Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Ruth M. Mann


Criminology, Ethnic studies



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


This thesis explores the experiences of second generation Sikh males in Canada, focusing on involvement in criminal activities during adolescence. Using a deeply qualitative autoethnographic approach (Anderson, 2006), I conducted unstructured "active" interviews (Holstein & Gubrium, 1995) with seven males ranging from 20 to 26 years of age. The interviews consist of a dialogue on how these youths' emerging identities as Sikh and as Canadians contributed to their adolescent experiences with crime. Findings highlight the importance of engaging youth at the level of personal experience and at the level of institutional and community influences. Specifically, an interplay of parental, cultural, institutional, and societal processes impacted participants' identities and subsequent actions, including desistance from crime as the youth emerged from adolescence. The major conclusion of the thesis is that while ethnic cultural influences and ethnic pride contributed to youths' involvement in various criminal activities, ethnic and especially family influences and pride also contributed to transitions to desistance. This speaks to the need for an inclusive environment that encourages integration of immigrant populations in ways that allow them to actively participate as full citizens within their families, communities and as Canadians.