Identities in Practice

Identities in Practice

By Laura Hirvi
Book Description

Identities in Practice draws a nuanced picture of how the experience of migration affects the process through which Sikhs in Finland and California negotiate their identities. What makes this study innovative with regard to the larger context of migration studies is the contrast it provides between experiences at two Sikh migration destinations. By using an ethnographic approach, Hirvi reveals how practices carried out in relation to work, dress, the life-cycle, as well as religious and cultural sites, constitute important moments in which Sikhs engage in the often transnational art of negotiating identities.

Laura Hirvi's rich ethnographic account brings to the fore how the construction of identities is a creative process that is conditioned and infiltrated by questions of power. Identities in Practice will appeal to scholars who are interested in the study of cultures, identities, migration, religion, and transnationalism.

This book is part of the Studia Fennica Ethnologica series.

Table of Contents
  • Identities in Practice
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • 1 Setting the Scene
    • Research Questions and the Trans-Atlantic Contrast
    • Why Sikhs in Helsinki and Yuba City?
    • A Brief Introduction to Sikhism
    • Previous Literature on Sikhs in California and South Asians in Finland
    • Identities Reflected in Practice
    • Diaspora and Transnationalism
    • The Doing of Ethnographies
    • Some Reflections on the Researcher’s Position
    • Ethnographic Analysis
    • The Problem of Naming
    • What about Caste?
    • Outline of this Book
  • 2 Migration Histories
    • Yuba City and Sikh Migration
    • The Migration Histories of Sikhs in Finland
    • Concluding Thoughts
  • 3 The Meaning of Work
    • Working in Yuba City
    • Sikhs Working in Helsinki
    • Working out Identities
    • Prospects for Future Generations of Sikhs in Helsinki and Yuba City
    • Concluding Thoughts
  • 4 Identities Negotiated through Dress(ing)
    • The Turban as an External Marker of Religious Identity
    • The Meanings of the Turban in the Aftermath of 1984
    • Sikhs in the US after 9/11
    • Cutting the Kes and Taking off the Turban
    • Situational Dressing
    • Letting the Hair Grow and Tying the Turban again
    • Sikhs’ Multiple Views on the Significance of the Turban
    • Concluding Thoughts
    • 5 Religious and Cultural Sites
  • (Contested) Religious Places of Worship in Helsinki
    • Birthday Parties and Bhangra
    • Cultural Organisations
    • Yuba City’s Sikh Pre-School
    • The Sikh Parade
    • Concluding Thoughts
  • 6 Life-Cycle Rituals And (Transnational) Practices
    • Birth and Childcare
    • Naming Ceremony
    • Weddings
    • Retirement, the Question of Return and the Experience of ‘Going Back’
    • Bringing the Ashes Back
    • Concluding Thoughts
  • 7 Final Reflections: The Art of Negotiating Identities
  • Glossary
  • Appendices
  • Notes
  • References
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