Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Amy Mills

Abstract

Due to the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, most people who claim a Palestinian identity do so outside of Palestine. Therefore, the challenges and opportunities of Palestinians' local contexts condition their processes of identity and belonging. I examine Palestinians' experiences in everyday life in Nicosia, Cyprus by examining how networks of places, times, thoughts, ideas, and experiences shape belonging. Networks in Nicosia, Cyprus, a recent European Union member in the Eastern Mediterranean, include international political relationships, citizenship regimes, and a strong ethnically Greek and European oriented local nationalism. I emphasize how networks of relationships affect local experiences as ideas and policies shift from one location to another through the globally spanning network to shape local context. With this framework, Palestinians' experiences are not solely shaped by European Union and Cypriot policy, but also by the interlinkages between these local policy implementations, discourses, and other practices. My research demonstrates that immigrants do not share a relationship between 'here' and 'there,' but they experience processes in real local contexts. My thesis makes a significant contribution by highlighting that Palestinians are first and foremost negotiating the legal systems, cultural understandings, conceptualizations of state sovereignty, and other politics of belonging in their current contexts instead of merely adjusting to displacement in 'distant' places as in other studies that assume Palestinians' foreignness, thereby de facto delegitimizing their claims to belonging in 'non-Palestinian' contexts.

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