The religious acculturation of the Italian-American Catholics: Cultural and socio-economic factors

Louis John Gesualdi, Fordham University

Abstract

This research indicates that under certain socio-economic conditions the behavior (church attendance) of Italian-American Catholics is similar to the Irish-American Catholics while under other socio-economic conditions cultural traits associated with Southern Italy seem to remain. Socio-economic conditions along with cultural traits affect the behavior of the Italian-American Catholics (as well as Irish-American Catholics). The cultural trait approach (aspects of the present day behavior of ethnics in the United States are the outcomes of enduring cultural traits) and the socio-economic approach (socio-economic conditions are the critical factors in explaining aspects of an ethnic group's behavior in the United States), though different, are shown to be compatible. Cultural traits are capable of changing (Italian-Americans considering themselves to be very strong Catholics and attending weekly services as they become middle class and today's Irish-Americans having a mistrust of the clergy); they are able to synthesize with other cultural traits (Irish-Americans maintaining a high weekly Mass attendance while developing a mistrust of the clergy); and most of all they can be adaptive strategies to environmental predicaments (Italian-Americans maintaining Italian cultural traits to some degree in working/lower middle class situations as a possible outcome of a separation from the rest of American society and Irish-Americans maintaining Irish cultural traits to some degree in working/lower middle class situations as a possible outcome of a separation from the rest of the American society). ^

Subject Area

Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

Gesualdi, Louis John, "The religious acculturation of the Italian-American Catholics: Cultural and socio-economic factors" (1987). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8809469.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8809469

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