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How British Mirpuri Pakistani women identify themselves and form their id

By N. A. Azam

Abstract

This thesis examines the experiences and the attitudes of Bradford females who have\ud Pakistani Mirpuri heritage. The study has involved people of different ages ranging from\ud sixteen to thirty-five and older women aged in their forties and beyond. The women\ud explore their relationship with their parents, the biraderi (their extended family), career\ud and educational aspirations, involvement with religion and culture and how these fit into\ud their personal identities.\ud \ud \ud The data was gathered incrementally over three stages. Each stage was equally important,\ud and themes emerged at each stage, which were then explored further. The data comes out\ud from a number of questionnaires, which were followed by interviews. The research\ud evidence creates consistent pictures and provides an insight into the lives and experiences\ud of Bradford females, of Pakistani Mirpuri origin. The concern was to explore the notions\ud of their sense of personal identity in the face of conflicting cultures and conflicts between\ud culture and religion.\ud \ud \ud The research evidence shows that younger women believed they did share a close\ud relationship with their parents. At times this relationship was tested. The evidence shows\ud that an area of major inter-generational tension was where parents were trying to control\ud the behaviours of younger women by using cultural interpretations of Islam. This was\ud particularly mentioned by younger women in relation to education, careers, and marriage\ud and on issues of freedom generally. The relationship of younger women, with the biraderi\ud (kin) is not as close as their parents' relationship with it. Younger women are leading\ud independent lives and have high career and educational aspirations. The majority of the\ud respondents felt their parents had supported their aspirations.\ud \ud \ud The evidence shows that younger women feel comfortable with the freedom they have.\ud They wanted to be able to fulfil their education and career aspirations and socialise with\ud friends. The younger women felt they understood Islam and followed religion more than\ud culture. They felt they were able to distinguish between culture was and where parents\ud were confusing religion and culture. The majority of women in this study described\ud having multiple identities and were comfortable with this. Being British did not mean\ud they had to compromise them as Muslims. The thesis demonstrates that Pakistanis are not\ud homogonous and that there are many differences based on gender, cast and sect. At the\ud core, however, is the sense of personal identity and the use the women made of their\ud religious beliefs, not as a sign of the subjection to their inheritance but a symbol of their\ud sense of personal independence

Topics: HQ, HT, BP
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:5979

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