Cyprus and Its People: Nation, Identity, and Experience in an Unimaginable Community, 1955-1997

By Vangelis Calotychos | Go to book overview

loss of seamless backgrounds and fixed horizons, thus enabling the experience of alterity as internal to one's own identity. It is, therefore, an invaluable cultural resource which can inspire transitions to more flexible, tolerant and Other-regarding identity positions without reopening wounds inflicted from each other's humiliation. In so far as the cultural politics of representation is increasingly defining the terms of constitutional discourse, the reinforcement of oppositional reading strategies may carve out new public spaces that will animate reflexive forms of constitutional praxis and hence improve the quality of mutual recognition among introverted diasporic identities,


Notes

Acknowledgments: Despite a difficult and contentious cooperation, I benefited considerably from Vangelis Calotychos's challenges and sceptical remarks. Undoubtedly they forced me to elucidate prudently and thereby add more depth to my argument. I am also grateful to Vassilis Lambropoulos and to Steve Caton for their gentle instruction, which helped me add more structure and perspective to the essay. It is dedicated with gratitude to the embodied metamodernism of Nicolas Eliades, and the transcommunal ethos of Dilek Takil.

1.
This essay constitutes a synopsis of a larger project on the contemporary relevance of Hellenistic ethics.
2.
The term "Helladic" describes the state-centered and territorially bound ideological imperative of provincial Helladophilia that enframes the Kypriotic experience by evacuating its diasporic significations precisely because they pluralize the "Hellenic" and expand its meanings, enabling more decentered, elliptical, and conciliatory identities which are fully aware of their fallibility. It is precisely against the background of the radically centrist and riotous positionality of Kypriotic experience that I challenge the totalizing habits of Helladismos.
3.
In Cicero De Finibus, mankind at large is attested as the object of oikeiosis. Stoic endearment traverses different degrees of societas by proceeding from the household outward to embrace friends (philoi), neighbors, and more distant degrees of kinship such as citizens and public associations in order to finally engulf the entire human race. This metathesis of affection from familial oikeiosis to more universal forms of philallelia is, certainly not entirely effortless. It requires edifying praxis and altruism. See S. G. Pembroke ( 1971) on oikeiosis. The doctrine of oikeiosis originated from the Cypriot Zeno of Citium, founder of the Stoa, who considered it the foundation of the virtue of justice. It derives from the Greek verb oikeioo (familiarize, acquaint or orient oneself; steadfast orientation toward the other) which is the ethical ground of human praxis. Stated succinctly, the stoic tradition discussed oikeiosis in the context of a more comprehensive contemplation of human nature and exalted its status not merely as the categorical predicate of justice but also as the enduring foundation of human solidarity as such ( Inwood 1985: 184-194).
4.
All English translations of Cavafy's poetry are taken from Keeley & Sherrard's revised edition, see Cavafy ( 1992).

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