The importance of “being modern”: an examination of second generation British Indian Bengali middle class respectability

Biswas Sasidharan, Anusree (2012) The importance of “being modern”: an examination of second generation British Indian Bengali middle class respectability. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the way that second generation British Indian Bengali middle class, predominantly Hindu respondents, have attempted to communicate their “modern” middle class respectability through their social practices, work and lifestyles. In their reproduction of this respectability, they attempt to distance negative British South Asian stereotypes prevalent in the media, work institutions and in day-to-day life; sometimes to the extent of ‘othering’ other South Asians generally or British Bangladeshi Muslim Sylhetis specifically. Second generation’s adaptive responses to racism and stigmatised stereotypes prevalent in British society also reaffirms the British Indian Bengali’s presumptions of their ethnic distinctiveness and justifying homogenising racist stereotyping of these ‘other’ South Asian groups. This thesis examines several aspects of their lives that are affected by these distinguishing tactics, through: presentation of their ethnicity; middle class identity; position of women within “the community”; ideas of love and romance and “type” of marriage. Additionally, there is an examination of how the second generation are increasingly challenging the assertion that all South Asians are primarily driven by ethnicity, religion and regional-language markers in their search for a marriage partner. Marriage trends amongst British Indian Bengalis are showing distinct moves away from finding a partner through ascribed statuses. Likewise, the second generation in their social interaction also exhibit a weaker sense of identification with their regional-language groups.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS History of Asia > DS393 Bangladesh. East Pakistan
D History General and Old World > DS History of Asia > DS401 India (Bharat)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology > GN357 Culture and cultural processes Including social change, structuralism, diffusion, etc.
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races > HT0601 Classes
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2012 08:54
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2015 14:58
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/7652

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