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Re-membering places and the performance of belonging(s).

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date04/1999
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Journal number2
Volume16
Number of pages24
Pages41-64
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Focusing on discourses and practices of identity in an Italian organization in London, this article examines the relationship between the construction of the identity of places and the construction of terrains of belonging. Various forms of cultural practices that mark out spatial and identity boundaries for the London Italian population are discussed in relation to the deployment of gender and ethnicity. Advancing a corporeal approach to identity formation, it is argued that displays of the Italian presence in London operate through the repetition of regulatory norms that produces the effect of materialization of cultural belonging through the ethnicizing and gendering of individual bodies. Gender and ethnicity are deeply embedded in one another and their entwinement is to be understood as the outcome of their construction along similar bodily lines. Also, the author shows that gender and ethnicity are mutually dependent on each other for their construction; imperatives of gender serve to stabilize a fluctuating and indeterminate ethnic culture, while ethnic conventions naturalize the different positions men and women occupy in social life.