Community, belonging and intimate ethnicity

Fortier, Anne-Marie (2006) Community, belonging and intimate ethnicity. Modern Italy, 11 (1). pp. 63-77. ISSN 1469-9877

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This paper analyses the role of the Centro Scalabrini in London in defining a sense of belonging and identification for Italians in Britain. The essay broadens the conventional focus on how community organizations contribute to constructing an ‘imagined community' for minority or migrant populations by suggesting that organizations are used as cultural objects and collective props for enacting and experiencing collective affective belonging abroad. The paper examines the processes through which community spaces themselves are constructed as scenes of ethnicity, for example, in the visual and narrative accounts of events found in the community press. However, rather than arguing that ethnic organizations simply reproduce an identity and culture, it is argued that the community centre offers intimations of ethnicity, as well as ‘intimate ethnicity', for those who use it and move through it. As a locale in which Italians and other migrants can find themselves again (ritrovarsi), what the centre offers is not the continuity or reproduction of the old world; it is the production of a portable Italianness through traces that are filled with sensuality, with the bodily experience of contact.

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Journal Article
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Modern Italy
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25 Feb 2013 14:44
Last Modified:
21 Sep 2023 01:30