Identity and cultural maintenance: Observations from a case study of third-generation Italian-Australians in South Australia

Melanie Smans, Diana Glenn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The mass migration of Italians to South Australia in the post-WWII period had a significant impact on the resident Anglo-British population, particularly in the urban areas in which many of the new arrivals settled in the 1950s and 1960s. While the efforts of these first generation Italian-Australians have been a major focus of research for many years, and the perspectives of the second generation have also been captured, the views of the third generation are less widely documented. This essay presents findings from an investigation of issues of identity, interaction and cultural maintenance conducted among a cohort of South Australian third-generation Italian-Australians who expressed their views in a semi-structured interview format. The study explores the narrative frameworks articulated by the Italian-Australian informants with respect to the maintenance of links with their Italian heritage, for example, through identity markers, language use, foodways, membership of Italian clubs and continuing contact with relatives in Italy. The analysis offers candid snapshots of the respondents' personal reflections on their sense of Italian identity and their perceptions about the future survival and maintenance of traditions, especially family-centred traditions fostered in Australia since the 1950s. Regrettably, while expressing a yearning for the continuation of such family-oriented traditions, the informants recognise that as the first generation diminishes in number, many of the traditional regional practices may be lost irrevocably.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-514
Number of pages15
JournalStudi Emigrazione
VolumeXLVIII
Issue number183
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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