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En minoritets odyssé: Upprätthållande och transformation av etnisk identitet i förhållande till moderniseringsprocesser : det assyriska exemplet
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
1999 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation concerns a minority, Christian Assyrians, from the Middle East that over many centuries have developed practices to maintain their collective identity. It considers their history in this century in the context of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the formation of the Turkish national state which brought with it discrimination, forced movement, and mass murder of the Assyrian minority as well as other minorities. In addition to the historical investigation, the dissertation investigates Assyrians who have migrated to Sweden, and adapted to a new context, maintaining as well as transforming their identity in doing so.

The dissertation constructs a theoretical model integrating concepts from different theoretical approaches to ethnic identity. The model is used to understand and explain the maintenance and transformation of ethnic identity of Assyrian communities in Turkey and Sweden. Two assumptions underlie this model, first that ethnic identity is actively maintained and transformed by human agents; and second that this process takes place in, and is enabled and restrained by, particular historical and social conditions. The approach draws from both an actor and structurally oriented perspectives as well as an historical perspective. Ethnic identity is studied in its discursive dimensions and the social practices expressed in relation to ethnic relations, identity politics and identity schemes, the role of elites, and ethnohistory. The empirical research is based on biographical data, interviews with individuals from two generations, participant observations, and analysis of written materials. The method of verstehen plays a central role. The following discourses and social practices are examined: (1) the myth of ethnic election, ethnohistory, principles for selective cultural borrowing; (2) practices embodied in social organization, use of a unique language, ritual performances, geographical and social segregation, endogamy, the structure of occupations, economic status, and the organization of clubs. The dissertation shows that the ethno-religious identity in the original country was transformed to a mom ethno-national based identity. Immigration to Sweden accentuated and deepened this transformation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 1999. , 503 p.
Keyword [en]
Sociology, ethnic identity, maintenance, transformation, social practices, discourses, Assyrian, Syrian-ortodox, Turkey, Sweden, ethnic elits
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-709ISBN: 91-628-3759-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-709DiVA: diva2:168679
Public defence
1999-12-15, Lärosal IX, universitetshuset, Uppsala, Uppsala, 13:00
Available from: 1999-11-24 Created: 1999-11-24Bibliographically approved

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