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Italian immigrants in contemporary Buenos Aires: Their responses to changing political, economic and social circumstances.

Schneider, Arnd (1992) Italian immigrants in contemporary Buenos Aires: Their responses to changing political, economic and social circumstances. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The thesis is a study of Italians and their descendants in Buenos Aires and shows how they responded as individuals, families and groups, to changing political, economic and social situations in 20th century Argentina. Fieldresearch focused in particular on upper middle class and upper class Italians, and chapter 1 discusses their status with regard to the class structure of Argentine society. Italy is now among the world's top industrial nations, and Argentina, once a major immigration country, is now part of the so-called Third World. Chapters 2 and 3 provide the historical background to this 'inversion of roles' and consider its impact on Italians and their descendants. Chapter 4 is a detailed examination of the Argentine in 1988/89, a crucial year, characterized by the first democratic succession of presidents in 60 years, as well as by chronic economic problems. Chapter 5 familiarizes the reader with the urban context, where people live, work and interact: the historically formed geographic and social subdivisions of Buenos Aires. Chapter 6 is a study of Italian elite families and their descendants. Taking a diachronic approach, it investigates related issues of ethnic and national identity, class distinctions and political ideologies. These concerns remain consistent throughout the thesis: Chapter 7, taking a more chronological approach, looks at the narratives of three old men who came to Argentina in the times of mass immigration. In chapter 8, the controversial nature of becoming Argentine, characterized by interrupted processes of modernization and economic decline, surfaces in a discussion between an Italian and a descendant of Italians. The young generation descendants of Italian immigrants and their particular distinctions of food, language, class and political ideologies are analyzed in chapter 9. The politics of ethnicity and ethnic leadership are scrutinized in chapter 10. The concluding chapter 11, reflecting partly on the permutations of the image of 'America' among immigrants and descendants, develops some of the earlier issues in view of more theoretical concerns of image formation related to ethnic and national identity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anthropology, Cultural, Latin American Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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