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Title: Yemeni, Muslim, and Scouse : ethnicity and religion, hybridity and locality in contemporary Liverpool
Author: Harrison, David Edmund
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2020
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British-Yemenis have received little attention, scholarly or otherwise, in the contemporary context of the UK. Similarly, there are few ethnographically-informed studies focusing on contemporary Liverpool despite the region’s rich histories of migration and its numerous diaspora groups. Addressing these gaps, this thesis presents an ethnographic study of contemporary Liverpool-Yemeni life based on fifteen months of fieldwork during 2017 and 2018. The focus is primarily upon the constructions and performances of everyday Liverpool-Yemeni identities among the post-migration generation who continuously negotiate the diasporic tension of ‘roots’ and ‘routes’. Adapting Gerd Baumann’s framework of ‘the multicultural triangle’ to account for dimensions of translocality, Liverpool-Yemenis’ multiple belongings are explored along ethnic, national/local, and religious lines. The key finding of the thesis is that while second-generation Liverpool-Yemenis largely do not mobilise politically as an ethno-national ‘community’ to enact change in the homeland, ‘Yemeniness’ nonetheless retains salience in the production and performances of an aesthetic diaspora, which is rooted in the translocal family beyond the gaze of the institutions of wider society, yet also negotiated alongside multiple other belongings. While subjective ‘Yemeniness’ is rarely politicised, the milieu of L8 with its long history within Liverpool as a multi-ethnic locality provides an important, alternative space of belonging and engagement beyond family networks. In the context of this neighbourhood, processes of organic hybridisation and practices of demotic cosmopolitanism give rise to increasingly confident articulations of ‘Scouse-Yemeniness’. Additionally, Islam and Muslim identifications are more often articulated as inseparable from participants’ subjective ‘Yemeniness’. Yemen and Yemeni culture are instead reclaimed as legitimately ‘Islamic’, particularly against perceived Saudi antagonisms. Islam is also seen to provide a shared, but not de-culturated, form of belonging extending beyond ethnic ties in the multi-ethnic neighbourhood.
Supervisor: McLoughlin, Sean ; Singh, Jasjit Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; British-Yemeni Society
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available