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Theorising Complex Diasporas: Purity And Hybridity In The South Asian Public Sphere In Britain

Title:Theorising Complex Diasporas: Purity And Hybridity In The South Asian Public Sphere In Britain
Author:Pnina Werbner
Publication:Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies / Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
Enumeration:Vol. 30, No. 5 , pp.: 895 - 911 /2004
Abstract:This paper examines the creation of alternative diasporic public spheres in Britain by South Asian settlers: one produced through the entertainment industry--commercial film and other media--that satirises the parochialism and conservatism of the South Asian immigrant generation and highlights cultural hybridity and cosmopolitanism, intergenerational conflict, family politics, inter-ethnic or -racial marriages, and excesses of consumption. The other is a conflictual diasporic Muslim public sphere dominated by Muslim male community leaders, which has had to respond to international political crises such as the Rushdie affair, the Gulf War or, more recently, September 11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the confrontation between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. Seen from an indigenous British perspective, the messages emanating from these two diasporic discourses, publicised in both Western and South Asian media (cable TV and foreign newspapers in Urdu or local ones in English) are opposed, and create ambivalent stereotyped images of 'Muslims' and 'Asians'. While a Pakistani transnational identity is mostly submerged beneath these other identities, it is in fact critical to understanding the conflicting pressures to which young Pakistanis, and women in particular, are subjected in Britain, and the clash between alienation and popular cultural 'fun' marking Muslim Pakistani internal politics. These have led to the pluralisation of the diasporic public sphere.

Source of Abstract: Provided by Publisher

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