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American Woman, Italian StyleItalian Americana's Best Writings on Women$
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Carol Bonomo Albright and Christine Palamidessi Moore

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780823231751

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823231751.001.0001

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Gender Relations among Italian Americans

Gender Relations among Italian Americans

(p.110) Gender Relations among Italian Americans
American Woman, Italian Style

Carol Bonomo Jennngs

Christine Palamidessi Moore

Fordham University Press

This chapter attempts to convey some of the thickly textured patterns of Italian-American gender relations. Edward C. Banfield put forth the theory of the southern Italian social system as an egregious example of “amoral familism.” This theory is still widely used by social scientists and other writers in influential intellectual circles. Banfield's view that people in southern Italy had no community or social moralities, only loyalty to their nuclear families' short term interests, is often cited or quoted. The patriarchal and amoral familism theories of the Italian-American family are well entrenched, not only among scholars, but also among oldstyle nativists and others who still speak of the Italian immigrants' “less than ideal cultural baggage,” which caused and still causes problems for a morally superior American culture.

Keywords:   gender relations, Italian Americans, amoral familism, Edward C. Banfield, southern Italy, American culture, nuclear families, patriarchal

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