Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Making Italian AmericaConsumer Culture and the Production of Ethnic Identities$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Simone Cinotto

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823256235

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823256235.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

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: 29 July 2021

In Italy Everyone Enjoys It—Why Not in America?

In Italy Everyone Enjoys It—Why Not in America?

Italian Americans and Consumption in Transnational Perspective During the Early Twentieth Century

(p.71) 3 In Italy Everyone Enjoys It—Why Not in America?
Making Italian America

Elizabeth Zanoni

Fordham University Press

The magnitude of Italian imports in the United States before World War II reflected the role that immigrants played in fostering the commercial flows. Italian immigrants’ conspicuous fondness of imported goods, from cigars to laces to olive oil, witnessed their attempt at articulating their diasporic nostalgia, identity, and taste through shopping, as well as the centrality of consumption in the project of diasporic nationalism—regularly encouraged as it was by the local/transnational immigrant mercantile elites and their supporters in the Italian government abroad. The chapter expands on scholarship by historians such as Lizabeth Cohen and Meg Jacobs who describe consumption’s role as a complex but ultimately successful tool of U.S. nation and citizenship building. The chapter concludes that, instead, by buying and consuming items from Italy, immigrants acted as transnational consumers who formed their national identities around goods from their homeland, as well as around those in their host countries. It was not only Italians’ participation in U.S. consumer culture that turned migrants toward consumption; rather, it was also migrants’ transnational familial, community, and national sentiments that made consumption increasingly acceptable among a people more used to saving than spending. The consumption of Italian exports abroad in some cases strengthened migrants’ ties to their homeland, while fostering a more distinct ethnic and Italian identity in the United States.

Keywords:   transnationalism, Italian Americans, Italian immigrants, ethnic food, immigrant consumers, ethnicity, diasporic nationalism, immigrant entrepreneurship, Il Progresso Italo Americano, consumer culture, U.S.-Italy trade

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .