Identity Formation and Community Organization among Kurdish Diaspora in London

Omer Ugurlu


The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of Kurdish community organisations in preserving identity among the Kurdish diaspora in London. This study contributes to the discussion on ethnic community organisations and analyse the functions of social network theory among Kurdish community organisations in London. In recent years, there have been an increasing number of ethnic community organisations addressing the specific needs of these Kurdish communities, encouraging their cultural, social and diasporic identity. This study is grounded on a qualitative research design within case study approach. In-depth semi-structured interview employed for data collection. The findings of this study indicated that Kurdish community organizations are places for socialisation, friendship settings, an exercise in ethnic identity awareness and counselling.


Keywords: Diaspora, Kurdish, social network theory, ethnic community organisations.


diaspora, Kurdish, social network theory, ethnic community organisations

Full Text:



Abrams, D. E. and Hogg, M. A. (1990). Social Identity Theory: Constructive and Critical Advances: Springer-Verlag Publishing.

Alinia, M. (2004). Spaces of Diasporas : Kurdish Identities, Experiences of Otherness and Politics of Belonging. Göteborg: Department of Sociology, Göteborg University.

Armstrong, J. A. (1976). Mobilized and proletarian diasporas. The American Political Science Review, 70(2), 393–408.

Ashforth, B. E. and Mael, F. (1989). Social identity theory and the organisation. Academy of Management Review, 14(1), 20–39.

Ayata, B. (2011). The Politics of Displacement: A Transnational Analysis of the ForcedMigration of Kurds in Turkey and Europe. PhD Thesis, John Hopkins University.

Aydin, H. (2011). The Educational Effectiveness of Gulen-inspired Schools| The Case of Nigeria. Reno: University of Nevada.

Aydin, H. and Kaya, I. (2013). The Question of Mother Tongue Education in Turkey: Challenges, Experiences, and Model Recommendations for Bilingual Education.UKAM. Retrieved from

Atkinson, R. and Flint, J. (2001). Accessing hidden and hard-to-reach populations: Snowball research strategies. Social Research Update, 33(1), 1–4.

Baser, B. (2011). Kurdish diaspora political activism in europe with a particular focus on Great Britain. Retrieved from

Baser, B. (2012). Inherited Conflicts: Spaces of Contention Between Second-Generation Turkish and Kurdish Diasporas in Sweden and Germany (Doctoral dissertation).

Baser, B. and Swain, A. (2008). Diaspora design versus homeland realities: Case study of Armenian diaspora. International Journal on World Peace, 25, 7–28.

Benedictus, L. and Godwin, M. (2005). Every race, colour, nation and religion on Earth.MA: Pearson: Retrieved from

Bloch, A. (2002). The migration and settlement of refugees in Britain. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Brah, A. (1996). Cartographies of diaspora: Contesting identities. Abingdon: Routledge.

Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.

Brubaker, R. (2005). The ‘diaspora’diaspora. Ethnic and racial studies, 28(1), 1–19.

Brubaker, R. and Cooper, F. (2000). Beyond ‘identity’. Theory and society, 29, 1–47.

Bruinessen, M. V. (2000a). Kurdish ethno-nationalism versus nation-building states : collected articles. Istanbul: Isis Press.

Bruinessen, M. v. (2000b). Mullas, sufis and heretics : the role of religion in Kurdish society : collected articles. Beylerbeyi, Istanbul: Isis Press.

Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods. Oxford university press.

Butler, K. D. (2001). Defining diaspora, refining a discourse. Diaspora: a journal of transnational studies, 10(2), 189–219.

Carey-Wood, J., Nee, C. and Marshall, T. (1997). Meeting refugees’ needs in Britain: the role of refugee-specific initiatives: Home Office Publications Unit.

Castles, S., Miller, M. J. and Ammendola, G. (2005). The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World. New York: The Guilford Press

Choluj, K. (2009). A Study of the Impact of the Migratory Experience on Shaping the Identities of Polish Migrant Women who Moved to the Uk since the Nineties. (MA), University of Kent.

