focuses on a popular novel set in Rome, Divorzio all’ islamica a Viale Marconi (2010), in which the Italian-Algerian author Amara Lakhous discusses the struggles of immigrants in an ‘arabicized Italian’ narrative style. The study offers insights on the patterns and meanings of code-switching as used by postcolonial Muslim-Arab migrants living in Italy. The fact that non-Italian codes (Arabic, French, and English) are often followed by an equivalent translation into Italian- the original language of the text- brings forward the questioning of the reason behind this particular kind of code-switching. That is, according to the text, if Italian lexical support is sufficient to describe emotions, attitudes, and behaviours, what function does code-switching play for Muslim-Arab migrants living in Italy? And is this function motivated by the dynamics of a strategic convivencia or by some hidden potencies of Othering? I argue that there exists in Divorzio all’islamica a viale Marconi a coexisting relationship between code-switching and identity, and that code switching in the novel acts as a polyphonic bridge that ingeniously connects the gap between multiple voices giving rise thereby to a hybrid zone where negotiation of meaning occurs. In this research, I opt to use Mikhail Bakhtin’s dialogic theory as well as Homi Bhabha’s postcolonial theory of hybridity and the ‘third space’ in order to approach thoroughly the sociolinguistic phenomenon in question.

Author Information
Nour Seblini, Wayne State University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICAHHawaii2017
Stream: Humanities - Literature/Literary Studies*

This paper is part of the IICAHHawaii2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon