The third generation of Indians in Britain : cultural identity and cultural change

by Judith Frübing

Institution: Universität Potsdam
Year: 0
Record ID: 1108809
Full text PDF: https://publishup.uni-potsdam.de/opus4-ubp/frontdoor/index/index/docId/4111


Over the last decades Britain´s ethnic minorities have successfully established themselves in a multicultural society. In particular, Indian – Hindu communities generally improved their social and economic situation. In this context, the third generation of British Indians is now growing up. In contrast to the previous generation of the Indian diaspora, these children grow up in an established ethnic community, which learned to retain its religion, traditions and culture in a foreign environment. At the same time, these children are part of the multicultural British society. Based on the academic discussion about the second generation of immigrated ethnic communities, when the youth often suffered from cultural differences, racism and discrimination and therefore rejected aspects of their culture of origin, this paper assumes that the loss of the culture of origin further increases in the third generation. This thesis follows the main theories about the connection between generation and integration. It is believed that the preference of western culture influences the personal, ethnic and cultural identity of young people. This leads to the rejection of traditional bonds. Before introducing this thesis various theoretical concepts are discussed which are inevitable for the comprehension of the diasporic situation in which British Indian youngsters grow up. As part of the worldwide Asian Indian diaspora Indian families in Britain maintain manifold links to Indian communities in various countries. Particularly, the link to India plays a decisive role; the subcontinent is referred to as an abstract homeland, especially by the first generation. While the grandparents strongly adhere to their Indian culture and Hindu religion, the second generation already generated cultural change. In this process various cultural values of the Indian ethnic community have been questioned and modified. Further, the second generation pushed the integration into the British society by giving up the dependence on the ethnic network. This paper is based on a hybrid and fluent definition of culture. This definition also applies to the underlying understanding of identity and ethnicity. Due to migration, cultural contact and the multilocality of the diaspora, diasporic and post-diasporic identities and cultures are characterized by hybridity, heterogeneity, fragmentation and flexibility. Particularly, in the younger generation – though dependent on a number of social and structural factors - cultural change and mixture happen; in this process new ethnicities and identities evolve. In the second and third part of this paper the thesis of loss of culture of origin is refuted on the basis of findings from empirical research. British - Indian youngsters in London have been questioned for the study. Half of the youngsters are related to a sampradaya, a Hindu sect. This enables the author to compare youngsters who do not belong to a particular religious group with those who are included into a religious and / or ethnic community through a sampradaya.…