This is not a book about religions (Sikh, Hindu, Muslim). Nor is it a book about languages (Panjabi, Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu). It does not claim or aim to give a holistic account of putatively homogeneous ‘South Asian’ ethnic or racial groupings. Rather, it is a study of the self-representations of their own patterns of language use of a group of 30 adolescents (aged 15) of mainly South Asian descent in West London in the late 1990s.1 More precisely, the book offers an interpretive analysis of what might be learned, from these representations, about the nature of ethnicity amongst Britain’s visible minorities at the turn of the century. The principal argument is that the children and grandchildren of South Asian migrants to the United Kingdom, are living out British identities which go largely unrecognised as dominant voices both inside and outside their communities seek to foreground and hold in place alternative positionings of them as principally either Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims or as Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis or again as Panjabi, Gujarati, Hindi and Urdu speakers. This book argues that amongst these young people a highly significant group, perhaps a majority, while retaining both diasporic and local links with a variety of traditions derived from the Indian subcontinent, are nevertheless fundamentally shaped by an everyday low-key Britishness, albeit a Britishness with new inflections.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.