Aporias of Identity: Bicommunalism, Hybridity and the 'Cyprus Problem'

Journal article

Constantinou, Costas M. (2007) Aporias of Identity: Bicommunalism, Hybridity and the 'Cyprus Problem', Cooperation and Conflict 42 (3): 247–270.

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This article examines the predicaments and paradoxes of identity politics in Cyprus. It looks at the historical alliance of colonial practices and nationalist rationales that brought about a static bicommunal system, establishing the basis for inter-ethnic conflict, or what became known as the `Cyprus problem'. The advent of modern governmentality, dividing and classifying the Cypriot population, helped, in addition, to solidify fluid and ambiguous ethno-religious boundaries, making it more difficult for individuals to use ethno-religious identities flexibly and pragmatically, including their use as a tactic to resist the policies of consecutive regimes of power. The article suggests that the 'Cyprus problem' provides a moral alibi for the pursuit of a range of problematic regulations and practices against individuals caught between the dominant ethnic identities, even though there also exist windows of opportunity and resistance on the ground. The article focuses on the genealogy and presence of hybrid communities and syncretistic lifestyles, which complicate and transgress the binary of Greek/Christian versus Turk/Muslim, and the existence of which became progressively abnormalized or exoticized.

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