Gramsci, Migration, and the Representation of Women at Work

Laura E. Ruberto, Berkeley City College

Revisited from a feminist perspective, the work of Italian cultural theorist Antonio Gramsci offers insights into the relationship between the history of Italian emigration and contemporary immigration to Italy, particularly in relation to the representation of women’s work. In her book Gramsci, Migration, and the Representation of Women’s Work in Italy and the U.S., Laura Ruberto underscores the importance of Gramsci’s ideas as she examines representations of immigrant women workers, focusing on rice work and paid domestic labor in Italy, and cannery labor and unwaged housework in the U.S. Through an interdisciplinary study of novels, films, testimonials, photographs, and other forms of cultural representation, Ruberto shows how migrant women workers take part in the development of what Gramsci calls national popular culture, even as they are excluded from dominant cultural narratives.