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Title: Voicing the stories of the excluded : Albanian families' history and heritage making at the crossroads of new and old homes
Author: Vomvyla, E.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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My research explores the dialectical relationship between identity and the conceptualisation/creation of history and heritage in migration by studying a socially excluded group in Greece, that of Albanian families. Even though the Albanian community has more than twenty years of presence in the country, its stories, often invested with otherness, remain hidden in the Greek ‘mono-cultural’ landscape. In opposition to these stigmatising discourses, my study draws on movements democratising the past and calling for engagements from below by endorsing the socially constructed nature of identity and the denationalisation of memory. A nine-month fieldwork with five Albanian families took place in their domestic and neighbourhood settings in the areas of Athens and Piraeus. Based on critical ethnography, data collection was derived from participant observation, conversational interviews and participatory techniques. From an individual and family group point of view the notion of habitus led to diverse conceptions of ethnic identity, taking transnational dimensions in families’ literal and metaphorical back-and-forth movements between Greece and Albania. Jiggling between the personal and the national, history making reproduced in intergenerational narratives, to fulfil individuals’ identity requirements and shifting ideologies of the present. The creation of heritage through domestic artefacts and embodied practices, revealed identity continuities and ruptures in the diasporic realm, where the remembrance of home away from ‘home’ did not imply the uncritical endorsement of its heritage. My study concludes by underpinning the salience of the personal subject developing a reciprocal relationship with the social, the cultural and the ethnic in constructing identity, history and heritage. Different personal experiences and sociocultural backgrounds lead to different narratives of negotiating identity, history and heritage meaning, explaining notions of heterogeneity and multivocality in the same ethnic group or family.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available