Narratives of loss, longing and daily life: The meaning of home for Cypriot refugees in London

PhD Thesis

Taylor, Helen 2009. Narratives of loss, longing and daily life: The meaning of home for Cypriot refugees in London. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Social Sciences, Media and Cultural Studies
AuthorsTaylor, Helen
TypePhD Thesis

The concept of home is integral to much research in the field of refugee
studies, which has looked at the settlement of refugees in the new home of
exile, return to the lost home and, more recently, a negotiation between two or
more homes through transnational practices. However, studies have rarely
focused on what home actually means for those compelled to leave their
homes. This thesis moves beyond a structural assessment of forced migration
to look at the lived experience of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot refugees
in London, in order to develop a more nuanced understanding of the meaning
of home. The thesis takes as its focus four key aspects of home - the spatial,
temporal, material and relational - to reveal that home for the refugee is
complex, multiple and in process.
What the refugee loses when they are displaced is not only the physical
property of the spatial home; but also the networks and social capital of the
relational home; the framed memories, repetitions of daily life and future
potential of the temporal home; as well as the tastes, scents and embodied
experience of the material home. It is the impossibility of all these aspects
ever being reassembled, even if the physical property were to be returned,
which illustrates the depth of loss that exile often represents. However, in
spite of the losses they have suffered, the majority of Cypriot refugees in this
study also show tremendous resilience.
The findings are based on narrative interviews with Greek Cypriot and Turkish
Cypriot refugees, who have lived in protracted exile in London for several
decades. Contributing to a narrative turn in the field, which places the refugee
at the centre rather than the margins of the research, this study recognises
refugees as agents in their own lives, who are victims of circumstances rather
than victims per se.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintJan 2009
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Oct 2014
Publisher's version
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