Sushi-eating secondos and Casual Latins: Political movements and the emergence of a Latino counter-culture among second-generation Italians in Switzerland

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Abstract

Migrant youth develop different ways of dealing with their migrant background, some celebrate and reify their ethnicity, some distance themselves from people of the same background, and some situationally create new cultural repertoires and draw on multiple cultural frameworks. This paper describes two different ways in which second-generation Italians in Switzerland publicly celebrate their migrant background. Although they all grew up in similar socio-economic conditions, some have appropriated a discourse that celebrates cultural diversity as an integral part of Swiss society with the aim of increasing their political rights, while others publicly emphasise their Italianness and use Latino cultural categories to assert their ethnicity. Both groups employ a culturalist discourse, the former emphasising their belonging to Swiss society and culture, and the latter celebrating their difference. This paper discusses how these two kinds of identity politics are on the one hand related to the socio-economic and cultural context in which the second generation grew up, and, on the other, to the educational background and peer-group associations developed during young adulthood. By showing this plurality of social and cultural patterns of belonging among members of the second generation, the paper highlights the reflexive character of cultural practice and discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-360
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Intercultural Studies
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • Ethnic Reification
  • Politics of Recognition
  • Second-Generation Italians

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