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Emotional identity and pragmatic citizenship: Being Palestinian in Sweden

Journal article
Authors Helena Lindholm
Published in Journal of diaspora studies
Publication year 2019
Published at School of Global Studies
Language en
Keywords Diaspora, identity, migration, Palestinians, Sweden
Subject categories International Migration and Ethnic Relations


How is identity claimed and created in communities that have experienced multiple processes of refugeeness and patterns of mixed migration? This article explores how Palestinian national identity is moulded, influenced, experienced and lived in a context of protracted refugeeness, exile and diaspora in Sweden. Departing from literature on diaspora and Palestinian identity formation and based on the collection of narratives from Palestinians residing in Sweden, the article sheds light on the processes through which Palestinian identity is strongly related to a moral and political commitment to the homeland lost and to issues of solidarity. Palestinians in Sweden also reveal a strong embracement of Swedish citizenship related to aspects such as the passport, the right to vote, security and the welfare system. As Palestinians have arrived to Sweden from different instabilities in the Middle East and in different times, there are also affiliations and links to other spatial surroundings such as refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria. The paper also illuminates how multiple refugeeness create both a shared understanding of identity, but also internal rifts and contradictions, relating to former places of residence, to increasing racism and enforced social boundaries in Sweden, and to the different processes of displacement that have brought them to Sweden.

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