Parallel Nation-ness : Invocation(s) and Performance(s) of Kurdish Nation-ness among Kurdish Immigrants in Finland

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Title: Parallel Nation-ness : Invocation(s) and Performance(s) of Kurdish Nation-ness among Kurdish Immigrants in Finland
Author: Kontulainen, Helin
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2019
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Sosiologia
Abstract: This thesis investigates how Kurdish nation-ness is invoked and performed among Kurdish immigrants in Finland, through focusing on the case of Kurdiliitto (an umbrella association unifying 24 Kurdish-Finnish organizations throughout Finland.) Using an alternative concept, i.e. nation-ness, this study attempts to underline the historicity and ideological grab of nationalism, which often goes overlooked when adopting more conventional concepts such as ‘diaspora’, ‘belonging’ or ‘identity’. As nation-ness is a novel concept with little scholarly attention, additional effort is directed towards defining it. Nation-ness is described in this thesis as a term conveying “the state of being a nation.” This thesis provides answers to two main research questions: firstly, “how is Kurdish nation-ness invoked and performed among Kurdish immigrants in Finland?” and secondly, “what are some of the most recurrent patterns utilized in these invocations and performances?” It is argued that such division of questions directs analytical attention equally both towards the social actors’ actions and the discursive, visual or auditory content found in these actions. Kurdiliitto is utilized to provide an empirical anchor for the investigation and to avoid an analytically shallow referencing of an “ethnic” or “diasporic” community. The data used in the answering of these research questions are elicitated through ten observations at various events of Kurdiliitto and three semi-structured interviews with the leading members of the organization. The thesis adopts the abductive analysis method to focus on “surprises” within the collected data and emphasize an effort towards theory construction. This study introduces an alternative analytical concept: i.e. ‘nation-ness as performance.’ Through this concept, it is argued nation-ness is, fundamentally, performed. An analogy between the performances of ‘nation-ness’ and ‘gender’ is emphasized in this context in order to determine the properties of nation-ness as performance. In regard to the research questions, this thesis asserts that Kurdish nation-ness is invoked and performed mainly as parallel to “other nation-nesses”. The use of an internationally shared language of nationalism, as well as the flagging of nation-ness through various visual and auditory markers, are found to be the most recurrent patterns in the invocation(s) and performance(s) of Kurdish nation-ness.
Subject: Nationalism
Kurdish immigrant

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