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Research Seminar: Hope and survival in transition: Experiences of Kurdish and left-wing political exiles from Turkey in Greece

When Oct 30, 2020
from 02:00 PM to 03:00 PM
Where Zoom
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Presented by: Beja Protner, PhD Candidate, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge

Discussant: Soner Barthoma, Religion and Society Research Centre, Uppsala University


Paper Abstract:

In recent years, the increased political violence in Turkey has caused mass exile of political activists, revolutionary combatants, critical journalists, and other Kurdish and left-wing opponents of the regime. Due to its geographical proximity and the established networks of exiles in Athens, Greece has been their primary destination. However, due to the temporalities of “crises,” Greece has been mostly considered a “transitional zone” by Kurdish and left-wing exiles from Turkey. Yet, the current European migration and asylum regimes entrap migrants/refugees in a state of protracted transitionality. This paper, based on ethnographic fieldwork in Athens, discusses the lived experiences of waiting and in-betweenness among the Kurdish and left-wing exiles from Turkey and addresses the questions of hope and survival in the precarious conditions of possibility. It argues that emic concepts, imaginations, and political subjectivities crucially determine and delimit the kinds of hope available to people in the conditions of existential waiting and ontological uncertainty in the context of forced migration and immobility. It the presented ethnographic example, a Blochian kind of revolutionary hope, embedded in the notion and practice of comradeship, which is taught and learned within political movements, emerges as central to the exiles’ material and emotional survival in Greece.


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