Accepted paper:

"Although I have a Jordanian passport…" memories and dreams of Palestinian refugees in Jordan


Gudrun Kroner (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

The focus of my paper is the Palestinian refugee community in Jordan. As various factors lead to the construction of group identities,I will try to explore relevant terms such as home, dreams and nostalgia, as well as their different meaning for the various groups and how they are used in daily life

Paper long abstract:

Many Palestinians have been "naturalized" in Jordan, which means that they receive the same benefits as the Jordanian population. They are regular citizens possess a Jordanian passport and a national ID card. Nevertheless, they still have -and this after 50 years- the label of being refugees. They are considered as Palestinian by the "native" Jordanians. Furthermore, the Palestinian community is not as homogeneous as one might assume, e.g. there are the "Kuwaitis" and "Gazans" who are also viewed as different from the Palestinians. Terms such as memories, nostalgia, and dreams regarding the future differ between generations, groups of different socio-economic backgrounds and /or different diasporic experiences (e.g. Palestinians who have worked in the Gulf countries and were forced to "return" to Jordan because of the Gulf War in 1990). Appadurai and Beckenridge cite that "diasporas always leave a trail of collective memory about another place and time and create new maps of desire and of attachment" (1989: i). In the case of Palestinians living in Jordan distinct group identities, e.g. of the Palestinians who lived in Kuwait, can be observed in everyday life. Many of the Palestinians have lived in more than in one country and are therefore "products and mediators of different places and cultures, incorporating both 'the traveler' and 'the native'"(Ben-Ze'ev 2004 127), which is also reflected in daily activities. This proposed paper is based on fieldwork conducted in Jordan in 2006/2007. It explores group identities and the different perceptions of home, nostalgia and dreams among these various groups.

panel W028
Being human, being migrant: dealing with memory, dreams and hopes in everyday life