Fighting and friendship among Punjabi youth in England: Ritual, masculinity and racialization

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Abstract

This paper deals with school-based friendship groups as a window on conflict among Punjabi youth in the West Midlands, England. In the town where I carried out fieldwork, fighting among Indian and Pakistani youth erupted episodically at school, and would often escalate to enfold older siblings, cousins and friends outside school. Whilst such conflict has been interpreted as evidence of propensities to communalism among diasporic youth, I suggest that these readings fail to capture the choreographies of provocation, transgression and name-calling that were effected by the young men and understand how these produced their sense of themselves as men. This paper draws on analysis of a single school-based peer-group in the West Midlands, and suggests that situated ethnography engaging with young men’s practices of fighting and friendship in terms of a rite of passage to manhood offer a way of re-thinking the characterization of these clashes in communal terms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jul 2019

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