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date: 14 December 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the development of gender construction within Sikh history, based on an understanding that gender ideologies and gendered practices are social constructs that are deeply imbricated in societal and religious structures, ideologies and values. Beginning with the Sikh Guru period through to contemporary Sikh society, central rituals, identity markers, and religio-cultural institutions and practices are examined through an analysis of inclusionary and exclusionary processes based on gender. These include an overview of gender differentiation within the developing Khalsa order, Sikh naming practices, the turban as identity marker, scripture, official codes of conduct, institutional roles such as the panj piare (beloved five) as well as religio-cultural codes such as izzat (honour). The intersectionality of caste, socio-economic status, geographic locale, and class are also considered in terms of the negotiation of gender identities.

Keywords: gender, gender differentiation, women, Sikhism, ritual exclusion, naming practices, identity markers, turban, panj piare, izzat (honour)

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