Being Nepali in Doncaster: Negotiating New Understandings of Identity

SUBEDI, Puja (2019). Being Nepali in Doncaster: Negotiating New Understandings of Identity. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Nepali diasporas are prominent but under researched. This thesis focuses on the identities of a group of Nepali migrants in Doncaster, and the extent to which their homeland habitus dictate positionality of ‘self’ and ‘collectiveness’ in their adopted land, and among the Doncaster Nepali diaspora and wider society. Drawing on life history narratives from 17 in-depth interviews across a period of three years, I explore how migration experiences shape knowledge and realities among this emerging, Nepali-born population. I consider how some aspects of historical Nepali social practices remain immovable outside the country of birth (caste and ethnic differences) while others are challenged (gendered identities). Both present notions of identity as lived experiences which are negotiated and adapted to the social environment and context. Being Nepali is deeply rooted within the norms and values of individuals’ experiences pre-relocation. Doncaster’s Nepali diaspora continues the ethnic and caste divide obstructing attempts between different cultural Nepali groups to cohere. Instead, the emphasis is on differences and not similarities of shared identity. Preference is given to ‘fitting in’ with the customs and practices of the host nation. Respondents no longer see Nepal as a homeland they can relate to and find themselves in a diasporic community that does not meet fully their communal needs and expectations. This research uncovers a new understanding of a diasporic community in the UK. Individuals navigate their way around past exposure of culture in their country of birth, negotiate the outcome of migration and the impact this has on identity formation. This process creates individualised understandings of being Nepali. Older migrants, parents and grandparents, seek to pass an emphasised version of Nepali-ness to the next generation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Cere, Rinella [0000-0002-6048-6036]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. Rinella Cere
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2020 14:22
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:04

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