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Sikh practice in contemporary Britain: an analysis of the relationship between identity and practice amongst British Sikhs

Keegan, Barry James (2012)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Despite living in Britain in significant numbers since the 1950s, there has been very little in-depth research done of the discrepancy between religious teachings and practices of the Sikh community. Most analysis has been confined to brief accounts with little to no fieldwork. This thesis utilizes ethnographic data as well as primary and secondary sources to analyse the religious practices of those who identify and are accepted as ‘Sikhs’ and compare it to the theological teachings of the religion, with a focus on three topics in this area: the observance of the 5 Ks, caste and dowry. This will involve outlining historical background and developments as well as theological concepts and sociological factors influencing the religious practice of Sikhs.

Issues encountered in the recruitment of participants for this research make it impossible to draw anything more than tentative conclusions. Nonetheless, my findings clearly demonstrate that, whilst there is a drop off in ‘external’ religious practice, the internal values and non-visual practices of Sikhism are well understood by my participants. From this it is possible to conclude that the relationship between one who identifies as a Sikh and their religious practices are becoming less visual and more ‘internal’.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Jhutti-Johal, Jagbir
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Theology and Religion
Subjects:BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
BV Practical Theology
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3285
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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