Italian Post-War Migration to Britain: Cinema and The Second Generation

Sprio, Margherita 2019. Italian Post-War Migration to Britain: Cinema and The Second Generation. in: Retis, J. and Tsagarousianou, R. (ed.) The Handbook of Diasporas, Media and Culture UK Wiley-Blackwell.

Chapter titleItalian Post-War Migration to Britain: Cinema and The Second Generation
AuthorsSprio, Margherita
EditorsRetis, J. and Tsagarousianou, R.
Abstract

Building on my earlier research, Migrant Memories – Cultural History, Cinema and Italian Post-War Diaspora in Britain, (Peter Lang, 2013), in this essay I want to focus on the specific consequences of migration for second generation Italians born in Britain during the post 1960s era. In particular I want to look at how notions of assimilation are understood through the cultural norms transcribed through cinema and memory for a generation who did not have an original home (Italy) to go back to whilst at the same time not feeling themselves to be ‘British enough’.

Film has played a significant role in shaping the first generation British-Italian community’s sense of identity in the context of post war Italian immigration into Britain. This essay explores how (Southern Italian) cultural identity for the second generation 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 assimilation and experience and can these ideas be negotiated in terms of an understanding of the construction of cultural identity for second generation Italians? By considering the influence of film in relation to cultural assimilation, this essay will contribute to contemporary debates on diaspora.

KeywordsItalian, Britain, South East of England, Migration, Diaspora, Identity, Second-generation, Post-War, Cinema
Book titleThe Handbook of Diasporas, Media and Culture
Year2019
PublisherWiley-Blackwell
Publication dates
Published onlineMar 2019
Place of publicationUK
ISBN9781119236702
9781119236795

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