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Immigrant Sub-National Ethnicity: Bengali-Hindus and Punjabi-Sikhs in the San Francisco Bay Area

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Abstract:

In studies of immigration and ethnicity, focus on immigrant groups as a whole has generally ignored immigrant sub-groups. Although Scholars researching Asian Indians have sometimes focused on sub-groups none have attempted a comparison between sub-groups of the same nationality (Ganguly 2001, Jain 1989, Leonard 1997, Gibson 1988). This paper compares and contrasts the identification processes of two ethno-religious sub-groups within the larger population of Asian Indians in the San Francisco bay area: the Bengali-Hindus and the Punjabi-Sikhs. I examine how immigrants draw upon and become shaped by multiple cultural repertoires. I also look at the impact of socioeconomic background on immigrant boundary work (Lamont 1992). Based on participant observation, in-depth interviews and informal focus groups, I find that both Bengali-Hindus as well as Punjabi-Sikhs construct an internal ethnic identity, but for very different purposes. Punjabi Sikhs in my sample use an ethno-religious culture to express solidarity and to avoid marginalization. In contrast, Bengali-Hindu interviewees use an ethno-class culture to safeguard their class privilege and distance themselves from co-nationals. The findings display the need to acknowledge the role of pre-migration and sub-national ethnicity in adaptation and identification processes.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

sikh (85), ethnic (78), immigr (50), bengali (45), cultur (43), ident (42), class (34), nation (30), punjabi (28), indian (28), group (24), sub (23), india (22), press (21), hindus (19), intern (18), work (17), american (16), boundari (16), punjabi-sikh (16), bengali-hindus (15),

Author's Keywords:

Ethnicity, Sub-National Identity, Immigration, Asian Indians.
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Name: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting
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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p242171_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Niyogi, Sanghamitra. "Immigrant Sub-National Ethnicity: Bengali-Hindus and Punjabi-Sikhs in the San Francisco Bay Area" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Sheraton Boston and the Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA, Jul 31, 2008 <Not Available>. 2014-12-01 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p242171_index.html>

APA Citation:

Niyogi, S. , 2008-07-31 "Immigrant Sub-National Ethnicity: Bengali-Hindus and Punjabi-Sikhs in the San Francisco Bay Area" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Sheraton Boston and the Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA Online <PDF>. 2014-12-01 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p242171_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: In studies of immigration and ethnicity, focus on immigrant groups as a whole has generally ignored immigrant sub-groups. Although Scholars researching Asian Indians have sometimes focused on sub-groups none have attempted a comparison between sub-groups of the same nationality (Ganguly 2001, Jain 1989, Leonard 1997, Gibson 1988). This paper compares and contrasts the identification processes of two ethno-religious sub-groups within the larger population of Asian Indians in the San Francisco bay area: the Bengali-Hindus and the Punjabi-Sikhs. I examine how immigrants draw upon and become shaped by multiple cultural repertoires. I also look at the impact of socioeconomic background on immigrant boundary work (Lamont 1992). Based on participant observation, in-depth interviews and informal focus groups, I find that both Bengali-Hindus as well as Punjabi-Sikhs construct an internal ethnic identity, but for very different purposes. Punjabi Sikhs in my sample use an ethno-religious culture to express solidarity and to avoid marginalization. In contrast, Bengali-Hindu interviewees use an ethno-class culture to safeguard their class privilege and distance themselves from co-nationals. The findings display the need to acknowledge the role of pre-migration and sub-national ethnicity in adaptation and identification processes.


Similar Titles:
Between Nations - The Roles of Religion in Formation of Identity and Cultural Incorporation of Ethnic Chinese Immigrants in New York

Ethnic Identity, Transnational Belonging and Dual Citizenship – Trajectories and Strategies of Indian-American Immigrants

The Boundaries of Being American: National Identity, In-group Bias, and Attitudes Toward Domestic Policy


 
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