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Between past, present and future: the displaced islanders of Ada Kaleh

Iancu, M; (2016) Between past, present and future: the displaced islanders of Ada Kaleh. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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This thesis provides an ethnographic analysis of the Ada Kale-li of Romania, former dwellers of the Ada Kaleh Island in the Danube River who were displaced between 1968 and 1969 to allow the Iron Gates Dam to be built. Drawing on 15 months of ieldwork, I analyse the persistent efects of this displacement and its role in construcing meanings about the past, present and future. It appears that the island's sinking has shaped, and is itself shaped in many aspects, by the informants' current condiion of being in the world – from the devitalisaion of the community's social ies to their belief that the community has been condemned to discriminaion. I observe that the unrealisic expectaions of the public regarding the narraives about Ada Kaleh undermine a representaive story about the islanders' experiences of displacement. Consequently, informants tend to employ alternaive ways to refer to their past which do not necessarily seek public atenion: developing history projects, biterness, solitude and silenced memories. The thesis also argues for the existence of non-synchronous temporaliies in which islanders live: the present, the future impeded by the unwanted loss, and the uncompleted past (the current state of the material remains from the island is not considered to be a ‘inished' situaion). As a result of these diferent assessments of temporality and the relevance given to the past on Ada Kaleh, tensions are common among the islanders. Such clashes foreground the disincions that appeared ater displacement in terms of social and economic status and cultural choices. The thesis starts with the idea of the loss in the past, yet it advances beyond that framework to look at the producion of ime, purpose and codes of morality that emerge from the current pracices and which are informed by the Ada Kaleh inheritance and hopes for the future.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Between past, present and future: the displaced islanders of Ada Kaleh
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1477641
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