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These issues will be explored in reference to South Asian Muslims in Britain and how they see themselves, how they are treated by others and whether ‘race’ and ethnicity are the defining factors in shaping their identities.Identity is ‘ Identity is a much debated subject where sociologists differ on what influences the formation of identities.Jenkins believes that by establishing different identity groups creates an awareness of a groups traits and equips you with knowledge on how to interact with them, regardless of whether the knowledge and understanding of these groups maybe limited or even wrong.
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A multicultural society with a cultural diversity is the product of immigration, creating rise to issues of discrimination, adjustment and assimilation for not only those who immigrate to a new land but also for the generations to come.
South Asian British Muslims are a group that is constantly in a state of flux, adapting and adopting cultures to form a hybrid identity which consists of elements of a nation which has been left behind and a new nation whose culture is in conflict of that of their forefathers.
Similarly purely race cannot be seen as markers of identity and ethnicity, as others of the same race, the Punjabi Sikhs or the Indian Hindus, are ethnically similar, yet were not part of this phenomenon.
If anything, at least for the south Asian Muslim community, religion plays an important part in defining their ethnicity.
Bradley(1997) argues that in the postmodern approach to identity, class is becoming less important as a source of identity and that ‘race’, ethnicity, nationality, culture and religion are being stressed upon more as markers of identity.
Bradley goes further to say factors of identities are grounded in inequality, social division and differences.
Postmodernists on the other hand argue that identities are fluid and multiple, therefore not constrained to an acceptance of a position into which a person is born in society (Haralambos and Holborn, 2008p.709).
Equally important to the concept of identity is ‘social identity’.