The essay by Maria Cabeza examines the changes that have occurred in relations between Argentina and Italy starting from the rise to power of Raúl Alfonsín in 1983, changes that have had a considerable influence on the relations between the two countries, to the point of considering them a break with history, reaching new high points compared to the past. This has been achieved through systems of formal relations – government contacts, treaties and protocols between the states – and informal ones, the links between their respective civil societies, have been and continue to be intense. The dynamic is also described of the separations of the two countries’ policies in the period 1993-1997, which saw a reduction in agreements and the visits of officials, and then a new consolidation of relations from 1998. During the last years of Carlos Menem’s second presidential term, the conditions were renewed of their respective policies focusing bilateral relations on two aspects: Italy’s experience with small and medium sized enterprise and the strengthening of cultural co-operation.
«Un ritorno rimandato» (A Return Postponed) refers to research in course on Argentineans descended from immigrants, in particular Italians, who contact Cemla for information on their immigrant relatives. The growing number of requests for information on immigrant forefathers confirms the direct relationship between the situation of economic and social crisis in Argentina and the tendency to emigrate by Argentineans of Italian origin. However, the phenomenon affects all nationalities. From the declarations of those involved, in the course of personal interviews, it emerges that this is a well educated but impoverished middle class. These elements reflect a context essentially of expulsion, in which the descendants of Italians try to return to Italy find a place with greater economic stability and emotional reassurance.
The preliminary results reveal the richness of the interpretation of the study of the professional development of the potential emigrants, as well as the importance of reflections on the crisis and identity for understanding migratory phenomena and social change. The study presents socio-demographic information that concerns the generational position with respect to the immigrant relative, based on forms filled in by those who turn to Cemla for information.
Bettina Favero’s essay examines the figure of Agostino Rocca, analysing his formation as an entrepreneur and his work for numerous Italian companies such as Dalmine, Ansaldo, Siac, Terni, Finsider, and Sofindit, without forgetting the period between the two wars dedicated to Banca Commerciale Italiana. Rocca’s entrepreneurial career was marked by the high management positions he reached in these companies, whose common denominator was the steel industry and its close relationship with the development of the Italian economy.
The second part describes Rocca’s move to Argentina after the war, a period when immigrants were more highly qualified and possessed their own culture. Most of the new immigrants were technicians, small entrepreneurs and merchants, all members of a middle class that was seeking opportunities and spaces that Europe did not offer then. Finally, Rocca launched and developed Techint, one of our country’s most important multinationals in recent times.
Joseph Sciorra reports on the conceptualization and implementation of a three-day event entitled «Hip Hop from the Italian Diaspora» he organized for the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute (Queens College) in Tuscany in June 2000. The event, comprised of a symposium, demonstrations of break dancing and spray can art, and two concerts, brought together Italian hip hop artists and rappers of Italian descent from Australia, Canada, Germany, and the United States.
The essay is structured, in part, as a form of ethno-autobiography. Sciorra describes his encounter with Italian rap music and its impact on him as an Italian American. In addition, he analyses early Italian rap’s social basis, political content, and musical «contaminazione», while discussing the specific contributions of participating Italian artists Frankie Hi-Nrg, La Famiglia, Malaisa and Ice One, and DJ Skizo.
Sciorra also explores intellectual and cultural work from a diasporic perspective and the potential hip hop youth culture has for creating arenas for dialogue among Italians and members of the Diaspora.
From the late 1940s until the early 70s, hundreds of thousands of Italians immigrated to Toronto. The immigrants brought with them their native foods and foodways. In Toronto, they were forced to accommodate their foodways to local situations such as climate and the availability of foodstuffs. Thus, they were able to create distinctly Italian-immigrant foodways within their neighbourhoods. Many immigrants became entrepreneurs within the food industry, and they assisted their customers in developing and maintaining Italian-immigrant foodways. Food, therefore, helped to separate the Italian immigrants from the greater society. Such segregation based, in part, on foodways was also made possible because Anglo-Celtic Torontonians regarded the Italian immigrants’ cuisine as too foreign for consumption. In time, however, the immigrants’ foods became popular; for example, pizza and spaghetti became a part of the mainstream diet. Food firms, both Italian and non-Italian, pursued greater profits by helping to popularize Italian foods. Such businesses helped to transform the status of Italian food from an unsavoury, alien dish to a delectable, ethnic platter. Indeed, food enterprises even incorporated some of the Italian-immigrant foodways into their marketing plans. As a result, Italian-immigrant food and foodways became a part of a multicultural, yet homogenized, Canadian living (culinary) experience. Nevertheless, some Italian-immigrants still follow the foodways they established upon their arrival. But these foodways will cease to be practiced once the immigrant generation is no more.