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Kurdish generational diasporic identities. Perceptions of ‘home’ and ‘sense of belonging’ within families among Iraqi Kurds in the UK

Zalme, Ali

Kurdish generational diasporic identities. Perceptions of ‘home’ and ‘sense of belonging’ within families among Iraqi Kurds in the UK Thumbnail


Ali Zalme


This thesis examines the concept of ‘home’ and ‘sense of belonging’ according to the experiences of Iraqi-Kurdish diasporic communities in the United Kingdom. It aims to explore the extent to which those in the Kurdish diaspora constructed their ‘identity’ in relation to their experiences and perceptions of ‘home’. It considers the concept of ‘home’ and ‘sense of belonging' as two contested and negotiated concepts among immigrant communities and Iraqi Kurdish communities in Britain in particular. The study also seeks to discover connections between the family as home and that of institutional home (i.e. the country of origin and the country of settlement) and experiences of living between two cultures.
It aims to obtain empirically grounded insights from the generational perspectives of the Kurdish immigrants and their children in terms of their sense of belonging and integration into UK society. It also aims to provide insights from the perspective of gender and conceptualise the Kurdish male/female experiences in the diaspora. The study will also investigate the ways in which memories of ‘back home’ narrated by parents, influence and interweave with their children’s constructions and experiences of ‘home’ in the UK. The current study is distinctive in at least two ways. It provides new insights from different generational and gender perspectives among Kurdish communities that are essential to the field conceptually; its empirical focus is characterised by multi-sited ethnography. The study aspires to not only understand why this particular group thinks in that way but also to investigate how they experience their life-world. It deploys a combination of research into lived experiences and the reflexive experience of the researcher. Through its autoethnographical approach it contributes to the development of research methods in the field. This study’s distinctive features takes into account lived experiences from the Kurdish community; the research is bottom-up rather than focusing solely on the political activist or the political elite. Furthermore, it considers generational differences and transnational family experiences in the age of globalisation and the intensity of people’s migratory.
The thesis’ findings conclude that the Iraqi-Kurdish diaspora is experiencing a triadic identity and belonging; this is taking place in the context of the family home, host country and country of origin. As a consequence there is a focus on heterogeneity enabling an understanding of the diaspora’s multiple identifications with different places, times and cultural formations. The study promotes perspectives from an individual’s experience (Alina, 2004) and also its social practice; it is not just an apolitical domain. This necessitates challenging the essentialist and nationalist approach that is, unfortunately, dominant in diasporic community research and in the Kurdish diaspora in particular. The thesis has concludes that the second generation do not behave in a manner similar to their parents in terms of their experiences of their ancestral home; they are just not a continuation of the first generation. They need instead to be treated as a complex phenomenon in their own right.


Zalme, A. Kurdish generational diasporic identities. Perceptions of ‘home’ and ‘sense of belonging’ within families among Iraqi Kurds in the UK. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Feb 4, 2019
Publicly Available Date Feb 4, 2019
Keywords Diasporic Identity, Home, Kurdish, Generational Identity ,Transnational Family
Public URL
Award Date Feb 4, 2019


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