Azam, N. A. (2006) How British Mirpuri Pakistani women identify themselves and form their id. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis examines the experiences and the attitudes of Bradford females who have
Pakistani Mirpuri heritage. The study has involved people of different ages ranging from
sixteen to thirty-five and older women aged in their forties and beyond. The women
explore their relationship with their parents, the biraderi (their extended family), career
and educational aspirations, involvement with religion and culture and how these fit into
their personal identities.

The data was gathered incrementally over three stages. Each stage was equally important,
and themes emerged at each stage, which were then explored further. The data comes out
from a number of questionnaires, which were followed by interviews. The research
evidence creates consistent pictures and provides an insight into the lives and experiences
of Bradford females, of Pakistani Mirpuri origin. The concern was to explore the notions
of their sense of personal identity in the face of conflicting cultures and conflicts between
culture and religion.

The research evidence shows that younger women believed they did share a close
relationship with their parents. At times this relationship was tested. The evidence shows
that an area of major inter-generational tension was where parents were trying to control
the behaviours of younger women by using cultural interpretations of Islam. This was
particularly mentioned by younger women in relation to education, careers, and marriage
and on issues of freedom generally. The relationship of younger women, with the biraderi
(kin) is not as close as their parents' relationship with it. Younger women are leading
independent lives and have high career and educational aspirations. The majority of the
respondents felt their parents had supported their aspirations.

The evidence shows that younger women feel comfortable with the freedom they have.
They wanted to be able to fulfil their education and career aspirations and socialise with
friends. The younger women felt they understood Islam and followed religion more than
culture. They felt they were able to distinguish between culture was and where parents
were confusing religion and culture. The majority of women in this study described
having multiple identities and were comfortable with this. Being British did not mean
they had to compromise them as Muslims. The thesis demonstrates that Pakistanis are not
homogonous and that there are many differences based on gender, cast and sect. At the
core, however, is the sense of personal identity and the use the women made of their
religious beliefs, not as a sign of the subjection to their inheritance but a symbol of their
sense of personal independence.

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