Neighborhood Change and the Emergence of a Social Mosaic: The Case of Italian American Bensonhurst

By William Egelman and Michael D'Angelo.

Published by The International Journal of Community Diversity

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Italian American immigration was largely a rural to urban migration. Rural southern Italian peasants immigrated to the large urban centers of the United States. Many of these immigrants selected New York City as their dominant area of destination. While almost never entirely homogeneous, Italian immigrants developed urban ethnic communities predominantly settled by their fellow countrymen. These “urban ghettoes” acted as “shock absorbers” as the immigrants became adjusted to their new areas of settlement. Today, many Italian Americans are in the third or fourth native born generation. Many of the older ethnic neighborhoods are no longer single ethnic communities. More recently, social mosaics have emerged whereby a variety of ethnic-immigrant groups now reside in these areas. This paper explores the process of change involved in the transition from ethnic neighborhood to social mosaic.

Keywords: Ethnic Neighborhoods, Italian Neighborhoods, Social Mosaics, Urban Change

The International Journal of Community Diversity, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp.29-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 354.017KB).

Dr. William Egelman

Professor, Department of Sociology, Iona College, Westbury, NY, USA

I have been a member of the faculty at Iona College for 40 years. I have taught courses in Social Problems, Demography, Urban Sociology, Race and Ethnic Relations, and the Sociology of the Family. I have written books on Social Problems, Sociology of the Family, and Race and Ethnic Relations. I have authored a number of articles on various ethnic groups in the United States. I have a Ph.D. from Fordham University in New York City. My current research interests are in the area of recent immigration patterns to the United States, and the impact of assimilation over the generations.

Michael D'Angelo

Rockland County Department of Planning