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