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What makes Cyprus European? Curricular responses of Greek-Cypriot civic education to 'Europe'

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Abstract:

Increasing European integration and European education policies are fuelling political and academic debates over the meaning of a 'European identity' and a 'European citizenship' and their potential relationship(s) to national and/or state identities. These debates are especially fraught in a case such as Cyprus, a case characterized by an intractable socio-political problem of ethnic conflict and war that stems from identity, citizenship, and the politics of recognition. Cyprus must respond to demands of revisiting citizenship and identity as a condition of EU membership and as a response to increasing international and internal pressure for resolving the existing division. This paper explores how European citizenship is constructed in Greek-Cypriot policy, curricula, and textbooks for civic education, and how citizenship is positioned in relation to national and state identities. Although 'Europe' provides a framework from which policy documents increasingly draw to introduce curricular innovation, European citizenship is not substantially addressed in the syllabi and textbooks analysed. Nationalistic discourses of citizenship 'appropriate' 'Europe' in ways which legitimize both ethno- and Euro-centrism and which fail to alleviate existing tensions between ethno-national and state identities in Cyprus.
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