Clifford, J. (1994). Diasporas. Cultural Anthropology, 9(3), 302–338.

Cohen, R. (2008). Global diasporas: Routledge.

Creswell, J. W. (2002). Educational research: Planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative. Retrieved from

Curtis, A. (2005). Nationalism in the diaspora: a study of the Kurdish movement. Universiteit Utrecht, 4.

D’Angelo, A. (2008). Kurdish Community Organisations in London: a Social Network Analysis. London: Social Policy Research Centre.

Denzin, N. K. and Lincoln, Y. S. (2000). The discipline and practice of qualitative research. Handbook of Qualitative Research, 2, 1–28.

DeLyser, D. (2001). “Do You Really Live Here?” Thoughts On Insider Research. Geographical Review, 91(1–2), 441–453.

Demir, I. (2012). Battling with memleket in London: the Kurdish diaspora’s engagement with Turkey. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(5), 815–831.

Eliassi, B. (2010). A stranger in my homeland: The politics of belonging among young people with Kurdish backgrounds in Sweden., Mid Sweden University, Universitetstryckeriet. (1652– 893X)

Ember, M., Ember, C. R. and Skoggard, I. A. (2005). Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures around the World: Springer press.

Erdem, T. (2013). How Many Kurds Live in Turkey? Turkish Daily News.

Fennema, M. (2004). The concept and measurement of ethnic community. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30(3), 429–447.

Freeman, L. C. (2004). The Development of Social Network Analysis. Vancouver: Empirical.

Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and Self-identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age: Stanford University Press.

Gilchrist, A. and Kyprianou, P. (2011). Social networks, poverty and ethnicity. Programme paper, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York: Stanford University Press.

Griffiths, D. (2002). Somali and Kurdish refugees in London. New Identities in the. Oxford Brookes University, UK. Research in Migration and Ethnic Relations Series.

Griffiths, D. J., Sigona, N. and Zetter, R. (2005). Refugee Community Organisations and Dispersal: Networks, Resources and Social Capital: The Policy Press.

Guest, G., MacQueen, K. M. and Namey, E. E. (2011). Applied Thematic Analysis. London: Sage.

Gunter, M. M. (1990). The Kurds in Turkey: A Political Dilemma. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Gunter, M. M. (2007). The Kurds Ascending : The Evolving Solution to the Kurdish Problem in Iraq and Turkey. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hall, S. (1990). Cultural identity and diaspora. Identity: Community, Culture, Difference, 2, 222–237.

Hassanpour, A. (1992). Nationalism and Language in Kurdistan, 1918–1985. San Francisco, CA: Mellen Research University Press.

Holgate, J., Keles, J., Pollert, A. and Kumarappen, L. (2012). Workplace Problems among kurdish workers in London: experiences of an ‘invisible’community and the role of community organisations as support networks. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(4), 595–612.

Isajiw, W. W. (1974). Definitions of Ethnicity. Ethnicity, 1(2), 111–124.

Johnston, R. L. (2006). The cultural situation of the Kurds. Council of Europe. Parliamentary Assembly, Committee on Culture, Science and Education. URL: http://assembly. coe. int/Main. Retrieved from

Kadushin, C. (2004). Introduction to social network theory. Boston MA. Retrieved from

Kaya, I. (2005). Identity And Space: The Case Of Turkish Americans. Geographical Review, 95(3), 425–440

Khayati, K. (2008). From Victim Diaspora to Transborder Citizenhip? Diaspora formation and transnational relations among Kurds in France and Sweden. (PhD), Linköping University, Sweden. (978-91-7393-884-6).

Koinova, M. (2012). Four Types of diaspora mobilization: Albanian diaspora activism for kosovo independence in the US and the UK. Foreign Policy Analysis, n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1111/j.1743– 8594.2012.00194.x

Krebs, V. and Holley, J. (2002) ‘Building Smart Communities through Network Weaving’, AceNET working paper.

Kurban, D. (2012). Reparations and Displacement in Turkey. Retrieved from CaseStudy-2012-English.pdf

Kurban, D. and Yeğen, M. (2012). Adaletin kıyısında:’zorunlu’göç sonrasında devlet ve kürtler: TESEV.

