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Making peace on the island of love: An ethnographic exploration of peacebuilding in Cyprus

Lisa Modenos, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This is a dissertation that examines peace. In particular this dissertation will explore the paradox of peace on the island of Cyprus, a paradox that has continued to challenge both international and local peace activists in their pursuits to build peace. For how does one build peace when it seems that peace already exists? Yet, how can peace truly exist within the context of a stalemated, decades-old protracted ethnic conflict on a politically and ethnically divided island? The paradox of the Cyprus conflict being deemed a peaceful conflict only begins to touch upon the problems and limitations inherent in building peace on the island. This dissertation explores what those problems are through the eyes of local peacebuilders, and argues for a more anthropologically informed peace research in order to help surpass peacebuilding limitations in Cyprus and in other post-conflict zones around the world. This dissertation explores how peacebuilding theories and methodologies in Cyprus have and have not shifted within the wake of the opening of the Green Line and the subsequent sociopolitical changes on the island. It explores the changes in methods and theories of peacebuilding on the island by focusing on the activities and perspectives of local Cypriots involved in peacebuilding. In particular this dissertation describes the historical context in which bicommunal peacebuilding came about as a strategy; it explores the principles and goals that defined the particular kind of peacebuilding that emerged in Cyprus; it describes who was involved in the local world of peacebuilding; and it explores the multiple changes to the island that have also affected and changed the nature of peacebuilding – and it does so particularly through trying to understand how local peacebuilders have experienced and conceptualized those changes. Through the extended interviews and observations of the networks and activities of peacebuilding that I conducted in Nicosia, I argue that we can learn a great deal about the complex ways that peacebuilding is experienced by the intervened, and that those experiences can help contribute to the transformation of the doing of peacebuilding in the future.

Subject Area

Cultural anthropology|Peace Studies|International Relations

Recommended Citation

Modenos, Lisa, "Making peace on the island of love: An ethnographic exploration of peacebuilding in Cyprus" (2010). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3409824.