USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)


Cristen Borling

First Advisor

Thomas W. Smith, Associate Professor, Political Science, Government and International Affairs

Second Advisor

Ty Solomon, Associate Professor, Political Science, Government and International Affairs


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Date Available

May 2013

Publication Date


Date Issued

May 2012


Since WWII, ethnic conflict has been the most common and the most violent form of human conflicts. These brutal disputes have inflicted unimaginable human suffering through the destabilization of entire regions, devastation of economic development, and the deracination of entire communities. Violent ethnic conflicts have been re-writing the geo-political map as we know it and forcing colossal changes to the realm of diplomatic relations. Despite the wide-ranging implications of ethno-conflict, insufficient analysis has been paid to their resolution worldwide. Most of the culture conflicts drawing our attention today are based on historic or ancestral claims. Interestingly, ancient history may be a past of glory and honor or of humiliation and dishonor, or a combination of both, since either can function as a means to motivate and define a group; this work takes and anthropological perspective on international ethnic conflict through the examination of the social and biological aspects of ethno-logic. Specifically, this position will focus its attention on Cyprus – a tiny island located in a region characterized by fierce nationalism and overburdened by ethnic disputes. At the heart of the Cyprus Question lies the mystery of affinity, the sense of belonging whether to a nation or to a people. Ethnic identity plays an important part in day-to-day politics and has even become politically institutionalized through different systems on germane national or regional levels. Cultural conflicts highlight the human dimension—a dimension that is primarily one of endless and often senseless human suffering. Ethnic identities are far from fixed or certain, they are rather fluid, socially constructed concepts established through territorial boundaries and group formation. Ethnic identifications are internally and externally constructed and formed in relation to the outside world. Ultimately, this work uses a holistic approach, with culture as its focal point, to question and deconstruct cultural claims and group incentive between the two competing ethnic groups residing on Cyprus—the Greek-Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots—and finally critiques the use of barriers in dealing with ethnic-political conflict.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program, University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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