Italians in Australia: History, memory, identity
Palgrave Macmillan, $102 hb, 147 pp, 9783319788722
In its interrogation and negotiation of contemporary theoretical frameworks and practices at the core of the Italian–Australian migration complex, Francesco Ricatti’s comprehensive study offers a fresh and lucid understanding of the interrelation of core issues and processes affecting settlement and governance of immigration strategies for Italian arrivals in Australia during the past one hundred and fifty years.
A relatively short volume, considering its broad subject, Ricatti’s analysis is nevertheless amply illuminated by the key foci of historical narrative, identity, and memory viewed through a transcultural frame. The author captures the resilience and inventiveness of migrant protagonists operating in the dioramas of preand postwar enterprise; a cultural context replete with strategies that go beyond the well-versed catalogue of the crystallisation of cultural mores, the calcification of traditional values and customs, as well as the familiar socio-economic stories of financial success and endeavour. In reconfiguring the migration narrative’s staple coordinates, Ricatti’s approach represents a fundamental shift in our thinking and a significant revision of the theoretical underpinnings of past decades of scholarship on Italy’s mass-migration history.