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Why the hyphen? Individual and collective memories of Italianness in the United States at the intersection of class and generation


Wirth, Christa (2016). Why the hyphen? Individual and collective memories of Italianness in the United States at the intersection of class and generation. Immigrants & Minorities : Historical Studies in Ethnicity, Migration and Diaspora, 34(1):22-48.

Abstract

This three-generation oral history study offers insight into why descendants of Italian migrants to the United States still choose hyphenated identities today. The research project shows how the meaning of Italianness shifts among the interviewees depending on class affiliation: among the middle-class offspring the use of the hyphen can be understood mainly as a reaction to the experienced pressure to give in to Anglo conformity. Among the blue-collar, urban progeny, Italianness expresses itself as a combination of an experienced ethnic environment on the one hand and a symbolic ethnicity on the other.

Abstract

This three-generation oral history study offers insight into why descendants of Italian migrants to the United States still choose hyphenated identities today. The research project shows how the meaning of Italianness shifts among the interviewees depending on class affiliation: among the middle-class offspring the use of the hyphen can be understood mainly as a reaction to the experienced pressure to give in to Anglo conformity. Among the blue-collar, urban progeny, Italianness expresses itself as a combination of an experienced ethnic environment on the one hand and a symbolic ethnicity on the other.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of History
Dewey Decimal Classification:900 History
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:14 Dec 2015 15:34
Last Modified:26 Oct 2016 00:00
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0261-9288
Additional Information:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Immigrants and Minorities on 26 Oct 2015, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02619288.2015.1065736.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/02619288.2015.1065736

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