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Citizen Strangers: Identity Labeling and Discourse in the French Mandatory Syria, 1920-1932
Abstract The article explores the roles played by the Armenian refugees in the politics of identity in the mandatory Syria by examining how their arrival shaped the discourses of inclusion and exclusion. It does so by analysing three key events – the Armenians’ access to citizenship and voting rights (1924-25); the Great Syrian Revolt (1925-27); and the arrival of new Armenian refugees (1929-30) - during which a ‘Syrian’ identity was gradually confirmed against the Armenian newcomers.
Making use of discursive narratives by Syrian and Armenian political parties, media outlets and pamphlets, the article demonstrates that the discourse against the Armenian refugees played a decisive role for both hosting and incoming communities to construct mutually excluding national identities. If it was a tool for the Arab nationalists to define a ‘Syrian’ national identity closely identified with Islam and Arabness, similarly, it was used by the Armenian political elite to mobilise Armenian refugees.
   
Keywords Syria, refugees, state-building, discourse, identity construction, nationalism
   
Citation Abrahamyan, V. (2020). Citizen Strangers: Identity Labeling and Discourse in the French Mandatory Syria, 1920-1932. Journal of Migration History (BRILL), 6 (2020), 40-61.
   
Type Journal article (English)
Date of appearance 26-2-2020
Journal Journal of Migration History (BRILL)
Volume 6 (2020)
Pages 40-61