Kvale, S. and Brinkmann, S. (2009). Interviews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. London: Sage.

Malesevic, S. (2006). Identity as ideology: Understanding Ethnicity and Nationalism: New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

McDowall, D. (2004). A Modern History of the Kurds: London: IB Tauris.

McLeod, M., Owen, D. and Khamis, C. (2001). Black and Minority Ethnic Voluntary and Community Organisations: Their Role and Future Development in England and Wales: London: Policy Studies Institute.

Merriam, S. B. (1998). Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education. Revised and Expanded from "Case Study Research in Education": ERIC.

Miles, M. B. and Huberman, A. M. (1984). Qualitative data analysis: a sourcebook of new methods; Qualitative data analysis: a sourcebook of new methods. Sage.

Milardo, R. M. (1992). Comparative methods for delineating social networks. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 9(3), 447–461.

Moya, J. C. (2005). Immigrants and associations: a global and historical perspective. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 31(5), 833–864.

Østergaard-Nielsen, E. (2004). Transnational Politics: The Case of Turks and Kurds in Germany. Abingdon: Routledge.

Patton, M. Q. (2005). Qualitative Research: Wiley Online Library. Retrieved from

Pratt, N. (2005). Identity, culture and democratization: the case of Egypt. New Political Science, 27(1), 69–86.

Rhodes, R. A. W., Hart, P. T. and Noordegraaf, M., (2007). Observing Government Elites: Up Close and Personal. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rex, J. (2006). The nature of ethnicity in the project of migration. Dialogues on Migration Policy, 121.

Roth, M. P. and Sever, M. (2007). The Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) as criminal syndicate: Funding terrorism through organised crime, a case study. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 30(10), 901–920.

Safran, W. (1991). Diasporas in modern societies: myths of homeland and return. Diaspora: a Journal of TransnationalSstudies, 1(1), 83–99.

Shain, Y. (2002). The role of diasporas in conflict perpetuation or resolution. SAIS Review, 22(2), 115– 144.

Sirkeci, I. (2000). Exploring the Kurdish population in the Turkish context. Genus, 56(1–2), 149–175.

Smith, M. P. and Eade, J. (2008). Transnational ties: Cities, Migrations and Identities (Vol. 9): Transaction Publishers.

Tafjel, H. (1981). Human Groups and Social Categories: Studies in Social Psychology: CambridgeUniversity Press Archive. Retrieved from

Tajfel, H. and Turner, J. C. (2004). The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup Behavior.

Toninato, P. (2007). The making of gypsy diasporas. Translocations, 5(1).

Wahlbeck, O. S. (1999). Kurdish Diasporas : A Comparative Study of Kurdish Refugee Communities. New York: St. Martin’s Press in organisation with Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations, University of Warwick.

Wasserman, S. and Faust, K. (1994). Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications (vol. 8). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Weinreich, P. (1989). Variations in ethnic identity: Identity structure analysis, in K. Liebkind (Hg.) New Identities in Europe. Immigrant Ancestry and the Ethnic Identity of Youth, Aldershot/Vermont: Gower, 41–76.

Wilpert, C. (1989). Ethnic and cultural identity: ethnicity and the second generation in the context of European migration. New Identity in Europe: Immigrant Ancestry and the Ethnic Identity of Youth, 6–40.

Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods (vol. 5). London: Sage.

Zaphiris, P. and Ang, C. S. (2009). Introduction to social network analysis. Network, (January), 231– 232.

Zetter, R., Griffiths, D. and Sigona, N. (2005). Social capital or social exclusion? The impact of asylum-seeker dispersal on UK refugee community organisations. Community Development Journal, 40(2), 169–181.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies E-ISSN: 2149-1291

Copyright © Center for Ethnic and Cultural Studies (CECS) Publishing Inc.

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.

SCImago Journal & Country Rank EBSCO HostCrossRef DOI – EScience Press ICI Journals Master Listerihplus hashtag on TwitterProQuest (@ProQuest) | Twitter