Goldsmiths - University of London

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

Gregory, Eve E.; Choudhury, Halimun; Ilankuberan, Arani; Kwapong, Amoafi and Woodham, Malgozarta. 2013. Practice, performance and perfection: Learning sacred texts in four faith communities in London. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 2013(220), pp. 27-48. ISSN 0165-2516 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this article we examine the role played by one key sacred text in chil- dren’s learning in four faith communities in London (Bangladeshi British Mus- lim, 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 perfor- mance leading to the perfection required by the faith. Through multimodal ap- proaches including song, dance, gesture and chant, as well as repetition, recita- tion, 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 na- ture of each faith in London.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):



syncretism; faith; language and literacy learning; narratives; migration

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies
Research Office > REF2014


March 2013Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

24 May 2013 08:33

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 09:13

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/8095
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