Communication Across Conflict Lines: The Case of Ethnically Divided Cyprus

Journal article

Anastasiou, Harry (2002) Communication Across Conflict Lines: The Case of Ethnically Divided Cyprus, Journal of Peace Research 39 (5).

This article explores the dynamics of nationalist communication, or better, of non-communication, between the rival Cypriot ethnic communities. The analysis shows how the protracted ethno-nationalist conflict that has stained the history of the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus has affected, among other things, the process of communication between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities. A number of themes that occupy a central place in the conflict are explored from the vantage point of how each community understands and addresses them as it interacts with the other. The inquiry discloses that the interpretive mental frameworks by which the meaning of words, facts, events, behaviors, and phenomena have been perceived, recalled, understood, and transferred have become culturally and institutionally configured in such a way over the years as to often dissociate and even dismantle the very conditions by which intercommunal communication becomes possible. The article also examines the conditions and prospects of freeing communication from its entrapments in the 'meaning patterns' of ethno-nationalist conflict, particularly in the context of the emerging bi-communal citizen peace movement. It shows how the germinating inter-ethnic dialogue in the spirit of peaceseeking rapprochement is commencing a process of deconstructing the traditional forms of conflictual, nationalist discourse while opening up new vistas of understanding, possibilities, and vision for the future.

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