Second-generation Tamils and cross-cultural marriage

Managing the translocal village in a moment of cultural rupture

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The paper is based on an auto-ethnographic study of transnational Tamils living in Singapore who retain strong links to their village in India. We explore the challenges posed by increasingly hybrid cultural practices and cross-cultural connections among the second-generation members of this translocal village which spans India, Singapore and Australia. Through a case study of a cross-cultural and 'out-marriage' which took place in the village in India, we explore how those charged with maintaining and reproducing the cultural boundaries of the village in transnational circumstances responded to this cultural 'rupture'. We analyse some of the factors that were pivotal in reproducing the continued viability of the moral economy of this translocal village and explore some of the means deployed to maintain the boundaries of this social field. We develop the concept of 'transnational affect' to describe the function of bodily emotions such as shame and pride that compel participation in and conformity to the transnational social field. We also discuss the deployment of strategies of creative improvisation such as the filling-in of ritual gaps in order to maintain ritual integrity. We show how this ensures that the role of ritual in reproducing membership and a sense of obligation to the community is not disrupted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-131
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008

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