Italian Workers and Contractors in the City’s Housebuilding Industry, 1950–1980
In addressing these issues the book focuses on the role played by a specific economic sector in enabling immigrants to find their place in their new host society. More specifically, this study looks at the residential sector of the construction industry that, between the 1950s and the 1970s, represented a typical economic ethnic niche for newly arrived Italians. In fact, tens of thousands of Italian men found work in this sector as labourers, bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers and cement finishers, while hundreds of others became contractors, subcontractors or small employers in the same industry. This book is about these real people. It gives voice to a community formed both by entrepreneurial subcontractors who created companies out of nothing and a large group of exploited workers who fought successfully for their rights. In this book you will find stories of inventiveness and hope as well as of oppression and despair. The purpose is to offer an original approach to issues arising from the economic and social history of twentieth-century mass migrations.
Chapter 8: Structure vs identity? An overview of the literature and theoretical frameworks
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Structure vs identity? An overview of the literature and theoretical frameworks
8.1 Urban market economies and immigrants in North America: the key issues
In many respects Toronto is not that peculiar. We are accustomed to thinking of US and Canadian cities as remarkably heterogeneous places, populated by various communities and networks.1 In fact, the existence of ethnic enclaves represents one of the most significant characteristics of the urban experience in Canada and the USA. Their presence has activated in the host societies different mechanisms of inclusion or exclusion,2 and the literature has described them with different and controversial theoretical frameworks, such as the assimilationist or the multiculturalist as well as the transnational approaches.3
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