Belonging and not belonging: Negotiating power, place and identity among Tucson refugees

Authors: Orhon Myadar*, University of Arizona, School of Geography and Development
Topics: Migration, Political Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: refugee, migration, displacement, identity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This study seeks to understand how refugees attach significance and meaning to various culturally mediated practices and how these practices reinforce a sense of belonging and community in daily life. By studying the ways refugees attempt to preserve their cultures, I do not assume that culture is something static or predetermined. “Cultural identity... is a matter of ‘becoming’ as well as of ‘being’ (Hall, 1990:225). Rather than treating culture as an ontologically unambiguous object to be studied, in this project I aim to explore the ways in which cultural identities of refugees are produced, contested, and renegotiated as they make Tucson their home. This project proposes to consider refugees’ efforts to preserve their cultural practices and views as moments of resistance to the politics of assimilation and as part of a struggle against structural forces that threaten their individual and collective identity.

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