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Title: (Dis)continuous identities : modalities of liberalism and the Sikh diaspora online
Author: Kaur, Jaspreet
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This project examines eleven different Sikhism-related websites that are operated largely by and for diasporic Sikhs, and which collectively constitute a digital discourse that both produces and reflects a distinctly diasporic Sikh identity. The central research questions guiding this dissertation are: How is liberal diasporic Sikh discourse redefining Sikh identity? How is this discourse produced and perpetuated as such? How does the digital nature of this discourse have an effect? What does this discourse tell us about the nature of diasporic Sikhism? I argue that liberal Sikh discourse redefines Sikhism as universal and cosmopolitan by showing it to resonate with the values of liberal modernity, and by situating it within the particular vision of universality encompassed in liberal modernity. It attempts to ground Sikh identity in a new way, one that is not based upon historical, ethnic or linguistic claims, but upon the abstract, liberal principles that underlie much of Western modernity. In so doing, it clears the way for creating a new sense of belonging in the West. This discourse wields liberalism as an analytical tool to engage, improve and fulfil Sikhism; however, it fails to realise the extent to which it is also embedded within the epistemological domain of liberalism, and how that epistemology actually shapes its concerns. I employ multi-modal discourse analysis to examine the particular discursive modalities that these websites employ, which are as follows: (1) translation, (2) critique, and (3) representing Sikhs as virtuous citizens. Ultimately, this dissertation shows that diasporic Sikh identity is not continuous with Punjabi Sikh identity, but is actually emerging as a distinctive way of being Sikh.
Supervisor: Hausner, Sondra ; Anderson, Sue Sponsor: American Association of University Women ; American Academy of Religion
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available