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Shiva's other children : religion and social identity amongst overseas Indians

Author: David J Mearns
Publisher: New Delhi ; Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage Publications, 1995.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This pioneering study seeks to fill the gap in our knowledge concerning urban overseas populations in Asia who identify themselves as coming from the Indian subcontinent. Focusing on the people labelled Indian who have settled in the town of Melaka in Malaysia, Dr Mearns uses the anthropological ethnographic approach to examine theoretical issues in the study of urban processes and religious practice in a migrant
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Mearns, David J., 1948-
Shiva's other children.
New Delhi ; Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage Publications, 1995
(OCoLC)988577764
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: David J Mearns
ISBN: 0803992491 9780803992498 8170364795 9788170364795
OCLC Number: 32666038
Description: 300 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Contents: 1. The Creation of a Malaysian Indian Population --
2. Urban Space, Urban Process: On Structured Structures --
3. Domestic Relations and Identity --
4. Domestic Ritual and Domestic Space: Practice and Social Identity --
5. Sacred Space, Cultural Space: Hindu Temples and the Reproduction of Identity --
6. Temple Practice: Reproducing the Cosmic Order and Reproducing the Social Order --
7. Mahabharata as Metaphor --
8. Sai Baba and Shivaratri --
9. Conclusion: Ritual and Context; Dialectics and Structure.
Responsibility: David James Mearns.
More information:

Abstract:

This pioneering study seeks to fill the gap in our knowledge concerning urban overseas populations in Asia who identify themselves as coming from the Indian subcontinent. Focusing on the people labelled Indian who have settled in the town of Melaka in Malaysia, Dr Mearns uses the anthropological ethnographic approach to examine theoretical issues in the study of urban processes and religious practice in a migrant community. He locates his discussion of the social, cultural and linguistic diversity of Malaysians of Indian origin in the context of the perceived need, in an ethnically plural polity such as Malaysia, to create a basis for collective identity and action.

Dr Mearns goes on to examine the complex nature of the Indian population's forms of social organisation and the practice of their major religion as part of a broader inquiry into the role of symbolic action in the formation of ethnic and social identities. Rather than presenting a picture of ethnic solidarity in a minority population, the author deals with the conflicts inherent in the interaction of Indians with each other and with members of other ethnic groups. He argues that the very richness and complexity of Hinduism means that a cultural and cosmological repertoire of very wide proportions is available both to unite and divide the population.

The book synthesises several theoretical approaches to the study of social and cultural practice in order to make a case for a more fruitful relationship between often separate modes of analysis of different aspects of social life. In the process, theories of urban development and 'global processes' are juxtaposed to analyse cultural forms and religious understandings in order to highlight the range of factors affecting the lives of Hindus in Malaysia.

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