Tales from the diaspora : a narrative enquiry into second-generation South Asian Britons

Kalayil, Sheena and Sebba, Mark (2017) Tales from the diaspora : a narrative enquiry into second-generation South Asian Britons. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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I present a qualitative study using the narratives, elicited through interviews, of seven second-generation South Asian Britons; five men and two women, aged at the time of the interviews between 35 to 50 years. My participants are higher professionals who have married out of their ethnic and linguistic communities, and who are parents of dual-heritage children ̶ a target group that is under-represented in linguistics research. I investigate the participants’ relationship with their South Asian Heritage Language ̶ the languages being Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil and Konkani ̶ and the dynamics of languages in their families (their birth families and their own families), showing that the factors which influence language maintenance and transmission are varied and unpredictable, and not always related to proficiency in or affinity to the Heritage Language and culture. I also investigate how the participants exploit the interview platform I give them, arguing that the participants perform the habitus (Bourdieu, 1991) of a member of the South Asian diaspora, with acute awareness of how their lives share similarities with and differ from the Discourses (Gee, 1999) surrounding South Asians in Britain. I analyse the narratives using an emic perspective of the functional use of discourse, using aspects of conversation analysis and using a Bakhtinian perspective of language. I show how the participants use the discourse to point to Discourses as well as different linguistic and cultural capitals (Bourdieu, 1990) available to them. My thesis regards the narratives firstly as a body of text for discourse analysis, offering three themes: how the participants use temporal and spatial references, how they use ‘voices’, and how they ‘recreate’ their pasts using chronotopes (Bakhtin, 1981). Secondly, by regarding the narratives individually, I show that within the interview-time the participants present a macro-narrative of themselves, explaining and/or justifying how they have become the person they are now. By treating the narratives in these two ways I contribute to the exploration of methodologies that can be used in narrative enquiry while providing new insights into practices surrounding language maintenance and loss in dual-heritage families.

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Thesis (PhD)
?? narrativessecond-generationsouth asian heritage languagenarrative interviewsidentitybakhtin ??
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Deposited On:
03 Jul 2017 08:26
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 05:38