Religious Festive Practices in Boston's North End

Nov 09, 2018 340

Friday November 9 from 18:00 to 19:30 EST. I Am Books, 189 North St, Boston, MA 02113. Augusto Ferraiuolo examines the many religious festivals in the Italian American community of Boston’s North End. In his book "Religious Festive Practices in the North End," Ferraiuolo uses interviews, participant observation, and visual data, to create a vivid picture of how, over the course of a summer season, a number of religious festive practices are organized by multiple, overlapping, and, to some extent, competing voluntary organizations.

The central argument that emerges is that the community uses these festivals, in part, to help maintain and establish a variety of identities, and that these identities are multistranded, complex, shifting, and negotiated—and thus ephemeral. In addition, Ferraiuolo shows in detail how individuals negotiate and construct identities as Italian Americans, Scaccianesi, Neapolitans, Catholics, and others, within the context of these celebrations.

He also introduces a creative and original metaphor for understanding the ways in which selfhood is constructed, arguing that contemporary identities function as hypertext, in the manner of web-based technologies, linking to one another and building upon each other as constantly evolving “technologies of the self.”

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