THE COMPLEX PATTERN OF MODIFIED PARENTAL CONTROLS THROUGH THE POSTWAR PERIOD
Long ago. . . in a "reversal of the generations," immigrant children. came to interpret the new society to their parents.
Andrew Rolle, The Italian Americans: Troubled Roots
Marie Concistre observed the pattern noted in the epigraph above while conducting anthropological field research for her 1943 Ph.D. dissertation at New York University. 1 While it appeared to Concistre that first and second generation Italian-American parents in East Harlem were loosening their control over teenage girls by allowing them the unprecedented freedom to go on dates unaccompanied by a family member serving as chaperone, a closer examination reveals that parents were in the process of constructing new and far more subtle mechanisms for youth control. Dating, the selection of a spouse, and the desirability of formal education were all areas of adolescent life in which changes appeared to be underway. 2 But underneath the tactics, moral rationales and clearly conceptualized objectives