Images of 'the other': 'The Turk' in Greek Cypriot children's imaginations
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Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with Greek Cypriot elementary school children, the author describes how national identity is constructed in the classroom through the use of an 'us' versus 'them' frame of reference, a process which essentialises identity and gives rise to an eternal and primordial enemy. Twenty-six years after the Turkish invasion and occupation of 37% of Cyprus's territory, how do stereotypes about the Turks-the primary 'other' against whom Greek Cypriot children construct their identities-become meaningful in their imaginations given the absence of any interaction between the two groups? Similarly, how do these children construct their identities meaningfully given the multiple, ambiguous, and often contradictory messages they receive about the Turks from both within and outside school? In this article, the author illustrates how children's stereotypical constructions of Turks are largely informed by their school learning but are also more complex constructions than the stereotypes themselves suggest.