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Young Sikhs in the Nordic countries: negotiating identities, traditions and authorities
University of Helsinki.
University of Bergen.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3366-7368
2014 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This session aims to investigate the processes and strategies by which second generation Sikhs of Punjabi and Punjabi-Nordic families are socialized and gravitate towards religious identifications in attempts to carve out a place for themselves in the Nordic countries. The Sikh migration to Northern Europe began in the 1960s and today there are around 14,000 Sikhs in the five Nordic countries. The first generation migrants have displayed self-conscious reflections on religious identity and have invested considerable efforts in maintaining cultural, religious and linguistic traditions by establishing religious institutions, often with the explicit purpose of transmitting cultural as well as religious customs to their children. The second generation Sikhs are legal citizens and at present in the process of pursuing educational careers and entering the labour market. Their identities are at once local and global as they are embedded in a web of transnational networks and identifications.

Based on fieldworks conducted in Finland, Norway and Sweden the session explores how the second generation shapes understanding of individual and collective identities in relation to many different “cultural others” in the social fields of home, religious community and on the Internet.

The context of home is usually seen as one of the primary sites where children are made familiar with the cultural and religious traditions of their parents, but it is also an arena where people challenge, re-create and negotiate those very traditions through the practices that they perform in the context of everyday life. Dr. Laura Hirvi will highlight the role that various family members play in this particular process by focusing on the experiences of young Sikhs who have been growing up in Finland.

The Nordic Sikhs have successfully mobilized migrants in institutions based on religious belonging. Their public gurdwaras, which are currently eight in the Nordic countries, have become important “comfort zones” where collective identities and traditions are maintained and transmitted to the younger generation, primarily through the enactment of religious practices. Prof. Knut A. Jacobsen will discuss how the gurdwaras in Norway are often perceived as “little Punjabs” and as attempts of the parents to recreate the culture of the past and heal the wounds of loss. The challenges of forming young Sikh identities in the Diaspora will be analyzed by examining organizations affiliated to the gurdwaras, such as “Unge Sikher” (Young Sikhs) and the Punjabi schools for the youth.

The Internet has provided diaspora communities possibilities to represent tradition and mobilize communal action on local and global levels. In the Nordic countries, the second generation Sikhs has established websites and discussion forums that function as cultural translators between the local communities and the majority society and have become important meeting places for interacting with co-devotees and interpreting and negotiating religious identifications. Dr. Kristina Myrvold will discuss how young Sikhs in Sweden engage in online and offline practices for the purpose of creating new collective representations, negotiating interpretations of religion and culture, and challenging traditional authorities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Humanities, Study of Religions
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-31866OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-31866DiVA, id: diva2:692632
Conference
Holy Crap! - Intersections of the Popular and the Sacred in Youth Cultures, Helsinki, August 28-29, 2014
Available from: 2014-01-31 Created: 2014-01-31 Last updated: 2016-05-03Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf