Between nation and state: nation, nationalism, state, and national identity in Cyprus

Peristianis, Nicos (2008) Between nation and state: nation, nationalism, state, and national identity in Cyprus. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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This thesis is a study of the emergence and diachronic development of Greek-Cypriot nationalism, and its relation to nation, state, and national identities. The broad perspective of historical sociology is used, and the more specific neo-Weberian analytic framework of cultural transformation and social closure, as developed by A. Wimmer, to demonstrate how nationalism, as the 'axial principle' along which modem societies structure inclusion and exclusion, did not lead to the development of a Cypriot nation state, but to a bi-ethnic national state instead; this was mainly because closure took place along ethnic and not national lines, for socio-historical reasons which the study examines.

The study first explores the hotly debated issue 'when is the nation', of whether there was a Greek nation in antiquity, of which Greek-Cypriots were a part, or whether the nation's roots are traceable in Medieval times. Next, the development of national consciousness and nationalism is considered, under three different types of regime: During Ottoman rule, a religious community was gradually transformed into an ethnic community; toward the end of this period, Ottoman reforms did not manage to forge a common new (Ottomanist) identity, for social closure had already progressed along ethnic lines. In early British colonial years, ethnicity was politicized and ethnic consciousness gradually turned into a nationalist mass movement for enosis; despite the overall unity of the movement, two variants of nationalism developed, a more traditional ethnic version, characterizing the Right, and another version, imbued with territorial/civic elements (derived from the Internationalist outlook of the communist party), characterizing the Left The anti-colonial struggle for enosis was led by the Right, and excluded the Left and the Turkish-Cypriots.

The fragile consociational regime established at independence collapsed after a brief period of cohabitation between the Greeks and Turks of the island in the bi-ethnic / bi-communal Republic of Cyprus - the study analyses the causes leading to the breakdown. Between 1964 and 67, the Greek-Cypriots turned to enosis again, but after realizing the difficulties and dangers involved in its pursuance, Makarios sought to strengthen independence instead, while limiting the powers of Turkish-Cypriots - in effect, aiming for a majoritarian regime with minority rights for the latter. The clash between pro-independence and pro-enosis versions of nationalism was to characterize this period, leading to the coup and invasion of 1974.

With the death of enosis in 1974, Hellenocentric nationalism would give more emphasis to Greek culture and identity, whereas Cyprocentric nationalism would stress the priority of Cyprus, the state, and of rapprochement with the Turkish-Cypriots. The study utilizes data from two surveys coordinated by the author, to analyze in more depth the attitudes and discourses of Greek-Cypriots as regards their relations to the Greek nation and the Cypriot state. The gradual strengthening of Cypriot identity is seen to be connected with a new social compromise, which seems to have prevailed within the Greek-Cypriot community, stressing the importance of the Greek-Cypriot state, and which seems to be the primary explanation of why the Greek-Cypriots rejected the federal solution suggested by the UN sponsored Annan Plan, in 2004. In the same year, Cyprus became a member of the European Union, and the study considers some of the implications of this development for the future of nationalism in Cyprus.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of Middlesex University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
B. > Theses
Item ID: 6485
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2010 12:45
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 01:42

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