Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Iron in the Soul

Iron in the Soul: Displacement, Livelihood and Health in Cyprus

Peter Loizos
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 224
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Iron in the Soul
    Book Description:

    In his vivid, lively account of how Greek Cypriot villagers coped with a thirty-year displacement, Peter Loizos follows a group of people whom he encountered as prosperous farmers in 1968, yet found as disoriented refugees when revisiting in 1975. By providing a forty year in-depth perspective unusual in the social sciences, this study yields unconventional insights into the deeper meanings of displacement. It focuses on reconstruction of livelihoods, conservation of family, community, social capital, health (both physical and mental), religious and political perceptions. The author argues for a closer collaboration between anthropology and the life sciences, particularly medicine and social epidemiology, but suggests that qualitative life-history data have an important role to play in the understanding of how people cope with collective stress.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-067-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures, Graphs, Maps and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. [Maps]
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. 1 Crisis State and Displaced Citizens
    (pp. 1-10)

    Forced migration hurts. But how badly it hurts, what heals those hurts, or what keeps them septic, depend on many things, and this book uses a case study approach to suggest what some of them might be. It does this by tracing the fortunes of a particular community over more than forty years, combining both qualitative and quantitative methods. There have been three main study periods. The first was in 1968, when the Greek Cypriot villagers of Argaki in north-west Cyprus, along with their Turkish Cypriot neighbours, were at home and prospering. The second was in 1975, the first year...

  7. 2 Ambivalent Relations: Moments in the Unmixing of a Village
    (pp. 11-26)

    When Argaki Greek Cypriots fled from the village in August 1974, they lost homes, lands, livelihoods and certainties. But that was not all they lost: they had also been in long-standing relationships as individuals and as communities with their Turkish Cypriot fellow villagers, who stayed on in Argaki when the Greeks left. The Greeks lost their Turkish covillagers, and the Turks lost their Greek co-villagers. When later the Greeks spoke with pain of various losses, and even talked of the loss of the village as a community, they did not speak very much about missing their Turkish Cypriot neighbours, but...

  8. 3 Exits South: Improvisation Vignettes
    (pp. 27-40)

    The anti-Makarios coup by the military dictatorship in Greece in collaboration with EOKA VITA was launched in mid July 1974. The Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus that followed was punctuated by a ceasefire and period of negotiations, which failed. When Turkey resumed military operations at 4.30 a.m. on 14 August, her soldiers were able to advance very rapidly. Within three days they had driven the Greek Cypriot forces out of a third of the island. The Greek Cypriots had no aircraft to defend their ground troops or to attack the Turkish tanks, and their attempts to buy serious weapons in...

  9. 4 Economic Recovery: A Retrospective View
    (pp. 41-52)

    Greek Cypriots lost access – political, social and economic – to 38 per cent of the territory of the island, many miles of coastline, and two ports. Some of this included some highly productive regions, like the Morphou region where the Argaki citrus farmers were located. The losses also included industrial areas in and near Nicosia. There were churches and pilgrimage sites. There were areas of great natural beauty. There were the land and property losses of the displaced Greeks, whose numbers were swelled by nearly 20,000 who were pressured out of the Turkish-occupied zone during 1975, and eventually approached 30 per...

  10. 5 Crisis Management by Political Consensus
    (pp. 53-64)

    This chapter is about issues which shaped the way the Argaki people experienced their thirty years of displacement. They themselves are hardly audible here as the focus is on the national responses and political elites. The period would see a series of unsuccessful UN initiatives to engineer an agreement between Turkey, the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots. Had an agreement been reached, Greek refugees from the Morphou region, which included Argaki, would have had a reasonable chance of returning to their properties. But each time the UN initiatives failed to lead to an agreement, the refugees became more and...

