Mobile diasporas, postcolonial identities: the Green Line in Cyprus

Alexandria Innes

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This paper explores the scope for understanding postcolonial and hybrid identities through the theory of ontological security in International Relations. It examines the circulation of identity for a dispersed postcolonial population, namely Cypriots. This circulation happens amongst a deterritorialised public, through media and movement of people. It carries meaning that is formative of the identity of the diaspora and of the identity of the home state, implicating both in a complex and relational ontological security comprising identity, memory, state and society. The Green Line dividing North from South in Cyprus represents the bifurcation of the island, rupturing the possibility of a territorially unified Cypriot identity. The line also represents a rupturing of contiguous ethnic identities, marking the creation of refugee populations and Cypriot diasporas. The Green Line is both a physical location and circulating symbol of ontological insecurity. On one hand the Green Line marks the creation of Cypriot refugees and diasporas. On the other it marks a gateway to Europe for asylum seekers attempting to enter the Southern part of the island. I theorise the Green Line as an emblem of ontological insecurity whose meaning is (re)constituted in the lived experience of Cypriot diaspora and migrants seeking security, revealing a hybrid and fluid identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-369
Number of pages17
JournalPostcolonial Studies
Issue number3
Early online date19 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017

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