Trajectories of Mobility: Intergenerational Narratives of Relocation and Achievement among Viennese Syriac Christian Men

  • Heidi Armbruster University of Southampton
Keywords Syriac Christians, Turkey, Austria, Migration, Linked Biographies
Keywords Syriac Christians, Turkey, Austria, Migration, Linked Biographies


This article analyzes narratives of emigration among Syriac Christians who migrated from Turkey to Vienna, Austria. It sets out from a starting point of exploring the different ways that migration affects family life and reproduction. By using “linked biographies,” the discussion focuses upon intergenerational aspects in order to explore the ways in which history is understood and reproduced by individuals with their own narrative but interconnected with the biographies of family members. Through the analysis of the narrative strategies of three men and their sons, it is shown how the individuals draw on cultural idioms of Syriac family and masculinity when telling their stories and simultaneously negotiating their moral agency. The paper argues that the analysis of biographical material reveals that postmigration intergenerational loyalties are not only about negotiating collective identity but also about pressures for social mobility.

Author Biography

Heidi Armbruster, University of Southampton

Heidi Armbruster is a social anthropologist and associate professor in social anthropology and German cultural studies at the University of Southampton, UK. Email:


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