Multiculturalism in a Deeply Divided Society: The Case of Cyprus

  • Michalinos Zembylas


This chapter explores the current ideological ethos of the Greek-Cypriot national curriculum and its implications for multicultural education understandings. Cyprus has been and still remains a deeply divided (and segregated) society due to the protracted nature of conflict between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The goal of this chapter is to map the curriculum dynamics, mainly in subjects that are important to issues of identity and culture (specifically, Modern Greek Language, History, and a special subject called “I Know, I Don’t Forget and I Struggle”), of the national curriculum for primary education (implemented since 1996) and discuss the potential consequences for multicultural education in light of the increasing presence of various minorities in Cyprus. This analysis is important at this point and time because there are efforts for comprehensive curriculum reform and thus it is valuable to clarify the theoretical assumptions and implications of existing curriculum dynamics.


Identity Identity Multicultural Education Critical Discourse Analysis Historical Continuity Occupied Territory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I want to thank my research assistant, Yolanda Panteli, for her contribution in the curriculum analysis .


  1. Al-Haj, M. (2003). Jewish-Arab relations and the education system in Israel. In Y. Iram (Ed.), Education of minorities and peace education in pluralistic societies (pp. 213–227). Israel: Bar Ilan University.Google Scholar
  2. Al-Haj, M. (2004). The political culture of the 1990s immigrants from the former Soviet Union in Israel and their views toward the indigenous Arab minority: A case of ethnocratic multiculturalism. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30(4), 681–696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Al-Haj, M. (2005). National ethos, multicultural education, and the new history textbooks in Israel. Curriculum Inquiry, 35(1), 47–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Banks, J. A. (2007). Educating citizens in a multicultural society (2nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bar-Tal, D. (2004). Nature, rationale, and effectiveness of education for coexistence. Journal of Social Issues, 60(2), 253–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bekerman, Z. (2004). Potential and limitations of multicultural education in conflict-ridden areas: Bilingual Palestinian-Jewish schools in Israel. Teachers College Record, 106(3), 574–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bekerman, Z. (2005). Complex contents and ideologies: Bilingual education in conflict- ridden areas. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 4(1), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bekerman, Z. (2007). Rethinking intergroup encounters: Rescuing praxis from theory, activity from education, and peace/co-existence from identity and culture. Journal of Peace Education, 4(1), 21–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bekerman, Z., & Maoz, I. (2005). Troubles with identity: Obstacles to coexistence education in conflict ridden societies. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 5(4), 341–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bell, D. (2003). Mythscapes: Memory, mythology, and national identity. British Journal of Sociology, 54(1), 63–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Boehmer, E. (2005). Empire, the national, and the postcolonial, 1890–1920: Resistance in interaction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bryant, R. (2004). Imagining the modern: The cultures of nationalism in Cyprus. London: Tauris.Google Scholar
  13. Bush, K. D., & Saltarelli, D. (2000). The two faces of education in ethnic conflict: Towards a peacebuilding education for children. Florence: UNICEF.Google Scholar
  14. Charalambous, Y. (2007). Intercultural education or “national humanism”: Reading anti-racist literature in Greek-Cypriot secondary education. Paper presented at the World Congress of Comparative Education, Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina.Google Scholar
  15. Cole, E. (Ed.). (2007). Teaching the violent past History education and reconciliation. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  16. Davies, L. (2004). Education and conflict: Complexity and chaos. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Derrida, J. (1992). Onto-theology of national humanism (Prolegomena to a hypothesis). Oxford Literary Review, 14(1), 3–23.Google Scholar
  18. Duarte, E. M., & Smith, S. (2000). Foundational perspectives in multicultural education. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  19. Enslin, P. (1994). Should nation-building be an aim of education? Journal of Education, 19(1), 23–36.Google Scholar
  20. Fairclough, N. (1995). Critical discourse analysis: The critical study of language. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  21. Fairclough, N. (2003). Analyzing discourse: Textual analysis for social research. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Giroux, H. (1993). Living dangerously: Multiculturalism and the politics of difference. New York: Lang.Google Scholar
