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Reluctant Victims into Challengers - Narratives of a Kurdish Political Generation in Diaspora in Sweden

  • Charlotta Zettervall
Publiceringsår: 2013
Språk: Engelska
Dokumenttyp: Doktorsavhandling


This thesis concerns a sociological analysis on the role of generations in the processes of the construction of national identities, and long-distance nationalism in diasporic settings. The empirical case taken is a political generation of Kurds from Turkey who once arrived in Sweden as political refugees.

The primary aim of the thesis is to study how national identities are constructed and maintained in the political generation of interest here. Twenty-three men and women who arrived in Sweden in the years surrounding the military coup of 1980 have been interviewed. They are all from Turkey and have all been involved in the Kurdish resistance during the 1960s and/or 1970s. Theoretically the thesis draws on the concepts of sociological generation, diaspora and long-distance nationalism. The analysis contained herein adresses questions of how Kurdish national identities of this political generation are constructed and maintained in a diasporic setting.

Using a narrative approach the thesis demonstrates how competing stories together form a complex and intricate narrative. The stories are both backward- and forward-looking, articulating different experiences of suffering, strength, emancipation and challenges.

The backward-looking stories are on the one hand associated with experiences of political unrest, violence and denial. On the other hand these stories articulate senses of idyllisation, displacement and longing for a homeland lost. These are the stories of a defeated political generation and fit into the dominant diaspora victimisation narrative. The forward-looking stories concentrate on the subjects efforts in developing practices and strategies in their present lives in diasporic settings. In Sweden they have continued to commit themselves to the Kurdish cause. Gradually new political strategies developed and many of the interviewees became engaged in transnational networks. The forward-looking stories indicate that the generation has come to challenge the dominant diaspora victim narrative. Simultaneously, however, their their position as a defeated political generation was challenged. The results also point to the fact that national identities are complex and changing.


Stadshallens sessionssal, Lund
  • Östen Wahlbeck (Docent)


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • International Migration
  • Long-Distance Nationalism
  • Diaspora
  • Nationalism
  • Kurds
  • Political Generations
  • Refugees


  • Carl-Göran Heidegren
  • ISSN: 1102-4712

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