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National Belonging and Everyday Nationhood in the Age of Globalization: An Account of Global Flows in Libya.

ALUNNI, ALICE (2020) National Belonging and Everyday Nationhood in the Age of Globalization: An Account of Global Flows in Libya. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This research explores the relation between national belonging, everyday nationhood and globalization in Libya. These aspects have been largely neglected in the scholarship on Libya and particularly in the analyses concerning the 2011 uprising against the Gaddafi's regime and the civil war that followed. A review of the literature on nationalism and particularly nationalism in Libya, together with the author’s direct observation of Libyan civil society in 2013 and 2014, suggested the need to explore these aspects by moving beyond classical approaches to nationalism studies.

This thesis proposes a theoretical framework that combines Rogers Brubaker and Frederick Cooper’s relational and processual approach to the study of nationalism with Arjun Appadurai’s framework of ‘global cultural flows’ to understand the role of globalization in shaping everyday practices of nationhood and the individual’s sense of belonging to a nation – that is nationness - in relation to nationalism as a political ideology and everyday phenomenon fostered by the Gaddafi’s regime. Drawing on the grounded theory method and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis, the framework was applied to explore how globalization had an impact on the emergence and evolution of everyday practices of nationhood, shaping nationness and a national imaginary among a selected group of Libyan actors within the territory of the state, such as the political elite and the civil society, as well as transnational agents, such as individuals and groups in the diaspora.

While narrating the evolution of the global cultural flows in the twentieth century in Libya, the main focus of this study is on the change unleashed by the ICT revolution from the 1990s onwards and on how this and the flows of Libyan people in and out the country affected the way these groups imagined the nation in the twenty-first century and, in particular, before and in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution. I argue in this thesis that these changes can only be understood in relation to the control exerted by the Gaddafi’s regime on the Libyan people. That control limited the communication between ‘the national’ and ‘the global’, restricting the flows. This led to a hegemonic narrative inside the country centred on Arab ethnicity, Islam and the anti-colonial resistance. Counter narratives were developed privately and in the diaspora unable to freely emerge into the public space until the 2000s. Libya’s reintegration into the international community changed the spaces within which nationhood and nationness were defined and contested, bringing ‘the national’ and ‘the global’ closer, challenging the vision of a homogenous Libyan nation. In the aftermath of the 2011 revolution, the imagined ‘Libyan nation’ emerged as highly contested under the pressure of multiple subjectivities and practices of nationhood.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Libya, nation, everyday nationhood, nationness, globalization, belonging
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 Oct 2020 08:09

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