Intergenerational identity shift among Italian immigrants in the Nottingham area
This thesis presents the results of an intergenerational study on families of Italian origin living in the Nottingham area. In particular, it investigates the ways in which intergenerational ethnic identity transmission takes place among immigrants and their offspring, as well as the variables involved in the second and third generations' construction of hyphenated or transnational identities. Among these variables, special attention is devoted to the role of the family, both nuclear and extended. A comparative analysis of interviews with members of three-generational families suggests that the children and grandchildren of the Italian immigrants who arrived in the UK in the period after the Second World War develop their ethnic identity and cultural affiliation dialectically. This dialectic takes place in a continuous exchange between the self and `the other(s)', more specifically, one or more of the following: parents, children, Italians in Italy, Italians in Nottingham, the host society, the peer group and other minority groups. Moreover, the `constructed' relative physical invisibility of the group considered plays an extremely important role in the identity building process. Identity is a situational construct, based on oppositional relationships. This study has revealed that the family of origin is the main arena for the transmission of cultural features, attitudes, behaviour and practices. These are highly symbolic, but contextually objective and relevant, elements for the self- and hetero- discrimination and categorisation of people of Italian origin.