Italy's residents are a migratory people. Since 1800 well over 27 million left home, but over half also returned home again. As cosmopolitans, exiles, and 'workers of the world' they transformed their homeland and many of the countries where they worked or settled abroad. But did they form a diaspora? Migrants maintained firm ties to native villages, cities and families. Few felt much loyalty to a larger nation of Italians. Rather than form a 'nation unbound,' the transnational lives of Italy's migrants kept alive international regional cultures that challenged the hegemony of national states around the world.
This ambitious and theoretically innovative overview examines the social, cultural and economic integration of Italian migrants. It explores their complex yet distinctive identity and their relationship with their homeland taking a comprehensive approach.
Donna R. Gabaccia is Charles H. Stone Professor of American History at The University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
'One of the most perceptive critical syntheses in recent English-language historiography ... a fascinating reading for specialists and laypersons alike.' - International Review of Social History