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Making Italian AmericaConsumer Culture and the Production of Ethnic Identities$
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Simone Cinotto

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823256235

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823256235.001.0001

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Consuming Italian Americans

Consuming Italian Americans

Invoking Ethnicity in the Buying and Selling of Guido

(p.178) 10 Consuming Italian Americans
Making Italian America

Danielle Battisti

Fordham University Press

Guido is a youth subculture originating in New York City’s Italian American neighborhoods. This chapter understands Guido as a collective ethnic subject defined by a signature consumption culture or style. The chapter traces the origin of Guido to the disco movement of the 1970s; an urban Italian American youth subculture specializing in expanded opportunities for leisure-based consumption referenced to the mass media and entertainment industries. Because stylized youth identities were embedded in lived Italian American communities, consumption became an important new site for reworking ethnic cultural differences. Just as Guido symbolizes the incorporation of commodities into a new Italian American cultural identity and status, it has become a commodity that is merchandised to wider markets. Inclusion in the media spectacle—see, in particular, the reality television show Jersey Shore (2009-2012)—brings alignment with core consumption values, although it compromises subcultural boundaries. Guido is seen as part of a larger pattern that constructs Italian American difference in relation to American consumer culture while exposing ideological divisions inside the ethnic boundary.

Keywords:   Guido (subculture), Jersey Shore (television show), working-class life and culture, New York City history, 1970s-1990s, nightlife, fashion, clothes, masculinity, leisure, lifestyle, taste

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