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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton March 13, 2013

Practice, performance and perfection: learning sacred texts in four faith communities in London

  • Eve Gregory EMAIL logo , Halimun Choudhury , Arani Ilankuberan , Amoafi Kwapong and Malgorzata Woodham


In this article we examine the role played by one key sacred text in children's learning in four faith communities in London (Bangladeshi British Muslim, Tamil Hindu, Ghanaian Pentecostal and Polish Catholic). After situating the study within a sociocultural framework, we show how collaborative ethnography offers insights into how children begin to make collective memories their own in a new country. We focus particularly on the importance of practice and performance leading to the perfection required by the faith. Through multimodal approaches including song, dance, gesture and chant, as well as repetition, recitation, echoing and memorization, the children imbibe the texts and learn them “by heart”. Finally, we show how living in a new country results in a syncretism of language, literacy and learning practices which contributes to the dynamic nature of each faith in London.

University of London

Published Online: 2013-03-13
Published in Print: 2013-03-22

©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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