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Making of Transnational Selves: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Kurdish Diaspora and Non-State Political Agencies

Unité : REPI Recherche et Études en Politique Internationale | ULB704

Description :

This book project is based on my unpublished doctoral thesis entitled "Transnational Community Politics in the Diaspora:
Agenda and Agency Building Experiences of the Kurds from Turkey in the UK" (Keele University, UK, 2017). It attempts to draw a
portrait of the Kurdish diaspora politics with particular focus on the community level in London. In so doing, political activities
of the Kurds from Turkey are contextualized within the framework of diasporas as non-state actors in transnational politics, hence
going beyond their strong physical and psycho-social ties to their homeland thanks to the opportunities created in the
transnational sphere. On the other hand, the limits of being a stateless diaspora emerges as a major obstacle experienced by the Kurds which
sheds light on several problems faced by multiple non-state actors in world politics. The case of the Kurdish diaspora as a
stateless non-state actor in contrast with state-led diasporas and states themselves, provides us with the golden epistemological
opportunity of building up an “anthropology of international relations” to better understand world politics by closely looking at
the interaction of micro actors on the ground (like diasporas) with macro actors like the states and international organisations
among others. This allows for an original path of understanding not only how principal actors of world politics are perceived by
smaller actors including diasporas, communities and individuals but also demonstrates the ways the former is influenced by the latter
and vice versa. First, the book provides remarkable insights into everyday life and political activism of the Kurdish diaspora
individuals and patterns of politicization through community centres in the UK. As a political science and international relations
research employing sociological and anthropological techniques and tools, it has a great transdisciplinary strength through its
methodological choices. My research is based on a 15-month-data collection period between June 2012 and September 2013, and it has a
qualitative approach. It comprises 20 in-depth interviews, casual participant observation, field notes and photos, as well as
official and unofficial social media accounts, publications and websites linked to Kurdish diaspora associations/community centres
among others. Therefore, I offer a "politics in the vernacular" approach to the study of nations and ethnic groups in the
transnational sphere.      
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