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Accepted Paper:

The national struggle in memory and activism: engaging with Palestinian political narratives in Vienna, Amman, and Ramallah  
Eva Kössner (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

Building on an intersectional approach, this paper discusses how young transnationally acting Palestinians living in the Middle East and Europe reproduce, challenge and revise competitive Palestinian national narratives through memory work and activism.

Paper long abstract:

This paper discusses how young transnationally connected Palestinian adults moving between different locations in the Middle East and Europe engage with competitive Palestinian national narratives circulating today. First, I elaborate how Palestinians in Vienna, Amman, and Ramallah delineate and assess social groups that emerged or were fostered in the course of the controversial Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in the 1990s. The social demarcations my interlocutors reproduce within their memory work related to "Oslo" strongly depend on their locations and dislocations in relation to social hierarchies such as legal status, class, political socialisation, migration, or experiences of political violence. To address the often conflicting articulations and practices, an intersectional approach such as Floya Anthias' concept of translocational positionality is needed. Second, I demonstrate that contemporary knots of memory such as memorial days or expressions of solidarity allow for counteracting boundaries of belonging by changing the intersubjective and organisational conditions of people's positionality. Two initiatives of solidarity in Vienna and Amman exemplify that throughout Israel's Gaza incursions in 2014 the Gaza strip and this particular assault emerged as mutually dependent temporal and spatial points of reference for enhanced activism. Yet limited possibilities to raise Palestinian issues in their respective national surroundings and the translation of the Palestinian political split to Austria and Jordan compelled activists to manoeuver between local and transnational networks and power structures. Oscillating between the vernacularisation of human rights discourses and long-distance nationalism, they managed to temporarily reshape polyvalent imaginaries of Palestine and Palestinians.

Panel P052
Conflicted citizenships: ethnographies of power, memory and belonging
  Session 1