Feminism in Cyprus: women’s agency, gender, and peace in the shadow of nationalism
PublisherInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
SourceInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
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This article explores the ways in which feminist and women’s agency is articulated in the Cypriot context through the paradigms of nationalism, peace, and conflict. It does so to broaden our understanding of gendered and peace agency in troubled and divided societies, in which complex and conflicting discourses meet. Analyzing data from interviews with feminist and women’s groups’ representatives, it examines how nationalism and women’s approaches to gender, politics, peace, and conflict enable or restrict feminist and women’s agency. It finds that a strategic essentialist approach has initiated a reconfiguration of gender(ed) power relations, women’s agency, and peacebuilding processes. It argues that when this approach is combined with feminist theory and praxis and the employment of transnational peace paradigms, the possibilities for feminist and women’s agency increase, as long as feminist scholarship and grassroots activism inform each other through dialogue. Therefore, it highlights the nuanced and complex dialectic between essentialist and anti-essentialist feminist gender discourses. Moreover, it challenges theories that posit a rigidly hierarchical relation between local and transnational gendered and peace agency paradigms, by demonstrating their malleability and reciprocity. Thus, it contributes to the debate about the modalities and possibilities of feminist sociopolitical intervention in nationalism- and conflict-ridden contexts.