Guido Culture and Italian American Youth: From Bensonhurst to Jersey Shore
Donald Tricarico, Queensborough Community College, CUNY
From Saturday Night Fever to Jersey Shore, Italian American youth in New York City have appropriated—and been appropriated by—popular American culture. In Guido Culture and Italian American Youth (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), Donald Tricarico investigates how Italian ethnicity has been used to fashion Guido as a distinct youth style that signals inclusion in popular American culture and, simultaneously, the making of a new ethnic subject. The concept of Guido emerged from a wave of Italian immigration after World War II in outer-borough neighborhoods such as Bensonhurst, and its story is an Italian American one, symbolizing the negotiation of a negatively privileged ethnicity within American society. Tricarico takes up questions about the definition of Guido, the role of disco, and the identity politics of Jersey Shore in order to reconsider the significance of this youth culture for the study of Italian ethnicity.