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Cultural Identity in The Global-Age: A Study of The South Asian Diasporic Narratives
ABSTRACT Thesis title: Cultural Identity in the Global-Age: A Study of the South Asian Diasporic Narratives This qualitative study is aimed at tracing cultural identity of the South Asian diaspora communities from the perspectives of the postcolonial cultural theory and globalisation using textual analysis as a research method. Texts of three novels by the South Asian diaspora writers; Brick Lane by Monica Ali, Home Boy by H.M. Naqvi and The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri are analysed in the light of postcolonial cultural theories presented by Homi K. Bhabha, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Stuart Hall. Globalisation theories by Aijaz Ahmed, John Tomlinson and William I. Robinson are also considered here. Ali’s novel delineates the experiences of the Bangladeshi community in London while Naqvi has portrayed the life of Pakistani immigrants in America. Lahiri, on the other hand, has presented the immigrant life experiences of the Indians in the US. The characters of these novels exhibit different cultural identity issues in their respective phases of life in the immigrant land and use various strategies to resolve these issues. Bhabha’s ideas of mimicry, hybridity, the Third Space, cultural creativity and cultural productivity; Spivak’s concepts of moving culture and culture alive; and Hall’s view of transformative cultural identity are reflected in the lives of these characters. Global world event of 9/11, American pop culture, cultural imperialism, hybrid identity and racial discrimination are at the core of these novels. Immigrants from the postcolonial South Asian societies of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India as narrated in these novels face many problems in their life at the metropolitan centres of the world: the UK and the US. Nostalgia, alienation, cultural imperialism, cultural diversity, racial discrimination, war on terror, Islam-o-phobia, distorted self-image, rootlessness, loneliness, displacement, and foreignness are the problems faced by the characters of these novels. Immigrants in these novels make use of various strategies to form their cultural identity including assimilation, absorption, adaptation, acculturation, hybridity, rejection, resistance, and going back to roots. The South Asian literary works are also contributing to the formation of the South Asian cultural identity through raising voice, personal experiences, and addressing the centre through the centre.