Glocalisation in the Indian Diaspora

Author Name

Ruben Gowricharn

Author Address

Professor of Hindustani diaspora studies Free University (Amsterdam) The Netherlands [email protected]


Glocalisation, markets, consumer tastes, Bollywood, Indian aesthetics, invention of tradition, Hinduism


Scholarship on diaspora assumed settled ethnic communities, mostly in Western societies, that refer to an imagined or real home country. In spite of some difficulty with the concept, for a global diaspora community to prosper some cultural homogeneity between the settled community is presupposed. However, scholarship also has emphasized that the ethnic communities have become hybrid in the process of settlement and integration. The increasing divergence between member communities of the diaspora raises the question how the diverging hybrid communities remain connected. As far as I know, the question has not been raised in the scholarly literature. This paper argues that in spite of their diverging hybridity, diaspora communities remained connected by markets. By distributing cultural commodities - notably in the field of esthetics, fashion, and invented traditions - these markets reduce the cultural disparities between diaspora communities and increases the similarities. While this glocalisation process largely depends on the capacity to obtain these commodity, the acquisition and their fitting in daily life is eased by internet. Although the process comprises almost all Indian diaspora communities, the argument of the paper is illuminated with the experience of the Dutch Hindostani’s in the Netherlands, descendants of British Indian indentured labourers shipped to Suriname. 


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