The conflicts of a 'peaceful' diaspora: identity, power and peace politics among Cypriots in the UK and Cyprus

Chatzipanagiotidou, Evropi (2012) The conflicts of a 'peaceful' diaspora: identity, power and peace politics among Cypriots in the UK and Cyprus. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The thesis traces ethnographically the discursive, ideological and political processes
through which connections between the Cypriot diaspora in the UK and Cyprus are
imagined, articulated and (re)produced through peace politics and Cypriotist discourses
that emphasise the need for reconciliation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots based
on a common Cypriot identity. The fieldwork research was conducted between 2006
and 2008 in London and Cyprus, taking place at a very particular historical period,
when a larger space apparently opened for British Cypriots’ involvement in the politics
‘at home’; I follow here their modes of political engagement across a number of actual
sites and ‘imagined’ social fields –from community associations in London to online
Cypriot networks; and from organised party groups in the UK to informal communal
crossings of the Cypriot Green Line. The thesis ultimately presents an ethnographic
account of Cypriotism and how individuals employ, perform and (re)define it within a
transnational nexus of inter-related contexts, revealing that far from popular
understandings of it as a unifying discourse, Cypriotism is also divisive and internally
contested.

Whereas anthropological work on Cyprus has been prolific in studying and analysing
ethnic nationalisms extensively, Cypriotism in its own right has not been problematised
enough beyond being treated as a counter-discourse to other dominant ideologies. The
perspective of the diaspora helps to crystallise how discursive battles and exclusive
ideas of ‘who is a Cypriot’ simultaneously challenge and (re)produce difference among
Cypriotists. Moreover, to challenge the dichotomy between ‘good’ and ‘bad’
nationalisms of Western-centric discourses, it is argued here that the boundaries
between Cypriotism and ethnic nationalism are more blurred than often assumed,
especially as they co-exist and are employed in the cultural repertoires of Cypriots.

The aims of the thesis, therefore, are threefold; first, it endeavours to illustrate
empirically how connections between the Cypriot diaspora in the UK and Cyprus are
constructed through ‘peace politics’ and how political subjectivities develop in such a
transnational context by looking at the ways multiple agents mobilise, articulate and
perform particular identities through the language of Cypriotism. To do this, the
research methodologically integrates the ‘ethnography of the Cypriot diaspora’ with the ‘ethnography of Cyprus’, which have developed to some extent as two distinct study
fields, through multi-sited fieldwork both in the UK and Cyprus. Moreover, with its
focus on Cypriotism and how a Cypriot nation is (re)imagined within it, the thesis aims
to contribute theoretically to ‘the anthropology of Cyprus’ by participating in ongoing
discussions on nationalism and counter-nationalism, history and memory, identity and
cultural ‘authenticity’.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS History of Asia > DS041 Middle East. Southwestern Asia. Ancient Orient. Arab East. Near East > DS054.A2 Cyprus > DS054.4 Ethnography > DS054.44 Cypriotes in foreign countries (General)
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2012 08:00
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2015 14:02
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/39733

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