Modernity, History, and an Island in Conflict
Publication Year: 2006
"[U]shers the reader into the complexities of the categorical ambiguity of Cyprus [and]... concentrates... on the Dead Zone of the divided society, in the cultural space where those who refuse to go to the poles gather." -- Anastasia Karakasidou, Wellesley College
The volatile recent past of Cyprus has turned this island from the idyllic "island of Aphrodite" of tourist literature into a place renowned for hostile confrontations. Cyprus challenges familiar binary divisions, between Christianity and Islam, Greeks and Turks, Europe and the East, tradition and modernity. Anti-colonial struggles, the divisive effects of ethnic nationalism, war, invasion, territorial division, and population displacements are all facets of the notorious Cyprus Problem. Incorporating the most up-to-date social and cultural research on Cyprus, these essays examine nationalism and interethnic relations, Cyprus and the European Union, the impact of immigration, and the effects of tourism and international environmental movements, among other topics.
Published by: Indiana University Press
Series: New Anthropologies of Europe
Title Page, Copyright Page
Table of Contents
Introduction: Modernity, History, and Conflict in Divided Cyprus: An Overview
The volatile recent past of Cyprus has turned this island, often presented in tourist literature as the idyllic “island of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love,” into a place renowned for hostile confrontations. During the last forty-five years alone, Cyprus has experienced anticolonial struggles, postcolonial instability, the divisive effects of opposed ethnic nationalisms, internal violence...
1. Transforming Lives: Process and Person in Cypriot Modernity
When I first visited Cyprus in 1972, President Makarios seemed firmly in charge of the island republic, the benign dignity of religious and political leadership embodied in his magnificent defiance of small-minded colonels claiming to represent Hellenism in its purest form. Greek and Turkish Cypriots, living side by side, were still sometimes able to ignore the insistence of politicians that they separate themselves from each other...
2. On the Condition of Postcoloniality in Cyprus
Frantz Fanon observed almost half a century ago that the appeal of nationalism in the anticolonial struggle could not hold up under the corruption and disillusionment that seemed invariably to ensue after independence. The transition between coloniality and postcoloniality was bridged by nationalism; nationalism, in turn, was not superseded but tempered (Fanon 1986). In the vast majority of formerly colonized countries...
3. Disclosure and Censorship in Divided Cyprus: Toward an Anthropology of Ethnic Autism
For years on end, on weekdays at 8:00 p.m., faithful to his rendezvous with his (possibly nonexistent) audience, a serious, middle-aged Turkish Cypriot man appeared on BRT 2, an official Turkish Cypriot television channel. He addressed Greek Cypriots either in Greek or in English, reading from a text which he often abandoned as he got carried away, overwhelmed with enthusiasm for his own argument. He then began to...
4. De-ethnicizing the Ethnography of Cyprus: Political and Social Conflict between Turkish Cypriots and Settlers from Turkey
In much writing on “the Cyprus question,” the problem has been constructed as “a conflict between two ethnic groups,” which are branded “Turks” and “Greeks” (e.g., Joseph 1990; Volkan and Itzkowitz 1994). The concept and framework of ethnic conflict has been all too central and determinative in scholarship on Cyprus, leaving it insufficiently challenged. Against the framework of “ethnic conflict,” so overblown in political and...
5. Cypriot Nationalism, Dual Identity, and Politics
In the last few decades there has been a veritable explosion in the study of ethnicity, nationalism, and ethnic/national identity in virtually all fields of the social sciences, a development which obviously relates to the resurgence of these phenomena in the real world. In social anthropology, ethnicity has been a main preoccupation since the late 1960s, but nationalism began attracting attention only from the 1980s onward. One of the...
6. Children Constructing Ethnic Identities in Cyprus
Greek Cypriot children live in a divided society where identities are highly politicized and where being a particular kind of person implies a particular sense of political being. This chapter on the ideological becoming of children centers on two children, Stalo and Marinos,1 and their political and ethnic lives as they unfold at a particular point in time in their particular local contexts. I met them in 1996 while conducting...
7. “Contested Natures”: An Environmental Conflict in Cyprus
In the winter of 1968–1969, farmers demonstrated in Nicosia. Buses had carried men from five villages in the area of Morphou in the northwest of the island to the capital. There they marched to the presidential palace to protest the government’s delay in constructing a dam that would provide irrigation for the cash crops their communities were growing. The villagers were competing with the inhabitants of nearby Morphou town for...
8. Gardens and the Nature of Rootedness in Cyprus
The idea of a garden, as anyone who has and tends one will tell you, is supremely personal. It is an act of creation and intimate involvement. It is brought into existence as a cultural artifact through the imagination and practical work. It is an assault on nature. It is also a rendition of “nature.” It functions as a liminal place, mediating between what we experience as the cultural...
9. Researching Society and Culture in Cyprus: Displacements, Hybridities, and Dialogical Frameworks
When I first began the study of Cypriot society, I came to it as a sociologist with an interest in inequalities and otherness. The central plank in the literature I began to consider was the ethnic and national issue in Cyprus. It examined the historical, economic, and political underpinnings of nationalism in order to show its international dimensions. In much of this work, the local context, the imaginings and relations of the...
10. Recognition and Emotion: Exhumations of Missing Persons in Cyprus
In his short story “Conversation with Mother,” Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello returns to Agrigento following his mother’s death. In an imaginary conversation with his mother, she tells him that she feels sorry for him. He assumes this is because of his pain at losing her. She says no. She feels sorrow for him because when she was alive he also existed, as a representation for her. We exist “in other people” as much as “in ourselves.”...
11. Postscript: Reflections on an Anthropology of Cyprus
Anthropology is an impossible discipline. It is burdened with a power it does not want but a power nonetheless from which it cannot liberate itself. It knows what its aim is—above all to demonstrate that we are all, “us” and “them,” essentially and fundamentally the same—but every time it aims, which is always, it always already misses the target and badly bruises itself. Anthropology is an impossible discipline because it cannot discipline...
List of Contributors