Loving Bollywood and being Dutch: Language choice and identity issues among Surinamese-Hindustani women in Amsterdam. Dipika Mukherjee
Loving Bollywood and being Dutch: Language choice and iden- tity issues among Surinamese-Hindustani women in Amsterdam Dipika Mukherjee 1. Introduction In recent years sociolinguistic studies have focused on the study of language as a political and economic entity, and the findings have been highly nuanced when immigrant groups are the focus of the study. Researchers have investigated language choice as an expression of anti-racism (Rampton 1995), as covert subversion of the dominant language (Mukherjee 2003; Gal 1994) or as resistance to a dominant social code (Mukherjee and David 2007; Mukherjee 2006; Miller 2004). In this paper, I focus on a group of women in the Suri- namese-Hindustani community in the Netherlands and specifically look at language mainte- nance and loss as it relates to a sense of their ethnic identity. One of the most vigorous and exciting arenas for linguistic change and innovation is within immigrant communities, and the Surinamese-Hindustani community in the Nether- lands is positioned within a multilingual Europe, within a continent still coming to terms with the racial tensions inherent in a multilingual population with cultural pluralism. As Eu- rope wrestles with the problems of assimilation and integration of ethnic minorities, detailed sociolinguistic studies of immigrant groups serve to highlight the importance of culture and ethnic backgrounds in shaping practices and narratives. For this study, I focused on a group of 22 women who shared a Surinamese-Hindustani ancestry, and had enrolled at a Bollywood Dancing class held at Daalwijkdreef in Amster- dam. The popularity of Bollywood dance...
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