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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Collective Memory, National Identity: An Analysis of Palestinian Women in Lebanon
by Mathew, Michelle, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2012, 76; 10305874
Abstract (Summary)

This study aims to address the following hypothesis: Collective memory plays a key role in the evolution of the national identity of Palestinian women in Lebanon.

This analysis is a theoretical one. No fieldwork was conducted; the entirety of the study is based upon existing literature on the topics of Palestinian women, national identity and collective memory. It was necessary to choose aspects of national identity in order to have a manageable discussion of the term and relate it to this case study. Anthony D. Smith’s thoughts on national identity, coupled with Eeva-Kaisa Prokkola’s thoughts on borders paved the way to reach a definition that would be applicable to this case study. Likewise, Maurice Halbwachs’s theory on collective memory fit in line with this study.

This research analyzes generations of Palestinian women, beginning from those who directly experienced the Nakba and successive generations of women thereafter. Since women are the storytellers in their families, it is most probable that children of Palestinians will have heard about their ancestral heritage from their mothers or a female relative.

The preservation of memories through oral history in an attempt to conserve the national identity of Palestinians cannot be understated. With the original Generation of Palestine dwindling in numbers, it is often their offspring’s responsibility to carry on the memory of Palestine.

Results of this study found that, as hypothesized, identity is a multi-faceted matter. There are numerous factors that influence a Palestinian woman’s identity; memory is just one of them. Today’s Palestinian women are unlike their ancestors in that they have a different set of challenges and have different ways of meeting them. Although there are Palestinians in Lebanon who hope for the right of return, there are those in the current generation who accept their realities and consider Lebanon to be their home; one they don’t want to leave in exchange for Palestine.

Keywords: Palestinian women, national identity, collective memory

Indexing (document details)
School: The American University of Paris (France)
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Islamic Studies, Middle Eastern Studies
Keywords: Collective memory, National identity, Palestinian women
Publication Number: 10305874
ISBN: 978-1-369-49438-9
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