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Title: Learning the language of ’the other’ : a linguistic ethnography of Turkish-language classes in a Greek-Cypriot school
Author: Charalambous, Constadina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2723 7278
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis is a linguistic ethnographic study of the introduction of Turkish-language classes in Greek-Cypriot Formal Education, a new initiative taken by the Cyprus Ministry of Education in 2003. Taking into account the history of conflict between the two communities, this project deals with the discursive (re-)negotiations of ethnic difference and ethnic relations that occur in classes where the subject to be taught is the language of 'The Other'. Focusing in particular on two Turkish-language classes in a Greek-Cypriot secondary school, the thesis draws mainly on data collected during five months of ethnographic fieldwork. With post-structuralist and anti-essentialist theoretical tools informing the ethnographic approach, and analytical frameworks from interactional sociolinguistics, it investigates how the details of classroom interaction connect with larger-scale processes, such as: i) the history of intercommunal/interethnic hostility and rival nationalisms; ii) educationald iscourseso f `Hellenic Paideia'; iii) processesa nd discoursess hapedb oth inside and outsideC yprus (i. e. EU entry, initiatives for reconciliation); iv) students' repertoires shaped in contexts outside the classroom (i. e. youth organisations, football fan-clubs etc). At the institutional level, the setting up of the language classes emerged as part of an effort to improve the relations of the two communities and was thus in line with EU processes and the attempts at the time to resolve the `Cyprus Issue'. However, the empirical investigation shows that the ideology of 'rapprochement' underpinning this initiative was not compatible with the hegemonic institutional ideology of Hellenocentrism that sees the neighbouring community as 'The Other'. Both the teacher and the students appeared to recognise the formal lesson as a site that did not permit any alternative discourses (e. g. leftist discourses) and such discourses were silenced, whispered, or met with resistance. The ideological conflict between 'rapprochement' and `Hellenic Paideia' appeared to pose significant complications to the teaching process, and in the classes studied, the Turkish-language teacher struggled to mediate the two ideologies and simultaneously deal with the history and the current situation in Cyprus. Nevertheless, when talking outside the frame of a formal lesson, there were students who appeared competent in discussing Cyprus politics and demonstrated the ability to handle the tension caused by the ideological contestation involved.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available