Locating the Transnational and Studying the Diaspora: A Study of British Indian Children

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Übungsraum 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Utsa MUKHERJEE, Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom
The concept of transnationalism has gained considerable attention in the study of diasporic communities. Theoretical interventions in this field have often problematized the association between the notions of transnationalism and diaspora. The transnational context is deemed to be implicit in the very conceptualization of what is meant by the ‘diaspora’ and is therefore an integral part of the same (Safran, Sahoo and Lal 2009). By focusing on the Indian diaspora in the UK, this paper seeks to trace the ways in which such processes of transnationalism, through its institutions and structures, impact the everyday lives of children belonging to such diasporic communities. The site of leisure becomes a crucial marker in assessing the interplay of these forces as they shape the cultural milieu of British Indian children in contemporary England. Moreover, the processes of globalisation have initiated modes of economic transactions and cultural preferences which have played their part in influencing modes of consumptions. The nuances that foreground the relation between the ‘host’ nation-state, the ‘homeland’ and beyond inform the cultural consumption and socialization of these children. For instance, the transmission of heritage languages to these children involves factors that continually connect these communities to memories, institutions and ideas of the ancestral homeland (Barn 2008).  The study of cultural consumption throws up critical questions that reflect on the very theoretical premises of transnationalism and globalisation and their implications with regard to diasporic families, especially those belonging to the Indian diaspora in contemporary England.  It is through the study of British Indian children that the paper attempts to yield meaningful insights into the debates on transnationalism and families.