Italian immigrants and the built environment in rural Australia

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From Community to Consumption: New and Classical Themes in Rural Sociological Research, 2010, 1st, pp. 141 - 154
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Non-Anglo-Celtic immigrants have transformed Australian rural landscape through the construction of public and private spaces expressing their cultural heritage. These sites can also significantly impact the dynamics of social cohesion and intercultural relations in multicultural rural communities. This chapter links heritage and multiculturalism in rural settings and explores the potential role of the sites built by rural ethnic minorities in facilitating intra- and intergroup social networks. The chapter is divided into two parts. The first part briefly explores the literature on immigration and heritage, place, belonging and social cohesion, and the relationship between social capital and the built environment. The second part outlines preliminary empirical findings from Griffith in New South Wales. Using the concepts of intercultural dialogue and bonding and bridging social capital, the chapter explores the role of the places built by Italian immigrants in facilitating social networks and improved relations within and between Griffith's ethnic communities.
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