The Diasporic Pursuit of Home and Identity: Dynamic Punjabi Transnationalism

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Abstract

This paper examines the pursuit of home within a diasporic British Indian Punjabi community. It is argued that the British Asian transnational pursuit of home is significantly shaped by the dynamic social context of South Asia as well as social processes within Britain and across the South Asian diaspora. Drawing upon a decade of original, transnational, ethnographic research within the UK and India, I analyze the rapidly changing social context of Punjab, India, and the impact of this upon the diasporic Punjabi pursuit of home. I particularly argue that increasing divisions between the UK diasporic group studied and the non migrant permanent residents of Punjab, which are intrinsically related to processes of inclusion and exclusion within Punjab, especially the changing role and significance of land ownership and changing consumption practices therein, in turn connected to the increasing influence of economic neoliberalization and global consumer culture within India, significantly shapes the (re)production of home and identity amongst the Punjabi diaspora. Recent manifestations of these social processes within Punjab are threatening the very lived Indian home of some diasporic Punjabis, their Indian ‘roots’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-294
JournalThe Sociological Review
Volume62
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

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