Gender Roles and Cultural Continuity in the Asian Indian Immigrant Community in the US


Das Dasgupta, Shamita. 1998. "Gender Roles and Cultural Continuity in the Asian Indian Immigrant Community in the US." Sex Roles 38 (11-12): 953-74.

Author: Shamita Das Dasgupta


Ethnic identity is a part of positive self-concept that consciously anchors an individual to a particular ethnic group. Central to this identity is a sense of belonging, as well as a commitment to the group's values, beliefs, behaviors, conventions, and customs. This study focuses on the Asian Indian community in the U.S. to investigate their concerns with the continuity of ethnic identity via maintenance of traditional culture. Intergenerational synchrony in two specific values, attitudes toward women and dating, were examined as indicators of successful transmission of culture and identity. Forty-six educated, middle class Indian immigrant families, the majority of whom were foreign born and Hindus, participated in this study by responding to three questionnaires: Attitude Toward Women Scale, Dating Scale, and IPAT Anxiety Scale. Although the results show a strong similarity between parents and children on target attitudes, distinct intergenerational and gender asymmetries emerged. The conscious attempt to preserve certain critical attitudes, values, and behaviors characteristic of the group was labeled “judicious biculturalism,” an expression of active involvement on the immigrants' part to control the course of their own acculturation. The study has implications for women's status within the Asian Indian community.

Keywords: gender roles, immigration, gender transformation

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Households Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, South Asia Countries: India, United States of America

Year: 1998

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