Ornella Urso


Ornella Urso




Ornella Urso is a PhD student in Political Science at the Scuola Normale Superiore – Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences. She is visiting researcher at the University of Leicester (UK), joining the Department of Politics and the Leicester Migration Network.

Prior to beginning her PhD studies, she graduated in ‘Political Science’ at the Scuola Superiore di Catania (Italy), with a dissertation thesis focused on Mediterranean Politics. She received a BA degree in ‘Politics and International Relations’ and a MA degree in ‘Global Politics and Euro-Mediterranean Relations’ from the University of Catania (Italy), both with full marks and honours. Her MA dissertation on “Migration Flows in the Mediterranean Area: Tunisia and Libya as Bridges between Africa and Europe” constitutes a research development on EU policies on migration across member states (and their national extreme-right political parties’ programs) and towards Southern Mediterranean partner countries.

Membership: Italian Association of Political Science (SISP)

European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR)

The academic association for contemporary European Studies (UACES)


Research Interest: Migration, EU Politics, Euro-Mediterranean Relations, Comparative Politics, Media Studies.


Supervisor: Cristian Vaccari (Associate Professor – University of Bologna and Reader – Royal Holloway University of London)


Co-supervisor: Marcello Carammia (Senior Lecturer – University of Malta)



Provisional Title: The Politicization of the Immigration Issue in Italy and Spain.

The dissertation explores the existing connection between frames and politicization of the immigration issue. It offers a comprehensive theoretical perspective in the study of immigration frames through the integration of media and political science.

The concept of frame reflects the multidimensional facets of the immigration issue. At the same time, certain political actors play a crucial role in monopolising this issue within the public debate. In doing so, they shape migration following their political strategy and specific interests. Therefore, framing consists in providing different and peculiar ‘worldviews’ (Ferree et al. 2002).

The specific focus on the degree of politicization brings into the analysis other relevant dimensions, such as conflict (or polarization) and the issue salience over time. Unsurprisingly, the process of politicization reflects the contested nature of the immigration issue. This is particularly the case within the political debate in the so-called ‘new immigration countries’, like Italy and Spain.

Aim of the research is to measure to what extent political actors frame the immigration issue by investigating political actors’ competition and the overall debate in such issue-driven conflict (Schatschneider 1960). The research is part of the ‘Support and Opposition to Migration’ (SOM) project funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the EU, extending the data collection of the original project to the Italian case and comparing it with the case of Spain.