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Introduction: Cypriot Nationalism(s) in Context: History, Identity and Politics

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Abstract

In this introductory chapter, Christofis and Kyritsi introduce the reader into the history of nationalism in modern and contemporary Cyprus. The scope of the analysis is a historical approach to nationalism, that is the view that the world of nations, ethnic identity, and national ideology are neither eternal, nor ahistorical or primordial but are rather socially constructed and function within particular historical and social contexts. In this framework, the authors explore how Cyprus—a small Mediterranean island that was and still remains marked by opposed nationalisms, that is, Greek and Turkish—constitutes a fertile ground for examining the history, the dynamics and the dialectics of nationalism.

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To understand today’s journalism better, the historical context in which it is embedded needs to be studied. This chapter provides a historical background of the Cyprus conflict and the news media’s involvement in its creation and development. First, it gives some information on intercommunal tensions and outlines the peace initiatives to find a political settlement. Then, it discusses the media’s part in developing the Cyprus problem. Like in Cottle’s (2006) concept of ‘mediatised conflict’, the media in Cyprus played a constitutive role in the disputes. The section also studies journalism’s responses to political realities over the years. Political party journalism is one of the outcomes of the political pressures on the island. In summary, the chapter explores how the intercommunal and political conflicts have affected journalism and are also influenced by it.
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