  23. Gutmann, A. (2004). Unity and diversity in democratic multicultural education: Creative and destructive tensions. In J. A. Banks (Ed.), Diversity and citizenship education: Global perspectives (pp. 71–96). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  24. Hadjipavlou-Trigeorgis, M. (2007). Multiple realities and the role of peace education in deep-rooted conflicts: The case of Cyprus. In Z. Bekerman & C. McGlynn (Eds.), Addressing ethnic conflict through peace education: International perspectives (pp. 35–48). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  25. Hodgkin, M. (2006). Reconciliation in Rwanda: Education, history and the state. Journal of International Affairs, 60(1), 199–210.Google Scholar
  26. Kincheloe, J. L., & Steinberg, S. R. (1997). Changing multiculturalism. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Kizilyürek, N. (1999). National memory and Turkish-Cypriot textbooks. Internationale Schulbuchforschung, 21(4), 387–396.Google Scholar
  28. Lowenthal, D. (1998). The heritage crusade and the spoils of history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Pres.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Miller, D. (1993). In defense of nationality. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 10(1), 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ministry of Education and Culture. (1996). Curriculum for the primary education in the frame of the nine-year education. Nicosia Department of Primary Education, Curriculum Development Unit (in Greek).Google Scholar
  31. Nieto, S. (1999). The light in their eyes: Creating multicultural learning communities. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  32. Panayiotopoulos, C., & Nicolaidou, M. (2007). At a crossroads of civilizations: Multicultural educational provision in Cyprus through the lens of a case study. Intercultural Education, 18(1), 65–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Papadakis, Y. (2005). Echoes from the dead zone: Across the Cyprus divide. London and New York: Tauris.Google Scholar
  34. Papadakis, Y. (2008). Narrative, memory and history education in divided Cyprus: A comparison of schoolbooks on the “History of Cyprus.” History & Memory, 20(2), 128–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Podeh, E. (2000). History and memory in the Israeli education system. History & Memory, 12(1), 65–100.Google Scholar
  36. Ravitch, D. (1990). Multiculturalism: E pluribus plures. The American Scholar, (Summer), 337–354.Google Scholar
  37. Roudometof, V. (2002). Collective memory, national identity and ethnic conflict: Greece, Bulgaria and the Macedonian question. Westport, Connecticut and London: Praeger.Google Scholar
  38. Schatz, R., Staub, E., & Lavine, H. (1999). On the varieties of national attachment: Blind versus constructive patriotism. Political Psychology, 20(2), 151–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schlesinger, A. M. Jr. (1991). The disuniting of America: Reflection on multicultural society. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  40. Sleeter, C. (1992). Keepers of the American dream. London: Falmer.Google Scholar
  41. Spyrou, S. (2006). Constructing “the Turk” as an enemy: The complexity of stereotypes in children’s everyday worlds. South European Society and Politics, 11(1), 95–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Statistical Services of the Republic of Cyprus. (2006). Demographic report. Nicosia: Cyprus Statistical Services.Google Scholar
  43. Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2003). Cultural recognition or social redistribution: Predicaments of minority education. In Y. Iram (Ed.), Education of minorities and peace education in pluralistic societies (pp. 15–28). Israel: Bar Ilan University.Google Scholar
  44. VanSledright, B. (2008). Narratives of nation-state, historical knowledge, and school history education. Review of Research in Education, 32(1), 109–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yiftachel, O. (1999). Ethnocracy: The politics of Judaizing Israel/Palestine. Constellations, 6(3), 364–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Yiftachel, O. (2000). Ethnocracy and discontents: Minorities, protest and the Israel polity. Critical Inquiry, 26(4), 725–756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zembylas, M. (2007). Five pedagogies, a thousand possibilities: Struggling for hope and transformation in education. Rotterdam: Sense.Google Scholar
  48. Zembylas, M. (2008). The politics of trauma in education. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  49. Zembylas, M. (2009). Making sense of traumatic events: Towards a politics of aporetic mourning in educational theory and pedagogy. Educational Theory, 59(1), 85–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zembylas, M. (2010a). Critical discourse analysis of multiculturalism and intercultural education policies in the Republic of Cyprus. The Cyprus Review, 22(1), 39–59.Google Scholar
  51. Zembylas, M. (2010b). Racialization/ethnicization of school emotional spaces: The politics of resentment. Race Ethnicity & Education, 13(2), 253–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zembylas, M., & Bekerman, Z. (2008). Dilemmas of justice in peace/coexistence education: Affect and the politics of identity. The Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, 30, 399–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Open University of CyprusNicosiaCyprus

Personalised recommendations