By Katy Gardner
While the majority of fresh study on identification and ethnicity among South Asians in Britain has concentrated upon more youthful humans, this booklet bargains with Bengali elders, the ‘first generation’ of migrants from Sylhet, in Bangladesh. The booklet describes what percentage of those elders face the procedures of getting old, affliction and — eventually — dying, 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 discuss and care for this, and specifically, their ambivalence in the direction of Britain and Bangladesh lies on the middle of the publication.
Centrally, the ebook relies round the males and women’s existence tales. In her research of those, Gardner indicates how narratives play an immense function within the formation of either collective and person id and are key domain names for the articulation of gender and age. Underlying the tales that folks inform, and infrequently hidden inside their gaps and silences, are frequently different matters and matters. utilizing specific idioms and narrative units, the elders discuss the contradictions and disjunctions of transmigration, their dating with and occasionally resistance to, the British nation, and what they typically current because the ‘breakdown’ of ‘traditional’ methods. as well as this, the publication exhibits that histories, tales and identification will not be simply narrated via phrases, but in addition in the course of the physique - a space not often theorized in experiences of migration.
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Extra info for Age, Narrative and Migration: The Life Course and Life Histories of Bengali Elders in London
This meant that all the elders who gave interviews and narrated stories were fully aware that I was interested for the purposes of ‘learning about the experience of Bengali elders’ with the ultimate aim of writing a book for my university, in which their stories would be included. Initially, I visited the centre on a daily basis, sitting with the women on their side of the hall, helping to serve lunch, and participating in the activities that took place after prayers in the afternoons. It did not take long to make friends.
It did not take long to make friends. Although somewhat rusty, my spoken Bengali was a great asset for public relations, as was the fact that I had lived in a village in Sylhet. Indeed, I soon discovered people who were distantly related to my own fictive family in Nabiganj. Almost immediately I was invited to visit women in their homes. When I explained to them that I wanted to hear their stories and ask them about their lives in Britain most were keen to help. I was introduced to other carers in their homes by the project’s ‘Carers’ worker, whom I often accompanied in her outreach work.
The ways in which places and movement over space are understood and made meaningful thus depend upon context. Here, age and the life course are central, but so too is the wider history in which one has participated, geography, gender, life experience and so on. As we shall see from the elders’ narratives, accounts of migration tend to be told very differently by men and women. This is partly because gender helps to control and structure the access we have to places, our experiences in them and the way we perceive them; a trite example would be a British building site: a place of work and the construction of both buildings and masculinity for the men who are employed there, but studiously avoided by most women under a certain age.