New Faith, New Family: Contadini, Pentecostalism, and the Struggle for Social Identity in the New World
Issue: Vol 17 No. 2 (2018)
Subject Areas: Religious Studies
During the mass migration of 1870-1920, the peasantry of southern Italy flooded the urban centres of America. Accustomed to a rural-agrarian lifestyle and steeped in traditional religious beliefs, contadini (Italian peasants) found themselves isolated in the industrial centres of America. Separation from kin and the faith of their ancestors contributed to a psychological void that led contadini to seek new forms of Christianityfor religious fulfilment. This article explores the social psychology of the contadini during the mass migration. It examines the historico-cultural conditions that drove peasants from Catholicism, the mental and emotional dimensions of being in tension with their new environment, and the suitability of other faith contexts, particularly Pentecostalism, to mitigate the experience of isolation.
Author: Paul J. Palma
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