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Diasporic Belonging in Religious Spaces: Insights from Within the Sri Lankan Diaspora

journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-13, 01:19 authored by C Ratnam, N Arambewela-Colley
The changing social, cultural and physical characteristics and uses of public spaces by migrants are of longstanding interest to social scientists. Often embedded in uses of public spaces are splinters, resonances and connections to home and migration. This paper examines the religious spaces that Sri Lankan migrants engage with in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. To untangle the complexities associated with these spaces, we integrate a framework of belonging that encompasses rituals, relationships and restrictions. A multilayered dataset, which includes interviews with the Sri Lankan diaspora, (auto)ethnography, field observations and photography, revealed that within the Sri Lankan diaspora, individuals often used religious spaces to maintain rituals and identities. The data uncovered that some participants in the diaspora used religious spaces to gather and socialise with other diaspora members while others had dynamic relationships with these spaces–that is, the meanings attributed to religious spaces were at times fraught with tensions and hostilities towards religious practice and feelings of welcome. In this paper, we offer a snapshot of a growing diaspora in Australia and their negotiations to belong (or not).

History

Journal

Journal of Intercultural Studies

Volume

ahead-of-print

Pagination

1-19

Location

Oxford, Eng.

ISSN

0725-6868

eISSN

1469-9540

Language

en

Issue

ahead-of-print

Publisher

Informa UK Limited

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