Italian and Italian American Identity: A Visual Approach
This essay is a brief exploration of the related concepts of Italian Ethnicity and Italian Ethnic Identity via a Visual Sociological study of two geographically different venues — Italian American neighbourhoods in the United States and neighbourhoods in Rome, Italy. By studying the Vernacular Landscape (Jackson, 1984) via the methods of Visual Sociology (Grady, 1996 and Harper, 1988, Rieger, 1996), and the theoretical perspectives of Urbanization of Capital (Harvey, 1989) and Spatial Semeiotics (Gottdiener, 1994) the question: “What does it mean for mean for a place of a space to ‘Look Italian’?” is addressed. For data, the discourse draws from my extensive collection of visual studies in both the United States and Italy of the “Public Realms”, or spaces accessible to all (Lofland, 1998 ). Here are featured my observations and photographic research on the “New Immigrants to Rome”.