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Dispossession and DisplacementForced Migration in the Middle East and North Africa$
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Dawn Chatty and Bill Finlayson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264591

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264591.001.0001

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Narrative as Identity: Perspectives from an Iraqi Women Refugees’ Oral History Project

Narrative as Identity: Perspectives from an Iraqi Women Refugees’ Oral History Project

(p.215) 9. Narrative as Identity: Perspectives from an Iraqi Women Refugees’ Oral History Project
Dispossession and Displacement

Laura Hamblin

Hala Al-Sarraf

British Academy

This chapter consists of collected oral histories of Iraqi women refugees in Jordan. It examines the identity of Iraqi women refugees as revealed through their personal narratives. In the Ba’athist regime, the Iraqi identity was reinforced as an Arab identity. During the 35-year rule of this regime, Iraqis watched other Arab nationalities enjoying privileges while they lived in Iran. After the fall of the regime, the new government emphasized Iraqi identity as separate from the Arab identity. The new regime imposed an Iranian identity within the concepts of ethnic and sectarian power sharing. While this new identity posed a dilemma with the manner refugees formed representations of themselves in host countries and with the distribution of privileges they used to enjoy in the former regime, many of the Iraqi women refugees still saw themselves as Arabs and refused the sectarian criteria. All the women interviewed in this chapter expressed the notion that their identity was challenged as their life circumstances demanded them to accommodate the changes they experience.

Keywords:   oral histories, Iraqi women refugees, Jordan, identity of Iraqi women, Iraqi identity, Arab identity, sectarian, identity

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