The «European century of forced migrations» (about 1853-1953, according to Ferrara and Pianciola) has left a legacy that deeply affects European society to this day, as the case of the Austrian candidate to presidential election Alexander van Der Bellen shows. Nonetheless, the actual debate about refugees seems to ignore the deepness of this side of European history: nowadays refugees are conceived by media and institutions as mere victims of dramatic events, not as individuals with an active role on their own life. This kind of «victimary paradigm» is relatively recent but it risks to affect negatively the research on refugeedom, both in historical and social science perspectives. The article discusses this point in relation with the history of reception systems, in particular in post-1945 Italy. Taking into account the most recent literature, I argue that a more complex view is needed. Some issues in particular are highlighted: the mutual in uence between institutions and refugees; the continuum between ordinary mobility and the migration of refugees; the strati cation of refugeedom memories.
Keywords: Forced migration; Refugees reception systems; Refugeedom memories; Victimary paradigm.