Dynamics of Kurdish identity formation in the Kurdistan region-Iraq between 1991 and 2014

Khdhir, Dilshad H. (2015) Dynamics of Kurdish identity formation in the Kurdistan region-Iraq between 1991 and 2014. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This study is built around two core questions. Firstly, what constitutes the formation of Kurdish identity in the Kurdistan Region-Iraq (KRI)? Secondly, what have the inner dynamics of this process been since 1991? Two major theoretical approaches are used to address these questions, namely ethno-symbolism and political discourse theory (PDT).

These theories are utilised to approach the research questions on two levels: the cultural-historical and the political; and result in four major findings regarding the inner dynamics of collective identity formation in the KRI. Firstly, it is found that actors active in the process of collective identity formation are primarily nationalist political parties and intellectuals. Secondly, that Kurdish identity in the region forms around ‘Kurdish’ ethnic, cultural and historical features. Thirdly, that a large set of cultural and historical tools have been utilised to produce Kurdish identity in the KRI. Fourthly, that different forms of Kurdish identity have been produced in the KRI, meaning that Kurdishness in the region is split, fragmented, relational and crisis-ridden.

This study also argues that the process of Kurdish identity formation in the KRI from 1991 to 2014 can be divided into three II historic phases. The first of these stretched from 1991 to 2003 and saw the ambiguous development of a traditional Kurdish ethno-nationalist identity; the second lasted from 2003 to 2009 and saw the development of an ambiguous Kurdish nationalist identity; whilst the third stretches from 2009 to the present and has seen Kurdish identity acquire a civic character in response to newly emerged political, social and economic conditions in the KRI.

The study also combines the theoretical and methodological approaches of ethno-symbolism’s culturist approach and PDT’s social constructionism in order to develop an approach suitable for studying the complexities of Kurdish identity formation in the KRI. The resulting argument is that whilst Kurdish cultural and historical features play an essential role in producing the Kurdish identity in the KRI, this identity is produced in the discursive realm by competing social and political actors, each of which seeks to hegemonise their own particular form of Kurdish identity.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Burns, A.
Pupavac, C.V.
Keywords: Kurds, Ethnic identity, Identity formation, Ethno-nationalist identity, Nationalist identity, Civic character
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > DS Asia
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Politics and International Relations
Item ID: 47221
Depositing User: Blore, Mrs Kathryn
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2017 08:06
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 21:30
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/47221

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