Chapter

Migration, Cultural Legibility, and the Politics of Identity in the Making of British Sikh Communities

Tony Ballantyne

in Punjab Reconsidered

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780198078012
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080984 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198078012.003.0058
Migration, Cultural Legibility, and the Politics of Identity in the Making of British Sikh Communities

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This chapter assesses the development of Sikh culture and politics in Britain in the post-World War II period, stressing the ways in which ideas about 'Sikh identity' were formed through engagement with the British state. It also argues that Sikh identity was defined through a shifting set of engagements with other 'new' communities, including Afro-Caribbean  and South Asian Muslim migrants.  While the chapter locates the discourses and practices that framed these ideas about Sikhism within a longer tradition of Punjabi cultural definition, it highlights the particular pressures that the changing nature of British governmental policy (multiculturalism) and the politics of race and religion in Britain inflected visions of what it is to be a Sikh.

Keywords: Sikhism; migrants; multiculturalism; cultural legibility; British state; Sikh identity

Chapter.  8903 words. 

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