Dilemmas Of Identity And Cultural Diversity Among Ammani Youth | Ifi Background Paper
Background Paper | June 2010
Dilemmas of Identity and Cultural Diversity among Ammani YouthYazan Doughan
This report is an overview of the research conducted as part of Takween’s project on Identity & Cultural Diversity in the city of Amman. Using the method of discourse analysis, it investigates the politics of identity among Ammani youth, particularly those from marginalized ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Our research focuses on anxieties around issues of ethnic and national identity among this group and detects shifts in identity politics from older to younger generations in the city. While older generations viewed themselves as ethnic communities whose focus is the community itself, younger Ammanis increasingly engage with their ethnicity as an identity that is directed towards a generalized Jordanian public. In doing so, they attempt to overcome their marginalization by a dominant nationalizing ideology. This ideology defines Jordanianess in terms of genealogical purity limited to those who can trace their patrilineage to points of origin from within the boundary of the state, to the exclusion of those who trace theirs to other places. Yet, as marginalized youth attempt to negotiate their place in Jordanian society, they are faced with the challenge of presenting their identity as both Jordanian and ethnic, and their ethnicity as cultural rather than political.