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Introduction

Transnationalism and Transgenerationalism in the Middle East and Its Diasporas

G. J. Breyley

Interactions across the Middle East and between the region and the rest of the world have arguably intensified in recent years, from shifts in economic and cultural relations to unprecedented levels and changing forms of migration. In response, anthropologists and others working in the social sciences and humanities have deepened their collective investigation of transnationalism, approaching this theme and the questions it raises in diverse ways (see Alsultany and Shohat 2013; Chatty 2015; Graw and Schielke 2012; Hage 2005; Kearney 1995; Naficy 2003, 1999; Silverstein 2015; Vertovec 2009). Many scholars have explored the limitations of thinking in ‘national’ categories, while at the same time observing the persistence of this way of thinking and its effects on the everyday lives of those who live transnationally or experience ‘the diasporic condition’. Jumana Bayeh (2014: 19) suggests that: ‘Defined by alterity, double consciousness and a fragmented identity, the diasporic condition, like the figure of the foreigner, accepts the dis-integrated subjectivity of the self and in turn exposes the nation-state’s own internal heterogeneity’. The articles in this interdisciplinary special issue variously address these and other aspects of the diasporic condition in several different Middle Eastern and diasporic contexts.