Children and the Sexualized Construction of Otherness: The Imaginary Perceptions of Russian and Romanian Immigrant Women in Cyprus
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This article explores Greek Cypriot children's constructions of Russian and Romanian immigrant women in Cyprus as primarily sexualized "others." Using both qualitative and qualitative data, the article illustrates how children operate within structural and ideological constraints at the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality to construct a sense of "self" and "other" in relation to these women and to ultimately contribute to the reproduction of the nation's moral sense. The presence of these women in Cyprus gives rise to intense anxieties about national identity which is seen as being threatened by the promiscuous and often perceived immoral, sexual encounters between these Eastern European women and Greek Cypriot men. By drawing on the Greek Cypriot cultural ideologies of family, gender, and sexuality within the larger context of interethnic encounters resulting from immigration, children contribute in their own ways to the reproduction of a sense of national identity and moral superiority. The article aims to contribute to the small but emerging literature which considers children to be social actors who are able to reflect on and interpret their own social worlds and construct meaningful identities for themselves.