Date of Degree

2-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Sociology

Advisor(s)

Lynn Chancer

Subject Categories

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Social Psychology | Sociology

Keywords

anxiety, Belonging, citizenship, Germany, homonormativity, social psychology

Abstract

This thesis examines how people who have multiple identifications develop a sense of belonging. It focuses on those with politicized, romanticized, and stigmatized identifications which are assumed to be in conflict with one another. My particular case is that of "queer" women of Turkish descent in Germany with Berlin as my main study site.

These people embody what is considered to be an oxymoron: being queer yet also Turkish, being a lesbian yet having a Muslim background, being of immigrant origin yet also German. In short, they are between all worlds and thus, seemingly, do not belong anywhere. Their ambiguous position allows my thesis to offer a critique of mainstream ideas about cohesion and social capital, noting that in this case, cohesion is not needed for my informants to develop a sense of belonging. From here, it develops the concept of what I call "acts of belonging." This concept directs our attention away from the question of where belonging happens to the question of how: how do migrants belong to contexts, communities, societies to which the mainstream does not consider them to belong?What relieves them from the burdens their conflicting identifications might otherwise cause? Acts of belonging are the tools, the means, through which they relieve this anxiety, even momentarily, and satisfy their individual need for belonging. Acts of belonging also points at the ways in which legal acceptance, in the form of citizenship or naturalization, differs from lived experiences of belonging. Finally, these acts reveal the ways in which people engage with diversity in various ways which are not always obvious to the reveal the ways in which people

By looking simultaneously at psycho-social and emotional factors on the one hand and sexuality on the other, my research bridges various gaps in the literatures of queer studies, migration and citizenship, and social psychology. My work presents an alternative way to look through the lens of belonging at the relationship between cohesion and conflict.

 
 

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