Document Type : Research Paper

Author

Casa College, Cyprus

Abstract

This study examines how Greek-Cypriot students aged 12 to 18, an understudied group of students, construct their ethnic identity in a complex setting such as Cyprus and what motivates the students in the selection of ethnic identity labels. The choice to focus on students aged 12-18 was made on the hypothesis that young children, who did not experience the 1974 war in Cyprus, may have a different perception of ethnic identity in contrast to adults who are generationally closer to the war. Data are collected by means of interviews. A social constructionist approach is used for the analysis of ethnic identity construction. The results show that Greek-Cypriot students use the ethnic labels Greek, Greek-Cypriot, and Cypriot to construct their ethnic identities and they change and negotiate between these ethnic labels when talking about their identity. The students’ choice of a specific ethnic label seems to be widely motivated by ideologies connected to politics, language, religion, and education.

Keywords