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Templeisation: Continuity and Change of Hindu Traditions in Diaspora

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Religions that are involved in processes of migration face a double challenge: they need to adapt to the new environment due to the different socio-cultural and legal setting; at the same time, a faithful maintenance of ritual practice, religious concepts, worldview, and norms is a prerequisite for the continuation of the very tradition, warding off assimilation. Recent scholarship in social and cultural studies subsumed these processes under the newly 'discovered' term of diaspora. This article employs the term to analyse aspects of religious dynamics caused by constraints of living home away from home. We adopt the neologism “templeisation” introduced by Vasudha Narayanan studying Hindu immigrants from India in the USA, in order to scrutinise incipient changes among Hindu Tamils from Sri Lanka in continental Europe. Templeisation points to a decisive shift of religious observance and ritual practice from the home to the temple, accompanied by a shift in authority away from women and mothers to men and priests. Are these shifts also observable for the Tamil Hindu diaspora in Germany and Switzerland?


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