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Heirs to Byzantium: Multidirectional Narrative and Identity Amongst the Istanbul-Greek Migrant Community in Greece

Halstead, Huw (2012) Heirs to Byzantium: Multidirectional Narrative and Identity Amongst the Istanbul-Greek Migrant Community in Greece. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Social memory has often been treated as a competitive arena in which particular memories connected to particular identities vie for official recognition, the winners suppressing the losers. Against this competitive model, literary scholar Michael Rothberg has argued for a multidirectional approach to the study of memory, which seeks to examine the productive interaction between diverse historical narratives. This thesis tests the literary multidirectional model through the historical study of the Istanbul-Greek migrants to Greece. The Istanbul Greeks were a remnant of pre-national Ottoman pluralism, a Christian minority within Turkey forced to emigrate during the twentieth century due to nationalistic persecution and discrimination. Through the migrants’ oral testimonies, this thesis demonstrates that a multidirectional approach to identity and memory better reflects how the Istanbul Greeks cope with the pressures of migration through a malleable sense of self, and by intricately linking and manipulating a variety of historical discourses in diverse social contexts. Whilst social memories can be employed competitively to establish group exclusivity, they can also be deployed to reach across social divides, and open up group memberships. Far from belonging to one nation, one group, one memory, the migrants survive multifaceted lives through recourse to multidirectional narratives. Memory is not a battlefield, but an unbounded discursive space in which individuals and groups narrate their histories to make experiences meaningful and socially useful.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Keywords: Memory, Identity, Greco-Turkish Intercommunal Relationships, Istanbul-Greeks, Migration, Oral History
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: Mr Huw Halstead
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2013 09:27
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2017 01:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3845

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