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Title: Representations of Aphrodite in the margins of Europe : mapping the ancient goddess on the Cultural map of Cyprus
Author: Paphitou, Nicoletta
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 0239
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2015
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The thesis explores the uses and appropriations of the symbol of Aphrodite in Greek-Cypriot tourism. It focuses in the development of a particular tourism itinerary, Aphrodite’s Cultural Routes, which attempts to unite a number of southern Cypriot archaeological sites. Aphrodite—a symbol that links Cyprus with Greek antiquity—was chosen by the Greek-Cypriot tourism authorities as the logo of this particular tourism product. The narratives that supports the Routes, provides us with a good opportunity to explore how Greek Cypriots and tourists relate to Cyprus’s past, and how the Greek-Cypriot authorities appropriate Aphrodite to construct and legitimise a particular vision of cultural heritage. The thesis makes a twofold contribution to the anthropology of Cyprus: On the empirical level, it provides ample information about how the Greek-Cypriot tourism industry uses Goddess Aphrodite in order to anticipate the expectations of the tourism audience, but also in order to solidify a connection with the Greek past. Along with the official discourse, the thesis explores a number of contemporary perceptions and practices related to goddess Aphrodite, which are often reconstituted according to the way Greek-Cypriot people and the Greek-Cypriot authorities perceive their past. Information is also provided about the selective appropriation of Aphrodite, the omission of parts of Cypriot history that do not fit the nationalist paradigm, and the exclusion from the Routes of sites located in the northern part of Cyprus. On a theoretical level, the thesis draws from Michael Herzfeld, and his notion of disemia, the everlasting ambivalence of the Greeks between their formal, Western, Hellenic identity and their private, intimate, anti-Western self-identification. The thesis applies the model of disemic ambivalence to southern Cyprus to highlight the tension between Hellenism and Cypriotness, as this becomes apparent in the contradictions that emerge from the use of Aphrodite in Greek-Cypriot tourism. The Greek Cypriots continuously oscillate between a formalistic ‘European’ conception of their Self and a local, vernacular Cypriot identity. They use Aphrodite in their public representation, but do not include Aphrodite in their private lives. More generally, the appropriation of Aphrodite in southern Cyprus’ tourism—as this is ethnographically explored in the thesis—can help us appreciate how tourism naturalises the nationalist version of Greek historical consciousness, re-inscribing Aphrodite on the island’s landscape, as a textual metanarrative. Aphrodite provides a convenient connection with a formalistic Greek past, which is re-negotiated in the present—partly subverted through spontaneity, but in most cases verified. In this respect, the way Aphrodite is appropriated as a symbol in tourism is emblematic of the wider identity politics in the southern part of Cyprus. The thesis, therefore, sheds some valuable light on the Greek-Cypriot politics of heritage and exclusion as these can be seen from the local level, and in particular through the ‘lens’ of the symbolic use of goddess Aphrodite in tourism.
Supervisor: Theodossopoulos, Dimitrios Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GN Anthropology