Diaspora of Islamic Cultures: Continuity and Change. (Research Report)

By Moghissi, Haideh | Refuge, February 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Diaspora of Islamic Cultures: Continuity and Change. (Research Report)


Moghissi, Haideh, Refuge


Abstract

This paper, drawing upon an ongoing research project funded by Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Ford Foundation, introduces the main ideas and themes that inform the study of changing gender and family relations among four displaced communities of Islamic cultures (Iranian, Afghan, Palestinian, and Pakistani). For members of each group, three sets of "circumstances" are analyzed--an individual's experience in the home and host country, together with an examination of socio-economic conditions and policies in the host. In addition to these social and economic factors, in particular, it will focus on the ways in which social class, gender, and religious commitments affect an individual's experience when they more. It is argued that gender significantly impacts new migrants' experience and how they feel about their "home" country. One of our main hypotheses is that under pressures of a rapid, often difficult, social and cultural transformation, changing gender dynamics in the new country can lead to a new understanding among partners--or, alternatively, to heightened tension, with severely damaging effects, particularly for women and children. Culturally, when family understandings collapse, this process may be accompanied by an effort to find religious justification for gender inequality. Then, a connection can be seen between difficulties in the new country, the efforts of conservative men to reclaim the dominance they once enjoyed in their countries of origin, and give it a religious justification. Hence, the revival, in the diaspora, of conservative Islamic practice and belief.

**********

Displacement and migration are prevalent features of the present century. In October 2002, UNESCO's International and Multicultural Policies section declared that the number of migrants has more than doubled since 1975. According to UNESCO, currently 175 million people, that is, about 3 per cent of the world population, live in countries in which they were not born. The experience of diasporic communities in their adopted countries raises urgent questions of socio-cultural integration, human rights, and security for both migrant communities and the host societies.

This paper, drawing upon an ongoing research project funded by Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Ford Foundation, introduces the main ideas and themes that inform the study of the effects of displacement on gender relations among four migrant and refugee communities from Islamic cultures. The time frame for the research would be five years (2000-05). Of the four diasporic communities that are the focus of this project, Iranians, Afghans, Pakistanis, and Palestinians, two are studied in developed societies (Iranians and Pakistanis in Canada and Britain). The other two communities, are being studied in Canada and, in addition, in developing Islamic states (Afghans in Iran, and Palestinians in Jordan and in the West Bank and Gaza under social and economic conditions arising from occupation). For members of each group, three sets of "circumstances" are analyzed--an individual's experience in the home and host country, together with an examination of socio-economic conditions and policies in the host. In addition to these social and economic factors, we seek to demonstrate how gender significantly impacts new migrants' experience and how they feel about their "home" country. That is, the challenge to traditional ideas may present itself as a positive experience for many (particularly younger) women, who find an opportunity to break from the extended family, and a relatively negative one for men, who may encounter difficulty in finding satisfying work in the new society, and whose authority, dignity, and sense of self-worth may therefore be threatened.

In this study, we use the term "diaspora" in a rather self-explanatory fashion to refer to communities of immigrant, exiled, and self-exiled individuals who, despite cultural, economic, and political distinctions, share the experience of separation from home about which they have a collective memory.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Diaspora of Islamic Cultures: Continuity and Change. (Research Report)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?