Learning to be Palestinian in Athens: constructing national identities in diaspora
journal contributionposted on 21.09.2011, 12:10 authored by Elizabeth MavroudiElizabeth Mavroudi
In this article I focus on constructions of diasporic national identities and the nation as active and strategic processes using the case study of Palestinians in Athens. I seek, thereby, to contribute to debates on national identity, the nation and long-distance nationalism, particularly in relation to those in diaspora with a collective cause to advocate. I explore how first- and second-generation Palestinians in Athens construct and narrate Palestinian national identities, the homeland and political unity. I argue that the need to ‘choose’ to be Palestinian, often for political reasons, highlights that the nation is not a ‘given’ entity. This can be a difficult process for those in diaspora to deal with, as there may be tensions between constructions of political unity and attachment to the homeland and feelings of ambivalence and in-between-ness that may be seen as politically counterproductive. However, I stress that ‘messy’ and contradictory narratives and spatialities of diasporic national identities that come about as a result of cross-border or transnational (dis)connections do not necessarily lead to apathy and, therefore, can be important.
- Social Sciences
- Geography and Environment