Hassouneh, Nadine (2015) (Re)tuning Statelessness. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (KAR id:55209)

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Academic knowledge production on Palestine and its people has been very resonant for decades. Yet, and despite the high frequency of production, some aspects of Palestine and Palestinians have not been investigated nor brought together thus far. This composition fuses three reverberations that accompany Palestinians living away from their homeland: statelessness, diasporisation, and (de)mobilisation. The dissertation is approaching the study of the Palestinian diaspora as a musical composition which has not been heard yet, for that the study of Palestinians as a diaspora is yet to generate audible sounds, the study of stateless diasporas in general still falls under the category of abnormal, an investigation of the Palestinian diaspora’s political mobilisation is nonexistent, and the study of Palestinian statelessness under a non-legal lens has been mute so far, leaving a wide gap deserving further investigation.

By studying the cases of Palestinian diasporisation in the heterogeneous settings of Belgium, Jordan, and Lebanon, and fusing a set of methodological approaches including taxonomy of analysis, (participant) observation, exploring verbal and nonverbal communication via interviews, and examining space & material culture, this research aims to investigate the effects of statelessness on the shapes, intensities, and dynamics of diaspora organisation and mobilisation.

Investigating the heterogeneities of the Palestinian diaspora’s political mobilisation in the three studied cases echoed the criticality of the role of statelessness in homogenising what would otherwise remain heterogeneous due to the immense differences in the settings enabling or disabling movement. The effects of this statelessness, this absence of a backbone, touch various diaspora-specific elements including Palestinian-ness, historiographies, geographies, temporalities, autonomization, organisation, and mobilisation. All of which are aspects this composition investigates thematically by mapping theory to empirical findings.

Fusing statelessness, diasporisation, and political mobilisation can open alternative doors to understanding peoples belonging to homelands not enjoying a state status in the era of states, examples of which are Kurds, Circassians, and Roma, to name a few. It helps comprehend the actions of peoples attempting to embrace their homeland by mobilising for its causes despite being isolated from it.

Furthermore, studying the abnormal is a way to understanding both abnormal and normal alike; therefore, studying the stateless diasporas can help in reaching to better understandings of the stateless and the state-linked diasporas.