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

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Chatzipanagiotidou, Evropi (2012)
  • Subject: DS054.44

The thesis traces ethnographically the discursive, ideological and political processes\ud through which connections between the Cypriot diaspora in the UK and Cyprus are\ud imagined, articulated and (re)produced through peace politics and Cypriotist discourses\ud that emphasise the need for reconciliation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots based\ud on a common Cypriot identity. The fieldwork research was conducted between 2006\ud and 2008 in London and Cyprus, taking place at a very particular historical period,\ud when a larger space apparently opened for British Cypriots’ involvement in the politics\ud ‘at home’; I follow here their modes of political engagement across a number of actual\ud sites and ‘imagined’ social fields –from community associations in London to online\ud Cypriot networks; and from organised party groups in the UK to informal communal\ud crossings of the Cypriot Green Line. The thesis ultimately presents an ethnographic\ud account of Cypriotism and how individuals employ, perform and (re)define it within a\ud transnational nexus of inter-related contexts, revealing that far from popular\ud understandings of it as a unifying discourse, Cypriotism is also divisive and internally\ud contested.\ud \ud Whereas anthropological work on Cyprus has been prolific in studying and analysing\ud ethnic nationalisms extensively, Cypriotism in its own right has not been problematised\ud enough beyond being treated as a counter-discourse to other dominant ideologies. The\ud perspective of the diaspora helps to crystallise how discursive battles and exclusive\ud ideas of ‘who is a Cypriot’ simultaneously challenge and (re)produce difference among\ud Cypriotists. Moreover, to challenge the dichotomy between ‘good’ and ‘bad’\ud nationalisms of Western-centric discourses, it is argued here that the boundaries\ud between Cypriotism and ethnic nationalism are more blurred than often assumed,\ud especially as they co-exist and are employed in the cultural repertoires of Cypriots.\ud \ud The aims of the thesis, therefore, are threefold; first, it endeavours to illustrate\ud empirically how connections between the Cypriot diaspora in the UK and Cyprus are\ud constructed through ‘peace politics’ and how political subjectivities develop in such a\ud transnational context by looking at the ways multiple agents mobilise, articulate and\ud perform particular identities through the language of Cypriotism. To do this, the\ud research methodologically integrates the ‘ethnography of the Cypriot diaspora’ with the ‘ethnography of Cyprus’, which have developed to some extent as two distinct study\ud fields, through multi-sited fieldwork both in the UK and Cyprus. Moreover, with its\ud focus on Cypriotism and how a Cypriot nation is (re)imagined within it, the thesis aims\ud to contribute theoretically to ‘the anthropology of Cyprus’ by participating in ongoing\ud discussions on nationalism and counter-nationalism, history and memory, identity and\ud cultural ‘authenticity’.
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