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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: 18 September 2021

Radical Visions and Consumption

Radical Visions and Consumption

Culture and Leisure Among the Early Twentieth-Century Italian American Left

(p.117) 6 Radical Visions and Consumption
Making Italian America

Marcella Bencivenni

Fordham University Press

The chapter identifies the arguments early-twentieth-century Italian socialists and anarchists in the United States elaborated transnationally about the challenges and opportunities the labor movement was presented with in the face of capitalist material abundance and shortcomings in its egalitarian distribution. Italian radicals tried to accommodate in original ways their critique of American consumerism with their efforts at offering organized moments of leisure and material enjoyment for militants and sympathizers. Political picnics, and other leisure activities and cultural institutions that the essay discusses, were part of a distinctive “movement culture” that helped shape, sustain, and spread an alternative lifestyle within the Little Italies. They were key occasions for political propaganda and fundraising, but they also became “forms of consumption that gave a sense of collective life” to Italian immigrants, reinforcing their working-class and ethnic identity.

Keywords:   Italian American radicalism, Italian Americans, immigrant radicals, internationalism, working-class leisure, consumer culture, critiques of consumerism, consumer culture, working-class life and culture, politics of consumption

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