As historical and anthropological studies show, British colonial rule contributed decisively to the institutionalisation, politicisation and deterioration of intercommunal differences in Cyprus. However at the same time as British colonial authorities implemented divisive policies, they created one institution necessitating the smooth cooperation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots: the colonial bureaucracy, the structure and function of which remains understudied. Based on the cases of three Cypriots appealing against their dismissal from the colonial civil service, this paper argues that exploring the uncharted world of ‘native’ employees provides important insights into the inconsistencies underpinning British rule. Indeed, the debates prompted by the dismissal procedures shows that notions such as ‘nationality’, ‘loyalty’, ‘legality’ and ‘civilisation’ constituting the ideological foundations of colonial rule are rather indeterminate. The article makes a case for the study of subaltern Cypriots as a vantage point to explore the points of articulation and cross-fertilisation between colonial morality and local self-representations.
colonialism, interethnic conflict, subaltern studies, microhistory
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