Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


Palestinian Society in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan:
Its Present Circumstances of Diaspora and Identity held among them


(The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, School of Cultural and Social Studies,
Department of Regional Studies / Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science)

Key words;

Jordan, Palestine, Diaspora, refugee, memory, identity, nationalism

The purpose of this study is to investigate the present circumstances of diaspora about Palestinian people living in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and analyze identity and nationalism held by them. For this purpose, I focus on the relationship they keep among their relatives and friends, or frequency of their correspondence, then examine how they sustain their mutual communication networks. Another focal point is their memory about dispersion experiences after the war in 1948, and its meaning on them or what kind of influence it has on their identity through its succession and interpretation.

I chose two areas in the capital city of Amman for this study, and did fieldwork from February 2003 to March 2005. One of them is called “WA region” in this paper, which represents economically low developed area and concentrated residential area for Palestinians. Another is called “R region”, which is composed of several regions resided by wealthy people but not necessarily concentrated with Palestinians. People in these two areas are separated not only economically but also socially, and they don’t socialize with each other even though they live in the same city. I expect that this choice of different characters of people leads to more comprehensive grasp of Palestinian society in Jordan.

As to the mutual communication networks, it became clear that Palestinians in both regions esteem personal visitation among relatives with deep kinship relations. But the geographical range they travel for the visit and the additional expansion of the communication differs between two categories. As to the memory about dispersion experience, both cherish them while number of the people who remember the fact directly are decreasing. Each has his typical case of memory and their individual memories are connected with more public memory shared among all the Palestinians. The connection between them suggests sublimation of their cruel experiences and their attempt to situate them among whole stories of Palestinians which leads to their confirmation of identity.

About Palestinian nationalism, much has been discussed in the point such as evaluation of Palestinians among Arabs, or the beginning of their nationalism. From the standpoint of modernist nationalism, it is possible to consider nationalism as one of the mechanisms for mobilization for the state and a kind of discourse. Even though, there must be a foundation from which derives nationalism, and it could be said that the Palestinian nationalism as diaspora depends on the sustenance of mutual communication network or share of memory.