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Title: Securing the faith : Syrian Christians in Turkey and Germany.
Author: Armbruster, Heide Marie.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3427 4120
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2000
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The thesis is an ethnographic study of Syrian Orthodox Christians living both in South East Turkey and in Germany as migrants. So far, there has hardly been any ethnographic research on this community, which belongs to the indigenous Christianity of the Middle East. As a result of periods of persecution and discrimination throughout their history Syrian Christians have become a beleaguered minority in Turkey today. Since the 1960s they have reacted to political pressures and economic hardship by large scale emigration to Western Europe and other countries. In south east Turkey they are now reduced to a small enclave of about 2,500 people. In Western Europe, the largest communities reside in Germany (ca. 45,000 people) and Sweden (ca. 40,000). The thesis investigates this history of migration and its effects, as represented by the Syrian Christians, who increasingly refer to themselves as living in a 'diaspora'. The thesis is based on fieldwork conducted in Tur 'Abdin (Turkey) and in a German immigrant city. Thus it benefits and suffers from being a 'multi-sited ethnography'. The main focus is placed on issues of 'community' and forms of self-understanding in a diasporic context. Senses of diaspora are inevitably intertwined with senses of community 'gained' and 'lost', and each chapter investigates a vision of community. The chapters explore how these visions hinge upon memory, location, language and religion, and also the extent to which differences of age and gender affect the ways in which community and belonging are construed. This investigation of the discursive parameters of community in a group which has become more and more dispersed, contributes to the current and ongoing debate in social anthropology which problematizes the conceptualization of 'culture' or 'society' as bounded systems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available