Category Archives: Economy

Italians in Australia: past and present

Few recent historians or social scientists have written extended studies of Italians in Australia. Several collections – different authors analysing particular aspects of Italian lifeworlds – have appeared but Gianfranco Cresciani’s The Italians in Australia (CUP, 2003, updating his 1985 original) is the only example of an overall treatment. Now Francesco Ricatti’s Italians in Australia. History, Memory, Identity (Palgrave, 2018) aims to incorporate the demographic, social and cultural evidence gathered over the past twenty years (notably Loretta Baldassar on international caring, Antonia Rubino on language use, Catherine Dewhirst on the press, Simone Battiston and Bruno Mascitelli on politics) and integrate it into an overall portrayal of the Italian communities past and present. Work, family, language, religion, and politics are the organising topics, treated to emphasize – unlike many of the older discussions of such communities – the ways in which immigrants actively shape their own lives within well-known  institutional, social and cultural constraints. The outcome is valuable on two levels: as an introduction to the current literature for students and as a survey of issues for future scholarly research.

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Recent Italian migration to Australia

Much has been written about Italian migration to Australia in the 1950s and 1960s but little is known about the new, young, skilled and educated Italian migrants of today. A new study, Australia’s New Wave of Italian Migration: Paradise or Illusion? (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2017), edited by Bruno Mascitelli & Riccardo Armillei, will be launched by Joe Lo Bianco (University of Melbourne) at CO.AS.IT., 199 Faraday Street, Carlton on Thursday 5 Oct 2017 at 6.30pm (free event: RSVP here). The book tackles many aspects of Italian migration, short-term and long-term, to Australia over the past twenty years, enabling us – thanks to the wide range of expertise among the contributors – to deepen our understanding of the scope and meaning of its multiple facets.      Continue reading


Diaspore italiane – Italy in Movement

The international three-conference project, Diaspore italiane: Italy in Movement, begins with its inaugural event, Living Transcultural Space, in Melbourne on 5-7 April 2018: the call for papers is now open. The other two conferences will be Transnationalism and Questions of Identity in New York (1-3 November 2018) and Between Immigration and Historical Amnesia in Genoa (27-29 June 2019).  Full details of the project can be found on its website. The Melbourne conference, taking place in a multicultural city with a large Italian community now entering the third generation, will explore the notion of transcultural living as a practice and an ideal. Transcultural contexts show cultural identities in motion as they develop in reciprocal contact, emerging as historical constructs carried forward by transcultural subjects. Two of the key themes addressed at the conference will therefore be how ideas of identities in motion compare with traditional ways of understanding cultural identities as fixed essences, typically anchored to notions of blood, land or divinity, and whether migration, diaspora and colonial studies are paradigmatic of emancipatory discourses and practices for the 21st century.

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Smoke gets in your eyes, Italian style

contentFor over a century, Carl Ipsen argues in Fumo, Italy has had a love affair with the cigarette. Perhaps no consumer item better symbolizes the economic, political, social and cultural dimensions of recent Italian history. From around 1900 the new and popular cigarette spread down the social hierarchy and eventually, in the 1960s, across the gender divide. For much of the century cigarette consumption was an index of economic well-being and of modernism: only at the century’s end did its meaning change as Italy achieved economic parity with other Western powers and entered the antismoking era. Ipsen draws on film, literature, and the popular press to offer a view of Italy’s ‘cigarette century’ from the 1870s to the ban on public smoking in 2005, tracing the links between smoking and imperialism, world war, Fascism, and the protest movements of the 1970s.

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Documentary Film and Migration in Twentieth-century Italy – CfP

20477368The Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies is calling for proposals of contributions to a special issue, Documentary Film and Migration in Twentieth-century Italy, guest-edited by Gaoheng Zhang (Department of Italian Studies, University of Toronto). Long before the 2015 refugee and migrant crisis captured international attention, Italy was at the forefront of the European management of post-Cold War mass immigration from around the globe. Only thirty years earlier the country was itself undergoing a large-scale internal migration from the South to the North, and from countryside to city. Still earlier, between the late 19th and mid-20th centuries,  Italians had emigrated to the Americas, Northern Europe, Australia, and elsewhere, constituting one of the most significant labor diasporas in modern history. These events have been decisive for Italy as a nation, a people and a cultural entity. How did the only new major art form developed in the twentieth century—the cinema—represent and influence these migrations? In particular, how did documentary cinema—arguably contemporary Italy’s most versatile and prolific film genre—respond to and reflect on the migratory flows?

