By Katy Gardner

When the majority of fresh examine on identification and ethnicity among South Asians in Britain has targeted upon more youthful humans, this ebook bargains with Bengali elders, the ‘first generation’ of migrants from Sylhet, in Bangladesh. The ebook describes what percentage of those elders face the strategies of ageing, disorder and — ultimately — demise, in a rustic the place they didn't count on to stick and the place they don't unavoidably consider they belong. The ways that they speak about and take care of this, and particularly, their ambivalence in the direction of Britain and Bangladesh lies on the center of the e-book.

Centrally, the ebook relies round the males and women’s existence tales. In her research of those, Gardner exhibits how narratives play a big function within the formation of either collective and person identification and are key domain names for the articulation of gender and age. Underlying the tales that folks inform, and infrequently hidden inside of their gaps and silences, are frequently different matters and issues. utilizing specific idioms and narrative units, the elders speak about the contradictions and disjunctions of transmigration, their dating with and occasionally resistance to, the British nation, and what they generally current because the ‘breakdown’ of ‘traditional’ methods. as well as this, the ebook indicates that histories, tales and identification are usually not simply narrated via phrases, but additionally throughout the physique - a space infrequently theorized in experiences of migration.

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Additional info for Age, Narrative and Migration: The Life Course and Life Histories of Bengali Elders in London

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I. M. Young 1997: 225. Cowgill and Holmes 1972; see also Keith 1982: 4–6; Bond and Coleman 1990: 10. See Meillassoux 1981. See L. Cohen 1998: 103. Keith 1982: 5. – 24 – Introduction Yet while it is important to treat functionalist models of lineal change with some scepticism, we can also draw some useful insights from them. The most important of these is the focus upon the specific political, historical and economic conditions that contribute to particular discourses and material conditions of ageing, which I discuss in Chapter 6.

I am most grateful to the Trust for their support. 7. For a more detailed description see Gardner 1999a and 1997. 8. This has to do with economic conditions in Brighton and the history of Bengali settlement there. As in other towns around Britain, the small Bengali community in the city is centred around ‘Indian’ restaurants rather than the tailoring or heavy industry that employed Bengali men in the 1950s and 1960s. Developing over the 1970s and 1980s, these restaurants employ younger men, often of the second generation.

Through their recollections we see how migrant experiences are never fixed, how lives and the meanings given to them are made and re-made. Narratives can also be powerful tools in indicating the diverse elements that constitute identity, and the ways in which identities shift and are contested within the same individual, something I shall illustrate throughout the book. Stories – of where one has come from, and where one plans to go – seem particularly important for migrants. This is partly because they, perhaps more than others, need to give coherence and meaning to their experiences.

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