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Soviet SignorasPersonal and Collective Transformations in Eastern European Migration$
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Martina Cvajner

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226662251

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226662428.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Practicing Abundance: Immigrant Women and the Challenge of Consumption

Practicing Abundance: Immigrant Women and the Challenge of Consumption

Chapter:
(p.61) Two Practicing Abundance: Immigrant Women and the Challenge of Consumption
Source:
Soviet Signoras
Author(s):

Martina Cvajner

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226662428.003.0003

This chapter utilizes the lens of consumption to unpack a central feature in the lives of the women – the constant tension between here and there, between being an immigrant and an emigrant, between family duties and the individual right to wellbeing. Once the women had established a routine of sending remittances to take care of things there, they could start practicing here what they regarded as the most important form of citizenship in the civilized world. Consumption made them feel empowered, helping to mask the fact that they were care workers, destitute by Alpinetown standards. The chapter carries the reader through a multitude of consumption experiences, starting with the women’s perceptions of Soviet life through the eyes of disgruntled consumers and a vivid portrait of the Sunday parking-lot market, a community institution where minivans full of remittances and goods moved from here to there and back again. The second half of the chapter moves through various Italian shopping venues, from the weekly open-air market in the center of town to a discount supermarket chain and the shyk shyk shops full of inexpensive Chinese goods to a successful experiment in a “regular” Italian shoe-store chain.

Keywords:   consumption, remittances, morality, shopping

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