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Performing identity: the case of the (Greek) Cypriot National Guard

Moisi, Evangelina and Zachariades, Alexandros (2021) Performing identity: the case of the (Greek) Cypriot National Guard. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 21 (1). 26 - 45. ISSN 1754-9469

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Identification Number: 10.1111/sena.12341


Students of International Relations are taught that the modern nation-state has a monopoly on the (legitimate) use of violence. However, in the case of the Republic of Cyprus this does not seem to be the case, since its armed forces, the Cypriot National Guard (CNG), are intimately embedded within Greece’s military structure, and half the island remains under Turkish occupation. The colonization of Cyprus (1571–1960) and subsequent decolonization has led to the gradual construction of two rigid identities, Greek and Turkish, that have been institutionalized legally and imposed constitutionally. This paper seeks to answer two questions. First, how does the CNG perform and therefore constitute a ‘Greek identity’? Second, is this performance epistemically violent, hindering the formation of hybrid identities? We use autoethnography, interviews, and insights from Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of the habitus and Judith Butler’s performativity theory to explore these two questions. We argue that the CNG performs a Greek identity in three key configurations: 1) the operational link between the Greek Army and the CNG; 2) the explicit connection to both ancient and modern Greece through various CNG insignia and practices, including parades and marching songs; and 3) the entrenchment of the Greek Orthodox Church within its practices.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2021 16:36
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 00:42

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