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Inter-Generational Tensions and Cultural Reproduction in a Punjabi Community in England Kang, Nelu


Based on interviews in a small town outside London in 2004, this paper will explore what it means to be a Punjabi and certain ways in which Punjabis express their diasporic identity. Forty interviews of Sikh women of two generations were conducted, the older born in India and the younger born in Britain. The paper will explore generational tensions among these women and the trajectories through which cultural reproduction takes place. While the older generation is concerned with reproducing a Punjabi identity which they recognize from the subcontinent, the younger generation, in order to fit into the mainstream society, pull away to some degree from their roots but seek to protect the parents and the wider Punjabi community from the distress it could cause. This does not seem to be an individualistic phenomenon because these younger Punjabi women support each other closely in charting a path through complex cultural pressures. What is striking is that having pulled away from its culture, the same women themselves after child birth, reabsorb much of the parental ideology and become concerned to reproduce a Punjabi identity in their children.

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