“[Sal ba Sal Xozgam ba par], Year after Year I Wish for the Previous Year”: Examining the Impacts of Interventions in Narratives of People from Slemani, Past and Present
Date: 8 July 2019
University of Exeter
PhD in Kurdish Studies
This thesis examines narratives about life and survival and the impacts of interventions on the lives of people in the city of Slemani, in Kurdistan (the Kurdistan Region of Iraq). Based on ethnographic research, this thesis argues that the impacts of interventions from the nineteenth century to the present shaped living conditions and ...
This thesis examines narratives about life and survival and the impacts of interventions on the lives of people in the city of Slemani, in Kurdistan (the Kurdistan Region of Iraq). Based on ethnographic research, this thesis argues that the impacts of interventions from the nineteenth century to the present shaped living conditions and the socio-political and economic conditions in the city of Slemani. I scrutinise the impacts of multiple interventions, including colonialism, capitalism, and neoliberalism, on ordinary peoples’ lives in the city, and examine their impacts. The four chapters in this thesis, by way of my friends’ critiques and reevalutaions about the past and the period of research, provide critical insights from below. Chapter one examines Britain’s colonial intervention and its impacts in Slemani. The following three ethnographic chapters focus on stories and lived experiences of people which emphasize the impacts of interventions, external and other, on determining what kinds of lives they were to lead. Each of these three chapters examines different ways of living, ethical negotiations, and the effects of socio-political and economic interventions. I argue that to contextualise stories and the demands of ordinary people necessitate scrutinising a long history of external intervention in the area. Moreover, by examining the impacts of interventions through the decades, I make visible the local-transnational connections, and trace their effects at the individual and collective levels in one city. In this way, I illustrate what life and survival entailed from the ground in each period. This thesis, therefore, departs from elite-focused and general studies on the area, by providing a more in-depth intimate and reflective ethnography, in which ordinary people’s analyses of socio-political and economic developments are brought to the forefront. As such, this new study offers alternative insights, and also problematizes elite-centred studies. The strength of this study is the combination of a broad and interdisciplinary theoretical outlook, and an in-depth ethnographic study reflective of life in Slemani. This thesis, therefore, has contributed to enriching the literature on Kurdish and Iraqi studies, and the anthropology of the MENA region.
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