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- PublicationGeographies of LGBTQ+ Activisms: Ireland After Marriage Equality(University College Dublin. School of Geography, 2022)The success of the 2015 marriage equality referendum made Ireland the first country in the world to introduce marriage equality by public vote. Debates surrounding marriage equality question whether this outcome is necessarily an assimilationist and anti-queer signifier of ‘progress’ and ‘final frontier’ of LGBTQ+ citizenship, or if it might offer other transformative potentials. This thesis investigates how LGBTQ+ activisms across Ireland were impacted by the process of gaining marriage rights through a referendum, producing the first study of Irish LGBTQ+ activisms post-marriage equality. Specifically, I examine how spatial strategies, goals and practices of activism surrounding and following marriage equality are recursively shaped by distinct geographical imaginings of Ireland through which activists make sense of their actions and possible outcomes. I also question how COVID-19 may have further shifted post-marriage equality activisms. This research is underpinned by a queer geographic relational framework that understands LGBTQ+ activisms as partial, multiple, shifting, and recursively constituted through space, place, and identity. The thesis presents a critical thematic analysis of qualitative data collected through 31 interviews with activists and participant observation at 14 in person and 15 online events in Ireland during 2019-2020. Its analysis reveals how the referendum result has reconfigured Irish LGBTQ+ activisms in complex and contradictory ways. Whereas the referendum saw national mobilization around a largely unifying goal, there is also evidence of the othering of certain queer identities. New challenges, possibilities and tensions have emerged post-marriage equality in relation to the strategic choices taken to win the referendum. I conceptualise the timescape of ‘Irish Queer Equality Time’ to explore how imaginings of a new, changed, and progressive Ireland post-marriage equality, and pre-COVID-19, are shaping the manifestation of ongoing activist campaigns. Data from activists in Dublin, Cork, Galway and other small urban areas in Ireland reveal how temporalities of activisms after marriage equality are not uniform and fixed but are contingent and sustained through the relations between activists in place. Overall, the thesis offers a spatial analysis that shows how geographical imaginations embed certain meanings in place that limit and/or support how LGBTQ+ movements continue after marriage equality. It finds that multiple meanings around marriage equality and Ireland circulate and interact to produce dynamic spatiotemporalities of LGBTQ+ activisms that exist outside of homonormative/queer binaries and form new complex meanings surrounding contemporary Irish identities at national, regional, and local scales.
- PublicationCities, networks, and region-building: exploring intermunicipal connections and strategies in the north-western Mediterranean(University College Dublin. School of Geography, 2022)This thesis analyses the intermunicipal cooperation policies developed by the government of Barcelona in the north-western Mediterranean during the 1980s and 1990s. In doing so, it aims to advance existing debates on the political construction of urban regions by reflecting on the role of cooperation between municipal governments in these processes. In recent years, the notion of city regions as locomotives of economic growth in the age of globalisation has been supplemented by more critical approaches showing that they are objects of political practice too. This has emphasised their heterogeneous, contested, and multidirectional nature since urban regions are increasingly seen as the product of a collage of interests and logics. Moreover, this reconceptualisation has expanded their meaning beyond engines of economic competitiveness. Hence, urban regionalism has emerged as a strategy that can be oriented towards the achievement of multiple agendas. This thesis further develops this argument by critically examining how different intermunicipal networks promoted by the government of Barcelona tried to build a transnational megaregion in the north-western Mediterranean. These initiatives were part of a broader strategy of internationalisation that radically transformed the city during the 1980s and 1990s. As such, they were a pioneering application of new economic theories stressing the critical role of urban regions in the worldwide economy. By analysing the evolution of these regional cooperation policies, this thesis makes three claims: first, the role of city governments in these region-building processes is profoundly experimental since it does not follow a pre-defined blueprint; second, this role is contingent on several factors such as the availability of institutional resources, individual leaderships and their networks, party politics, and broader structural conditions; third, this role is political since it is based on the constant interaction and negotiation to align multiple interests and identities. This argument supports the idea that urban regionalism is not a neutral strategy of economic governance but rather a heterogeneous and multidirectional imaginary that provides a frame for different actions and agendas. Furthermore, this thesis also contributes to developing a more spatially sensitive approach to municipal diplomacy by shedding light on how intermunicipal cooperation produces new transnational spaces. Finally, this thesis underscores the potential role of city governments in ongoing debates about regional cooperation in the north-western Mediterranean area.
- PublicationRadicalising homeland: agency, temporality and spatiality in Kurdish Freedom Movement's representations of Kurdistan(University College Dublin. School of Geography, 2022)This research contributes to the understanding of the concept of homeland through a focus on agency, temporality, and spatiality. These have been underexplored in existing treatments of homeland in diaspora studies. Using a case study of the Kurdish diaspora and their nuanced understandings, portrayals, and practices of homeland, I have set out a new approach to the Kurdish political project built upon the geographical ties which connect people and land, what I have termed a ‘radical’ homeland. Through this innovative approach, I deal with the political construction of the meaning of homeland, without conflating it with the state and its spatialisation. The role of political agency in imagining, theorising, and representing homeland is greatly emphasised; this allows considering the ways people construct homeland narratives and collective identities. In terms of temporality, the introduction of the future projection mediates with the past, which is framed as a toolbox to locate the current mechanisms driving current day homeland narratives. This discloses the past as a place of multiplicity and therefore of a variegated spatiality. The research relies on texts and interviews produced by members of the Kurdish Freedom Movement in Europe. By following the flow of ideas underpinning the portrayal of Kurdistan, the collected material is organised according to the tripartition of production, circulation, and sedimentation of those ideas and the related configuration of the Kurdish homeland within Kurdish circles and broader audience.