This paper evaluates and critiques the current state of knowledge on the theorisation of the Cypriot state formations and the nature of the conflict in the country. It aims to provide a
prolegomenon for the re-conceptualisation of the Cyprus state formations as enmeshed in the ‘Cyprus problem’ within its regional and global settings. We examine the two main approaches theorising the Cypriot state formations, namely Weberian and Marxist inspired accounts and locate some of the problems and gaps. We argue that the current conjuncture is marked by significant social transformations both internally and adjacent to the country, which require a fresh perspective on ‘the Cyprus problem’. Such a perspective is based on the premise that we must go beyond analyses that focus exclusively on either of the two competing dimensions of an unintuitive binary, either as global/regional geopolitical, or a local ethno-national identity conflict. These ‘common sense’ readings of the Cyprus problem, which can be referred to as the liberal conflict resolution model and the global/regional geopolitics model are not only limited theoretically but their contestation leads to a political cul-de-sac. Moreover, such perspectives in turn dis-empower the social and political forces within Cyprus to actively engage in bringing about an end to the partitionist divide in a country which is one of the most militarised zones in the world. The shortcomings of these approaches in making sense of the state formation and the dispute itself, underlines the necessity of a multi-faceted theoretical framework that assesses the role of class and other social forces as well as changing regional and global contexts which shape both the nature of the so-called Cyprus problem as well as the peculiar fragmentary state formations.
Cyprus problem, state formations, global/regional geopolitical conflict, ethno-national identity conflict, state of exception
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