Culture and Transition: The Case of Divorced Punjabi Women in Britain
The experience of divorce amongst migrant communities is a much neglected area of research and policy and we know little about how culture helps to shape this experience. This paper draws on two previous researches in West Midlands, UK, in which a minority of the respondents were divorced. It highlights the changing relationships of divorced women and their families within the wider context of migration and 'race', class and age distinctions. It draws on existing literature on divorce in Western cultures to show the commonalities and differences between the experiences of Punjabi women in Britain and other Western women in general. The paper concludes that whilst the traditional, normative values about marriage can have devastating effects on women's lives, the experiences of divorce can act as an anchor from which women begin to develop a critical perspective on their cultures. Divorce can provide an impetus for a change in normative values and practices and be a positive, rather than a negative force in women's lives. The ability to realize and sustain such strength is dependent upon the range of social, economic and emotional support that is available to women.
Keywords: Divorce, Culture, Women, Migration
Dr. Surinder Guru
Lecturer, Institute of Applied Social Studies, University of Birmingham