|Title: ||Local diasporas/ global trajectories: new aspects of religious ‘performance’ in British Tamil Hindu practice|
|Journal: ||Performance Research|
|Issue Date: ||Dec-2008 |
|Abstract: ||The tension and intersection of global and local influences plays a significant part in the complex construction of identity and place-making within diaspora groups. Cvetkovich and Kellner (1997:12) remind us that ‘tradition, religion and nationalism’ remain contemporary forces in the construction of both personal and national life, and it is these forces of tradition, religion and nationalism that have considerable impact on religious practices and ethnic identity in British Hindu communities.
This article discusses, through an examination of ‘cultural performances’ within British Tamil Hindu religious practice, the increase of performed religiosity in the diaspora setting. These performances appear to confirm and display not only a general Hindu identity, but a specific Tamil religious identity, located, as they are, within Tamil temple ritual and at Tamil-specific festivals such as Tai Pusam. The classical dance form of Bharatanatyam, and more spontaneous trance dances are increasingly on display at such festival occasions. Additionally, the confident growth of new temples and their adaptation to British Hindu worship indicates both an increase in local diaspora settlement and reveals, too, how significant global trajectories are an essential factor in this expansion. The building of a new Tamil temple in east London, and the planning of a second one in the same area is considered from this point of view and questions are raised relating to the use and contestation of these new religious spaces. In this way, the article seeks to question the adaptive strategies for preservation, modification and performance seen in British Hindu communities that are fuelled by pressures internally within the communities and externally from outside forces, that is, forces that are both local and global.|
|Keywords: ||Tamil dance practices, religious identity, local & global, East Ham, Hindu communites|
|Appears in Collections: ||Research papers from the School of Arts|
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