Where Are You From? Middle-Class Migrants in the Modern World

By Dhooleka S. Raj | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Being British, Becoming
a Person of Indian Origin

Hindu Punjabis experience and think about who they are in relation to varied concepts of themselves (historically through Partition memories and through migration), in relation to each other (through religion, marriage, and intergenerational changes), as well as in relation to contemporary Britain (experiences with racism). By highlighting the processual negotiations of each potential identification I have indicated how ethnic minorities not only are the products of globalization but also create the cultural changes inherent to those very global processes of the “ethnoscape” (Appadurai 1991). During the course of their lives, the migrants and their children have moved from being marked as outsiders from the lands of emigration and immigration, to being deeply implicated by each (as exemplified in their experiences with race). In doing so their lives disrupt the place-contingent narratives that highlight the nostalgia for culture based on place. I wish to develop further the complicated ways in which they experience the disconnections between and refigurations of culture, community, identity, and ethnicity, using the two place-based national terms of identification: “British” and “Person of Indian Origin. Each term indicates how transnational connections are being created and fostered in specific ways because of the reimagination of the nation-state with respect to a particular location. Thus far I have explored how Hindu Punjabis create various aspects of their identity in a transnational terrain. Here I wish

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