Remembering Oslo—debating statelessness: young Palestinian migrants and their memories of the Oslo Accords
Eva Kössner (University of Vienna)
Paper short abstract:
Across multiple borders, young Palestinian migrants are challenging and revising the conflicting narratives related to the Oslo Accords. Taking into account their transnational ties and practices, I propose to bypass the oppositions of homeland/diaspora and mobile/sedentary in Memory Studies.
Paper long abstract:
Despite their ostensibly interim character, the Oslo Accords of the 1990s remain among the most essential events in recent Palestinian history. They fundamentally changed the relation between Israel and the Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories and they transformed the whole Palestinian national movement. The preliminary findings of my ongoing PhD project on young Palestinians in Austria, Jordan, and the West Bank indicate that the Oslo period represents not only a highly controversial topic, but it also constitutes a specific moment of rupture at the core of this generation's coming of age. As such, the Oslo Accords and their implications have reconfigured the very contexts of memory (re)production in the Occupied Territories and beyond. Blurring the geographical distinction between home and host country, competing narratives about Oslo and the autonomy of the small enclaves of historic Palestine open up and reproduce fault lines that crisscross local and transnational networks and communities. Simultaneously, conflicting narratives about this period and related debates about national self-determination have an integrating effect across borders by strengthening ties to polyvalent conceptions of Palestine and Palestinians. By applying a transnational social fields approach, I propose to bypass the oppositions between homeland and diaspora, and mobile and sedentary lifestyles in the research on memory (re)production among young transnationally acting Palestinians. Through their underlying spatial conceptions both dualities hinder rather than promote the tracing of locally and transnationally reproduced ideas about the Oslo Accords, which are in fact connected to multiple processes of deterritorialisation and (re)territorialisation.
Contested histories on the move: rethinking memory through mobility and agency