Culture and Change

Essay by dappapimp April 2007

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TaskSynthesis is a word which describes the combination of parts to form a connected whole (Oxford dictionary, 2005). The anthropological term cultural synthesis is a word which describes the fusion of different cultures, which adapt and evolve to become their own. Cultural syncretism focuses on the combination of different systems, such as philosophical or religious beliefs or practice. (Microsoft dictionary)Task 2:My choice of a cultural synthesis event to expand on is that of the hijab (the veil) with young female British Muslims and why it varies in comparison to Muslim nations. I will explain the background and contributing factors, such as culture, religion and historical influences that have synthesised, to create British Muslims as we recognise today. Young British practicing Muslims can be defined into three categories, first group consists of Muslim girls who strictly adhere to the Islamic dress code they observe the head scarf, in a very few cases a face veil is worn and the burqah that is a loose outer cloak that conceals all of the body from the neck to the toes including the ankles is worn.

The second group is a fusion of two factors. One element is Islamic the other is that of South Asian culture. They can be seen wearing the head scarf, which is the Islamic element, at the same time they observe the Salwar Kameez (tunic and matching trousers) which may look Islamic because of its Asian origin, however it is purely cultural and has no Islamic bearing.

The final group, which is the focus of my assignment, will elucidate the cultural synthesis of hijab in the west. This group can clearly identified because they wear distinct western clothing from high street fashion stores together with the head scarf. They do not dress themselves with the burqah or the salwar...