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Title: Narratives of loss, longing and daily life : the meaning of home for Cypriot refugees in London
Author: Taylor, Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 295X
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2009
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The concept of home is integral to much research in the field of refugee studies, which has looked at the settlement of refugees in the new home of exile, return to the lost home and, more recently, a negotiation between two or more homes through transnational practices. However, studies have rarely focused on what home actually means for those compelled to leave their homes. This thesis moves beyond a structural assessment of forced migration to look at the lived experience of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot refugees in London, in order to develop a more nuanced understanding of the meaning of home. The thesis takes as its focus four key aspects of home - the spatial, temporal, material and relational - to reveal that home for the refugee is complex, multiple and in process. What the refugee loses when they are displaced is not only the physical property of the spatial home; but also the networks and social capital of the relational home; the framed memories, repetitions of daily life and future potential of the temporal home; as well as the tastes, scents and embodied experience of the material home. It is the impossibility of all these aspects ever being reassembled, even if the physical property were to be returned, which illustrates the depth of loss that exile often represents. However, in spite of the losses they have suffered, the majority of Cypriot refugees in this study also show tremendous resilience. The findings are based on narrative interviews with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot refugees, who have lived in protracted exile in London for several decades. Contributing to a narrative turn in the field, which places the refugee at the centre rather than the margins of the research, this study recognises refugees as agents in their own lives, who are victims of circumstances rather than victims per se.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral