Screening Italians - Identity, Memory and Sexuality in Migrant Italian Film and Culture Perspective

Sprio, Margherita. 2004. Screening Italians - Identity, Memory and Sexuality in Migrant Italian Film and Culture Perspective. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Film has played a significant role in shaping the British-Italian community's sense of identity in the context of post war Italian immigration into Britain. This thesis explores how (Southern Italian) cultural identity has been mediated by both historical and contemporary factors and the ways in which this identity has been shaped by the process of immigration. Nostalgia and myth have helped to shift notions of the self within the immigrant community; at the same time they have also acted as tools through which the notion of homeland and belonging could be experienced. How can cultural history be understood in relation to memory and how could this duality be negotiated in terms of understanding the construction of (Italian) cultural identity? The importance of both collective and individual memory has been made visible through ethnographic research that has involved a series of interviews with members of the Italian immigrant communities located both within London and the Home Counties of Britain.

Drawing on a series of film readings, together with an historical and theoretical overview of the construction of Italianicity, there has also been an examination of the specific impact that popular film melodramas had on what was to become the British-Italian immigrant community. These films (from the 1950s in Italy) enabled the transmission of a particular version of sexual identity that is still prevalent today in American mainstream film. These ideas have been further investigated in relation to converging authenticities of experience and how this convergence has influenced second generation Italians. An analysis of the distorted forms of continuity, in terms of how home and place are perceived, informs the more theoretical aspects of the overall project. By considering the influence of film in relation to cultural difference, this research should contribute to current debates about cultural translation.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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British-Italian community, film, identity, immigration, nostalgia, myth, cultural history, memory, ethnographic research, Italianicity, sexual identity, cultural difference, cultural identity

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Date Deposited:

06 Jul 2020 14:05

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 12:48


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