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Power and tourism : negotiating identity in rural Cyprus

Eftychiou, Evi


Evi Eftychiou


Vassos Argyrou

Mark, 1949 Johnson


This thesis focuses on the disputed identity of rural Cyprus. It is an ethnographic study on tourism that argues that the power of western hegemony, not only defines but also reverses the definition of ‘modern’ identity in the cultural setting of Cyprus in a way that its authority is maintained and legitimized. By focusing on identity politics and tourism in the Troodos mountainous region, this study examines the conflict between native elites and locals over the definition of modernity.

In the postcolonial setting of the 1960s, native elites reproduced the western vision of ‘development’, ‘progress’ and ‘modernity’, as expressed in Europe after the Second World War. The invented concept of ‘modernity’ was introduced by native elites and was translated into policies and strategies towards the achievement of rapid ‘progress’ and the development of mass tourism in the coastal zones of Cyprus. As a result, the Cypriot authorities neglected Troodos mountainous region as a low--‐priority area and its residents were exposed as underdeveloped, backward peasants.

The economic boom of the 1970s and 1980s, provided to rural residents the opportunity to, finally achieve ‘progress’, by reproducing the mass tourism model. In the meantime though, the native elites reversed the definition of modernity, which reproduced the western principles of sustainable development, environmental and cultural heritage protection. The ‘underdeveloped’ region of Troodos, was now identified as ideal for the implementation of environment and heritage conservation projects, with the ultimate goal of developing small scale, cultural tourism in the area. In this context, native elites appropriate material tradition, in other words elements that were once classified as evidence of backwardness, in order to achieve ‘modernity’. The denial of locals to reproduce the new paradigm of development and their persistence to strive for material modernity left them once again exposed as ‘backward’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘parvenus’ peasants.


Eftychiou, E. (2013). Power and tourism : negotiating identity in rural Cyprus. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jan 5, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Social sciences
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Social Sciences, The University of Hull
Award Date Aug 1, 2013


Thesis (100.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2013 Eftychiou, Evi. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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