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Leisure time of the first generation Italians in Vancouver, 1965-1966 : an exploratory study of the initial stage of the acculturation process Willman, Pamela Maude Albertina


It has been observed that Italian immigrants in Vancouver do not make use of community resources such as the community centres, library, and the Young Women's Christian Association. This thesis investigates the reasons for this phenomenon by studying the acculturation of Italian immigrant families, with special reference to the use of leisure time. Twenty-two immigrant families were interviewed, and responses were recorded on a questionnaire by the interviewer. It was not possible to obtain a random sample, consequently the respondents tend to represent the economically more successful or those more active in church affairs. The results of the study tend to confirm the initial assumption that the Italian immigrant perpetuates an old world pattern familiar to him by confining his social, cultural and recreational activities to his family, kinship group, his church, and his ethnic organizations. However, the study also shows that these patterns are undergoing a gradual change. Mothers are participating in such strictly New World activities, as the Parent-Teacher Association. Some children take part in community centre activities. These initial steps towards using community resources are particularly noticeable in those first generation Italian immigrants who have been settled in their present neighbourhood for ten years or more, and in the second generation. The study will, it is hoped, be of interest to community planners. The use of typical North American resources is part of a cultural pattern to which some immigrant groups, at least, are not accustomed, and which they adopt only gradually. The speed of acculturation probably varies with the ethnic and cultural background of the groups.

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