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Diasporic Urbanism: Place, Politics and Development in a Jordanian-Palestinian Neighbourhood

PRICE, MARTIN,WILLIAM,HENRY (2020) Diasporic Urbanism: Place, Politics and Development in a Jordanian-Palestinian Neighbourhood. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This research presents ‘diasporic urbanism’ as a framework capable of interrogating the ways in which place and locality feature in the lives of diasporic communities. The objective of diasporic urbanism is not to provide a renewed, prescriptive account of what ‘diaspora’ and ‘the diasporic’ entail. Rather, its objective is to carve out a conceptual and methodological space for the geographical study of diasporic communities in the city, reconciling important aspects of urban life with the ongoing negotiations of temporality and scale that come with living in the diaspora. The framework stresses the need for diaspora studies to commit to ethnographic forms of enquiry, and to have the confidence to think beyond the Jewish, black, postmodern, or postcolonial experiences and approaches, that disproportionately shape the discipline, when analysing and articulating diasporic life in specific communities.

Rejecting the view that diaspora represents a transnational and de-territorialised social condition, this research explores the specificities and contingencies of life in the Palestinian-Jordanian neighbourhood of Jana’a, in Zarqa. The Palestinian diaspora is often depicted as vulnerable to multiple existential challenges, relating to issues of statehood, the right of return to the homeland, and citizenship rights in countries of residence. But how do Palestinians in Zarqa articulate their own lives and their own identities? This research reveals a separate, and at times counter-intuitive, set of concerns that are of fundamental importance to residents in Jana’a. The project challenges our assumptions around both the concept of diaspora and Palestinian politics by re-examining local histories, urban politics, development, and the ways in which residents articulate their past experiences, present conditions, and aspirations for the future. Diasporic urbanism is presented as a unique opportunity to rethink diasporic geographies in relation to place, and it is through place-based research that we can successfully move beyond the entrenched conceptual crisis within diaspora scholarship.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:diaspora; urban; palestinian; politics; development
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 May 2020 15:38

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