In response to a quarter-century of deconstructivist theorizing (de-essentializing concepts of identity, culture, ethnic group), against the western praise of postmodern hybridity here is an ordinary history of an ‘impossible uprooting’: Fatima, an old Syrian lady, is attached to her land and customs to the point of refusing political asylum in Italy and choosing a voluntary repatriation. Her emotions refer to a substantive identity, to a sense of belonging and differences which are existentially indispensable for her being alive. Identitary categories are not only ideological and political constructions, manipulables cultural inventions, but also ‘forms of life’, based on affective-psychological dimensions, incorporated habituses, symbolic imaginaries and real practices. Behind the dominant representation of refugees as multitudes, we can see the emotional world of a person; behind the rhetoric of cosmopolitanism, the common suffering of uprooting.
Keywords: Syria, seclusion, bìos