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Agnelli, Pirelli, Brambilla? No. Hu, Chen, Zhang…

154049272-158a01e7-f0c0-4ef0-9ffd-0bea5a3fb40fPostscript to the call for papers on relations between China and Italy (August 26). HERE are the names of the most common surnames among the entrepreneurs who set up new businesses in Italy in the first 8 months of this year. The Camera di Commercio of Monza and Brianza examined a sample of 7 regions (only one in south Italy) and turned up what will probably be some surprises. Check out the Veneto ….

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Renaissance credit/Mafia organisation

EUR55_02Full disclosure: there is no relation between the two topics in the title above except their appearance in the same recent issue of the Archives Européennes de Sociologie/European Journal of Sociology (2014, v.55, no.2). In ‘The circulation of interpersonal credit in Renaissance Florence’ Paul McLean and Neha Gondal analyze a large network of interpersonal credit ties among Renaissance Florentine élite households to determine how Florentine personal credit was organised. After examining participation by people from different categories (neighborhoods, factions, and guilds), they conclude that use of credit provided an important mechanism for confirming élite membership and solidarity. In ‘How Do Mafias Organise? Conflict and Violence in Three Mafia Organizations’ Maurizio Catino tracks the relationship between organisational structure and type of criminal behaviour in Cosa Nostra, Camorra, and ‘Ndrangheta. Using historical, judicial and statistical evidence, he shows how differences in the degree of organisational hierarchy produce differences in both levels and targets of violence.

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The ‘Problem’ of Migrant Health in Post-War Australia

Eureka copyOn 25 March, 6.30pm at the Museo Italiano (199 Faraday Street, Carlton 3053), Dr Eureka Henrich (University of Leicester) will give a talk on The ‘Problem’ of Migrant Health in Post-War Australia.

In the quarter-century following the Second World War Australia embarked upon an unprecedented immigration programme which encouraged 2.5 million people to move to the other side of the world. Assisted passage agreements were brokered with Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, West Germany, Austria, Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia, as well as with the International Refugee Organisation, the latter facilitating the journeys of more than 170,000 refugees from Central and Eastern Europe. These migrants were intended to increase national security by bolstering the Australian population, and to provide the essential labour for an expanding economy. The Department of Information, together with the Department of Immigration orchestrated a publicity campaign to allay domestic concerns about the arrival of so many ‘Poms’ and ‘foreigners’. They emphasised the health and assimilability of these ‘New Australians’, portraying robust and friendly young workers keen to shake off their pasts and become fellow citizens. To attract migrants, an image of Australia as a ‘healthy haven’ was cultivated, with an emphasis on quality of life and an abundance of opportunities.

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From the journals: politics as it happened, might have happened, never did happen …

cmit20.v019.i02.coverrmis20.v018.i02.coverThe current special issues of Modern Italy (vol.20, no.1, 2015) and the Journal of Modern Italian Studies (vol.20, no.2, 2015) are dedicated to politics. Their titles indicate the focus: ‘Berlusconi’s impact and legacy’ (Modern Italy) and ‘Italy 1990–2014: the transition that never happened’ (JMIS). 

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Austerity’s contribution to political convergence: Italy and Greece

fses20.v018.i04.coverIn their ‘Living Parallel Lives: Italy and Greece in an Age of Austerity’, South European Society and Politics (2013, vol.18, 3: 397-426) available free online, Susannah Verney and Anna Bosco track the ways in which the politics of Italy and Greece have come to resemble each other in recent years. Given the imminent Greek elections and the potentially far-reaching ramifications for the European Union of a victory by the Greek leftwing party Syriza, the analysis is particularly useful in identifying the apparently fundamental changes in the personnel and parties which dominate both political scenes. The authors are sure that these changes are part of a transition but are unclear as to what new kind of normal service might resume at its end-point.

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