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The Sinhalese Buddhist Diaspora in the United Kingdom: Negotiating Sinhalese Identity

Wijenayake, N (2019) The Sinhalese Buddhist Diaspora in the United Kingdom: Negotiating Sinhalese Identity. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Sinhalese Buddhist people have been living in the United Kingdom for a period spanning over three generations. They have grown in number rapidly over the last five decades and have organized themselves as a distinctive community. This community has never been subjected to a formal study with regard to their diasporic experience, identity negotiations, Buddhist orientation and homeland relations. This research is aimed at filling this gap of knowledge about the Sinhalese Buddhist diaspora in the United Kingdom and their homeland relations. Firstly, this research is underpinned by a literature review of sources on Sinhala Buddhist history and civilization in Sri Lanka and the Sinhalese presence in the United Kingdom in order to set the background for this research. The review of literature revealed a rich history of Sinhalese Buddhist civilization in Sri Lanka. The written history of the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka and the mythology provide a perspective of the importance given by the Lord Buddha to the Sinhalese nation and Sri Lanka as the guardian of his pure Theravada Buddhist doctrine. The research also includes a review of discourses on diasporic theory to identify attributes or common features of diaspora in order to fully appreciate the diasporic qualities of the Sinhalese community in the UK. This has formed the basis of the empirical research in the UK, which considered Sinhala Buddhist mythology and heritage in Sri Lanka as a variable in their diasporic identity and homeland relations whilst residing in the UK. The researcher himself is a member of the Sinhala Buddhist diasporic community in the United Kingdom. Therefore, this research has utilised ethnographically-informed qualitative research methods to provide a descriptive analysis of the lived experience, identity negotiations and homeland relations of the Sinhala Buddhist community in the United Kingdom. The findings are presented via grounded thematic analysis and represent several facets of the Sinhala Buddhist lifestyle. They support the existence of a well-established, functional first generation of Sinhala Buddhist diasporic community in the United Kingdom, whose members are dynamically involved in their identity maintenance in the host land while developing relentless relationships with their homeland.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Diaspora, Identity negotiation, Lived experience, Homeland relations
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BQ Buddhism
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2019 09:23
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2022 08:54
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00011772
Supervisors: Krüger Bridge, SK, Chalcraft, D and Parker, S
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11772
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