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Patriarchal Structures and Ethnicity in the Italian Community in Britain by Azadeh Medaglia (PhD 1998)

30 March 2012

This text focuses on the forms and specificities of gender relations within the Italian community in Britian. When migration to Britain, from Italy, began the patriarchal traditions and belief systems the Italian migrants brought with them were rigid and strongly held. However, life in modern Britain has posed new challenges and led to some major adaptations.

In contemporary Britain, Italians represent an ethnic group. They participate in most aspects of British social life while retaining strong ethnic particularities and solid attachment to their mother country and its culture. This book highlights debates on theorizing patriarchy and on changes of gender relations in the Italian community. These changes identify: the way in which women have adapted to their social, cultural and economic background; their role in the integration of the family; their position within the household as dictated by Italian culture; the impact of paid employment on their role within the reproductive sphere; their changing subjectivity; the stumbling blocks on their path to integration; their conflicts, differences and similarities with their second and third generation daughters.