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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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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

Making Space for Domesticity

Making Space for Domesticity

House Hold Goods in Working-Class Italian American Homes, 1900–1940

(p.57) 2 Making Space for Domesticity
Making Italian America

Tirabassi Maddalena

Fordham University Press

Early-twentieth-century Italian immigrants to the United States experienced a shift from the preindustrial culture of subsistence to one of mass consumption. The home was one of the key places where this change was most visible and tangible. The essay is an attempt to deconstruct American culture from the bottom up by analyzing through immigrants’ adjustment to U.S. consumer society the interplay of Old World culture with a modern environment and showing how transnational relationships with Italy brought to the development of “glocal” identities still at work. In so doing, the chapter follows the recent transnational research, carried on both in Italy and in the United States, by exploring the beginnings of Italian American consumerism in the domestic realm. Leaving behind them a world of scarcity with few available objects, Italian immigrant women developed a distinctive domesticity in urban America. By transforming their material culture into an Italian American lifestyle, immigrants created a unique, coherent identity.

Keywords:   working-class home, material culture, folklore, Italian Americans, consumer culture, immigrant women, household appliances, furniture, and decorations, domesticity, immigration, ethnicity, taste

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