Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Sikh Diaspora in Vancouver: Three Generations amid Tradition, Modernity and Multiculturalism

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Sikh Diaspora in Vancouver: Three Generations amid Tradition, Modernity and Multiculturalism

Article excerpt

Kamala Elizabeth Nayar, The Sikh Diaspora in Vancouver: Three Generations Amid Tradition, Modernity and Multiculturalism (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2004), xiii + 276pp. Cloth. $55.00. £35.00. ISBN 0-8020-8947-X. Paper $26.95. £17.00. ISBN 0-8020-8631-4.

The Sikh population of Vancouver almost doubled in size between the 1991 and 2001 census years. More than 99,000 people were categorised as Sikh in the 2001 census: a significant minority of the city's population. This book is a study of how this community has adapted to Canadian society. It includes analysis of relations between three generations of the community, and examines the community's development with response to policies of multiculturalism.

The methodology is firmly qualitative, incorporating about 100 semi-structured interviews, 'active participant-observation' (p. 20), and interpretive analysis of documents, including religious texts. Some of the interviews were conducted in English and some in Punjabi. The sample, a 'snowball' sample, was constructed with an informal sense of stratification (by generation, profession and social position) and guided by a concern to achieve a representative group from the Sikh population of Vancouver.

The dominant theoretical stance draws upon distinctions between tradition and modernity that were made by social scientists in the 1950s and 1960s. This approach frames the discussions of communication between the generations, family relations, religion and honour in the community that form the main sections of the analysis. Tensions between the three generations are a recurrent theme and there is an interesting account of the views of young people. …

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