An Ethnographic Study of Sectarian Negotiations among Diaspora Jains in the USA

Abstract

This thesis argued that the Jain community in the diasporic context of the USA has invented a new form of Jainism. Sectarian negotiations are the distinguishing marks of the diaspora Jain community and their invented form of Jainism. Based on ethnographic study that is, interviews and observations conducted at four different sites (Jain temples/communities) from June-August 2016, the thesis examined the sectarian negotiations among the diaspora Jain community in the USA and the invented Jain tradition that is resulting from these negotiations. The central questions of the research on which this thesis is based were: 1) what are the levels, processes and results of sectarian negotiations within the Jain diaspora community in the USA, and 2) what is the nature and characteristic of the new form of Jainism, the invented tradition; and how do Jains in the USA experience and use it.

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