Remembering Palestine: A multi-media ethnography of generational memories among diaspora Palestinians

Blachnicka-Ciacek, Dominika. 2016. Remembering Palestine: A multi-media ethnography of generational memories among diaspora Palestinians. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis is a qualitative investigation of memories of Palestine among exiled Palestinians
and their descendants in Poland and in the UK. Taking the continuous character of
Palestinian dispossession as a point of departure, it examines their modes of remembering,
imagining and relating to Palestine. The thesis seeks to contribute to the sociology of
diaspora by shedding light on the multiplicity of situated trajectories that shape diasporic
Palestinians’ relationships with their ‘ancestral’ homeland. It delineates three generations
of Palestinians in diaspora: those exiled in the 1948 and their descendants born in refugee
camps; those who left as a direct or indirect result of the occupation; and those born as
‘second generation migrants’ in their parent’s countries of exile. It argues that while the
continuing erasure of Palestine informs all of their experiences, each generation produces
memories of ancestral homeland in relation to different geographies, temporalities and set
of imaginings. Tracing these differences, I am concerned with how the plurality of diasporic
memories allows generations of Palestinians to endure and constantly re-create their
relationships with the Palestine despite more than six decades of continuous uprooting.

The research is based on oral history interviews with 33 Palestinians in Poland and the UK,
followed by an ethnographic audio-visual exploration of some of the research participants’
sites of memory. The audio-visual engagements have moved back and forth between stories
narrated in Poland and in the UK and site-specific field visits within today’s Israel and the
Occupied Palestinian Territories. The five ethnographic études that accompany the written
part of this thesis strive to restore, at least partially, access to context that was lost with the
participants’ uprooting and to explore the texture and materiality of their dispossession.
This approach contributes to the development of a multi-sensory methodology that seeks to
understand diasporic and exilic experiences by placing the relationship between memory,
time and place at the heart of sociological enquiry.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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Additional Information:

This is an edited version of the thesis with third-party copyright material removed.


diaspora, memory, Palestine, exile, ethnographic methods, multi-sensory methods

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30 June 2016

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Date Deposited:

18 Jul 2016 10:44

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 11:41


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