  11. 6 Revisiting Former Homes
    (pp. 65-84)

    On 23 April 2003 the authorities in the North of Cyprus took the Greek Cypriots and the rest of the international community by surprise, by announcing a unilateral readiness to relax movement controls on the line which had divided the two communities since August 1974. During the previous twenty-nine years there had been all kinds of restrictions on movement. There were a few controlled crossing points, and permission had to be sought by Greek Cypriots to go to the North. Few sought permission, both because their own government discouraged them from doing so, and because many had doubts about their...

  12. 7 The Referendum 2004: Too Little, and Too Late?
    (pp. 85-96)

    This chapter is framed as far as possible by the perceptions of Argaki villagers, but it inevitably draws on much that was seen on television and heard from other people. The referendum of 1 May 2004 was a drama for both Turks and Greeks, and one that obsessed everyone on the island for many months. It divided each ethnic community deeply, and it often led to heated debates within families, and within groups of friends. No attempt is made to deal with the legal niceties of the Annan Plan, which was drafted by lawyers and would have involved the attachment...

  13. 8 Hearts as well as Minds: Illness and Well-being
    (pp. 97-116)

    We have seen that although the initial difficulties of dislocation were severe, there was a strong focus both by the refugees and the state on economic recovery, and that within five years most refugees were rehoused and earning a living. Political reactions to 1974 were necessarily more diverse, as different political parties had been positioned in completely antagonistic ways before the coup and invasion and for some years afterwards. As the years passed, Greek Cypriots suspended the political issues which had previously divided them, as the leaders constantly emphasised the need for unity in opposition to Turkey. The uncertainty continued...

  14. 9 Coping with Severe Life Events
    (pp. 117-134)

    Late in 1975, a mature Argaki woman pondering nine months of dislocation and disruption said: ‘You cannot put a price on what we had. How long will it take us to find our wits again?’ She was expressing the mental and emotional distress she and most other refugees had felt and were still feeling. Women were often tearful in this period, when they met each other after months of separation, and men were choked up with complex negative emotions. Yet our survey suggests that few of them broke down and despaired or, if they did, they did it very privately,...

  15. 10 A Sociology of Argaki Displacement: the Thirty Year View
    (pp. 135-170)

    There are several difficulties in any assessment of what it meant to Argaki people to cope with thirty years of protracted exile. On a day to day, month to month, year to year basis, people had to get on with their lives. They did not know with any certainty how the issue of their displacement would turn out. At intervals there were flurries of international political activity which suggested that a return to Argaki might have become possible. Many apparently adopted the view that nothing would come of the latest political initiatives, and that there was no point in getting...

  16. 11 In Their Own Words
    (pp. 171-182)

    There have been many reminders, since Marcus and Cushman (1982) raised issues of ethnographic representation and Geertz (1988) drew our attention to some of the ways our teachers had written about their informants, that the ethnographer has choices to make on every page. Having already pondered these issues when first writing about Argaki people as refugees, (Loizos 1981) I could have wished the interest in representation had started early enough to have helped me when I most needed it. So far, in this book, my views as author have led to an argument about the experiences of Argaki people as...

  17. 12 Iron in the Soul: On Grievance and Transcendence
    (pp. 183-188)

    If only it were possible to head this chapter ‘from grievance to transcendance’, in the attractive idiom of the conflict resolution workshop, which hopes for a progressive movement from negative to positive communal relations, a perspective which assumes that everything, even political hostility, has its appropriate duration, after which it can transform. Such a unilinear evolution is imaginable, but it is not what happened among Argaki’s refugees. (Zetter 1998). The aim in this short chapter is to offer an assessment of how they, particularly those of the 1930–40 cohort, have been affected by a thirty year exile.

    We considered...

  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 189-198)
  19. Appendix 1: Cyprus: Historical Highlights
    (pp. 199-200)
  20. Appendix 2: Main Political Groupings and Parties
    (pp. 201-202)
  21. Appendix 3: Presidents of the Republic of Cyprus
    (pp. 203-204)
  22. Index
    (pp. 205-210)