Courtship, Marriage, and the Geography of Intimacy

in Staying Italian

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780226770741
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226770765 | DOI:
Courtship, Marriage, and the Geography of Intimacy

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In Toronto's Little Italy and Italian South Philadelphia, the personal impact of urban economic and institutional structures is reflected in marriage choices. Young people made choices in marriage that allowed Italian South Philadelphia to maintain its ethnic homogeneity and residential stability and Little Italy to maintain its ethnic heterogeneity and geographic mobility. Marriage and household formation were inextricably linked with housing exchanges and institutional arrangements. The ethnic community in both Toronto and Philadelphia was sustained by Italians who chose to marry other Italians. The importance of ethnicity to romantic choices in the two Italian neighborhoods is confirmed by Catholic marriage registers. Italians of South Philadelphia found local spouses throughout the postwar period, whereas the brides of Little Italy looked increasingly far from home. The geography of intimacy not only followed but also reinforced the patterns laid down in the rest of social life.

Keywords: Toronto; Little Italy; South Philadelphia; marriage; geography; intimacy; Italians; social life; housing exchanges; ethnicity

Chapter.  6085 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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