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