Understanding Dynamics of Belonging through Complex Migration Processes and Intertwined Experiences of Violence

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:30
Oral Presentation
Johannes BECKER, University of Goettingen, Germany
Dolly ABDUL KARIM, Center of Methods in Social Sciences. Qualitative Research, Germany
Our presentation builds upon research in Amman, Jordan, a city in which a majority of inhabitants or their families have migrated to the city, mostly as refugees from violent conflicts. On the basis of narrative-biographical interviews with members of several groupings and generations of refugees, we will reconstruct (multiple) processes of migration and how they are intertwined with differing and multi-layered experiences of violence. Central to our presentation is an analysis of how experiences of ‘individual’ and ‘collective’ migration, and ‘individual’ or ‘collective’ violence in the context of life-histories are interrelated with shifting we-I balances and feelings of belonging to various groupings in different places at different times.

We will introduce case reconstructions of interviews with two women who came to Jordan from Kuwait (in 1990/1991) and from Syria (in 2009). The analysis highlights the ways processes of migration and experiences of violence – for example in the context of wars or state persecution and/or within the family – can be interpreted not only as changing the conceptions of national or ethnic belonging, but also, for instance, as altering conceptions of family, education and liberal or less liberal ‘lifestyles’, and therefore also the interviewees’ social positioning in Amman.

Our discussion is based on first results from our research in the context of the project ‘Dynamic figurations of refugees, migrants, and long-time residents in Jordan since 1946: between peaceable and tension-ridden co-existence?’ (located at the University of Göttingen and funded by the German Research Organisation, DFG).