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Le rôle de l’Italian Welfare League dans le processus d’intégration des italiens aux États-Unis – 1920-1965

Abstract : The Italian community was the most important in New York in 1920: there were three hundred and ninety-one thousand Italian immigrants in the city. Most of them lived in overcrowded tenements and their miserable living conditions required assistance. Among benevolent organizations, which helped Italian immigrants, was the Italian Welfare League (IWL) established in 1920 in New York. This association was unique because it was exclusively composed of women - that was not common in those days. These women were married to prominenti, which gave them opportunities to manage successfully their association. Lastly, the IWL favored the immigrants’ progressive assimilation and was opposed to the American policy of Americanization of foreigners. Through the analysis of the Italian Welfare League activities from 1920 to 1965 (the year quotas laws were abolished), our thesis aims at demonstrating how coherent was the association’s policy: could the IWL take part in Italian immigrants’ assimilation and, at the same time, prevent them from losing their cultural identity? We have analysed the IWL’s intermediary role between American society and Italians that the association tried to fulfil especially when the Italians’ socio-economic situation (when settling in America or during the Great Depression) or the political context (the growth of Fascim and World War II) intensified the conflict of power between the Anglo-Americans and the foreigners. The IWL was torn between its benevolent mission through a better assimilation of Italian immigrants within the social system of their host society, and its desire to retain the italianity of these men and women.
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Catherine Baumal. Le rôle de l’Italian Welfare League dans le processus d’intégration des italiens aux États-Unis – 1920-1965. Sociologie. Université de Bretagne Sud, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018LORIL486⟩. ⟨tel-01984025⟩

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