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Between Peasant and Urban Villager

Italian-Americans of New Jersey and New York, 1880-1980- "The Structures of Counter-Discourse</I>


Michael Eula

Between Peasant and Urban Villager is a cultural history of the Italian-American working class in New Jersey and New York. It is a demonstration of how the cultural realm functions as an arena of class conflict on the plane of everyday life. It is also a study of cultural discourses - Roman Catholicism, funerals, adolescence - and the rhetoric of daily life which, through the 1980s, always assumed a boundary of equally compelling, yet contrary cultural expressions which many have called the dominant culture. The discourse of the area's Anglo-American middle class, like that of Italian-American workers, has historically functioned to define an interior sense of togetherness along with an outward perception of otherness.
Contents: I. Preface: Structures, Discourses, and the Rhetoric of Working Class Culture - II. Rituals of Death - III. The Crucible of Adolescence - IV. Religion and the Struggle Against Domination - V. Conclusion: The «Impossibility» of the Counter-Discourse.