Anthropological Perspectives on Female Identity: The Hindu Diaspora in Portugal

By Inês Lourenço.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper is based on an anthropological study of the Gujarati Hindu Diaspora in Portugal, particularly on the key role played by women in the construction of gender and religious identities, thus contributing towards their community’s cultural reproduction. The construction of female Hindu identities in the Diaspora is a complex phenomenon, determined by processes of cultural inclusion and exclusion alike and by the confrontation of tradition with modernity. We can consider that these Women embody the legacy of tradition and memory required by their own group to ensure cultural consolidation while at the same time representing an expression of autonomy from patriarchal authority. Therefore, the female body becomes one of the most significant vehicles of identity transmission, whose manifestations are encoded in behaviours, clothing and accessories. This paper aims to analyze gender identity transformation processes and show how they take on new expression and are implemented through phenomena of truly innovative status ascension when transposed to the context of the Diaspora.

Keywords: Diaspora, Hindu, Gender, Postcolonialism, Portugal, India

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.143-152. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 601.424KB).

Inês Lourenço

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia/Science and Technology Foundation, CRIA/LUI – Centre for Research in Anthropology/Lisbon University Institute, Lisbon, Portugal

Inês Lourenço obtained her Ph.D. in Anthroplogy from the Department of Anthropology at ISCTE/IUL, Lisbon University Institute. She is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CRIA – Centre for Research in Anthropology, Lisbon University Institute. Her main research is centered on the Hindu Diaspora in Portugal, supported by fieldwork carried out in Portugal and in India since 2000. Currently she is especially interested on the topic of consumption of Indian commodities and on social uses of culture that are made from this kind of cultural consumption, as in the case of Bollywood, in Portuguese society.

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