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Palgrave Macmillan

Transnational Migration, Diaspora, and Identity

A Study of Kurdish Diaspora in London

  • Book
  • © 2023


  • Looks critically at the unfavourable political situations of the Kurds in the post-WW1 era
  • Explains the formation of Kurdish diaspora communities in different European cities
  • Contains an in-depth discussion on the negotiation of multiculturalism in London

Part of the book series: Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship (MDC)

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About this book

This book explores a common but almost forgotten historical argument that positions the Kurds as powerless victims of the First World War (WW1). To this end, the book looks critically at the unfavourable political situations of the Kurds in the post-WW1 era, which began with the emergence of three new modern nation-states in the Middle East—Turkey, Iraq, and Syria—as well as related modernising events in Iran. It demonstrates the dire consequences of oppressive international and regional state policies against the Kurds, which led to mass displacement and forced migration of the Kurds from the 1920s on. The first part of the book sets out the context required to explain the historic and systematic sociopolitical marginalisation of the Kurds in the Middle Eastern region until the present day. In the second part, the book attempts to explain the formation of Kurdish diaspora communities in different European cities, and to describe their new and positive shifting position from victims inthe Middle East to active citizens in Europe. This book examines Kurdish diaspora integration and identity in some major cities in Sweden, Finland and Germany, with a specific focus and an in-depth discussion on the negotiation of multiculturalism in London. This book uncovers the gaps in the existing literature, and critically highlights the dominance of policy- and politics-driven research in this field, thereby justifying the need for a more radical social constructivist approach by recognising flexible, multifaceted, and complex human cultural behaviours in different situations through the consideration of the lived experiences and by presenting more direct voices of members of the Kurdish diaspora in London, and by articulating the new and radical concept of Kurdish Londoner. 




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Table of contents (5 chapters)


“Through the concept Kurdish Londoner the author explains the relationship between the Kurdish diaspora and the metropole city of London. Interviewees identify and express belongingness and attachment with two points of reference, two homes: Kurdistan and London. This book offers much valuable knowledge and insights on migration and integration.” (Minoo Alinia, Senior lecturer, Associate Professor in Sociology, Department of Sociology, Uppsala University)

“Ayar Ata’s carefully researched and partially auto-ethnographic book is an important contribution to the literature on transnational diaspora. In particular, the concept of ‘Kurdish-Londoner’ challenges fixed notions of nation state identity and highlights the geopolitical and cultural significance of cities as sites of meaning-making.” (Christina Clark-Kazak, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa)

“Ayar Ata, Kurdish Londoner, combines the personal, the historical, and the socio-cultural aspects in the unparalleled contribution to the analysis of identity transformation and the challenging process of a host-land becoming a home-land. A must read for diaspora scholars and community leaders beyond the Kurdish diaspora.” (Elzbieta M. Gozdziak, Center for Social Justice Fellow, Georgetown University, Centre for Migration Studies Research Professor, Adam Mickiewicz University)

“In his beautifully-crafted auto-ethnography, Ata describes his becoming of a Kurdish-Londoner. With London as his base, Ata shows that people of today´s world become cosmopolitan and are at home in more than one local. Ata, himself with a first-hand refugee experience, who has gone through an arduous journey, uses his authentic voice, and he writes from a genuine and hard-earned position as a refugee scholar.”
(Alexander Horstmann, SDAC Guest Professor, FAU, Erlangen-Nürnberg)

“The book offers valuable insights into the background and developing identity of ‘Kurdish Londoners’, here described in the context of modern theories about migration. A welcome contribution to our knowledge of Kurdish communities.” (Philip G. Kreyenbroek, University of Göttingen)

“This book offers a comprehensive account of Kurdish modern history of dispersion and dispossession, and the formation of the Kurdish contemporary transnational identity. Based on the author’s personal experience and interviews with Kurds in London, the strength of the book rests in foregrounding the lived experiences of Kurdish diasporic communities and documenting an important shift from historic victims to active citizens.” (Giorgia Dona, Professor of Forced Migration, co-director of the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London, UK)

“It is still somewhat rare for academic analyses of diaspora identities and approaches to belonging to be written by scholars with lived experience of forced migration and displacement. In this fine study, Dr. Ata shares his intimate knowledge of the Kurdish diaspora--from its traumatic formation in the post-WWI Middle East to the socio-political marginalisation and resilience of Kurdish refugees across Europe--while gently guiding readers through the intellectual touchstones of the forced migration field. The study’s most rewarding contribution is Dr Ata’s empirical exploration of the dynamic formation of the ‘Kurdish-Londoner’ identity. This book demonstrates, through grounded research, how the shift in Kurdish cultural identity from victim to actor has occurred in the cosmopolitan city of London.”(Dr. Anita H. Fábos, Professor and Associate Director, International Development, Community & Environment Department)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Freelance Researcher and a Member of Sustainability Research Group, London South Bank University (LSBU), London, UK

    Ayar Ata

About the author

Ayar Ata is a front line migrant integration consultant, trainer, adviser, advocate, and a freelance researcher  in London, UK. He earned his doctorate from London South Bank University in 2017, with a focus on transnational migration, integration, and multiculturalism in London.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Transnational Migration, Diaspora, and Identity

  • Book Subtitle: A Study of Kurdish Diaspora in London

  • Authors: Ayar Ata

  • Series Title: Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-18168-9Published: 18 March 2023

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-18169-6Published: 17 March 2023

  • Series ISSN: 2662-2602

  • Series E-ISSN: 2662-2610

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXI, 153

  • Topics: Migration, Diaspora, British Culture, Migration

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