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Saint Antonis junior school : Inventing ethnic reconciliation

manto Papadopoulou
University of Cyprus
manto Papadopoulou
University of Cyprus
Open Panel

Abstract

Saint Antonis junior school in Limassol thus became one of the first experiences resulting from the opening of certain check points that divide Cyprus in two. By taking the initiative to welcome turkish cypriot children, this school is lauding the coexistence between both island communities, after thirty five years of separation. Questioning the establishment of a “multicultural education” and the reviewing of the traditional know how of the school, this paper explores the strategies of legitimation as well as the relationships that are formed between the various actors during the different moments of school life : the school personelle, the pupils and their parents. How history classe’s are re-organised, artistic activities are developed and political elites are instrumentalising this schools initiative, thus never yet officially motivated by any political will - is what this ethnography brings to light : the political and symbolic violence of the past is manufactured and re-elaborated in different ways by each "actor" in this island''s "national identity" theatre.