The Line

Women, Partition and the Gender Order in Cyprus

Cynthia Cockburn


Explores the effects of the 'Green Line' between Greek and Turkish Cyprus on the lives of those separated by it.
Step across the Green Line in Cyprus and you defy the political leaders who seek to control movement. But more and more ordinary Cypriots are challenging the validity of Partition. As Cyprus joins the European Union, can Greek and Turkish-speaking Cypriots put their violent past behind them and build a multicultural and gender-equal society?

Based on action research among Cypriot women, this study documents the life of a remarkable women‘s project. The women take protest onto the streets, calling for peace and the inclusion of women in building a new Cypriot society. Cyprus, past and present, is a microcosm of wider social processes. A line has been destructively drawn, over decades, between two so-called ethnic groups. Over millennia, a similar line has been scored between women and men.

The book will be a valuable resource for all those who analyse, teach about and resist gendered and ethnicized war, not only in the Eastern Mediterranean but much further afield.

Author Bio

Cynthia Cockburn, a feminist researcher and writer, lives in London where she is Visiting Professor in the Department of Sociology at City University and active in the international anti-militarist network Women in Black. She is known for writings based on empirical social research, and for an approach that grounds theory in the practice of labour or political action.

She has contributed, over quarter of a century, to the literature on gender and technology, the labour process and trade unionism, and transformative change in and through organizations. Her books include The Local State (1977), Brothers (1983), The Machinery of Dominance (1985), In the Way of Women (1991) and Gender and Technology in the Making (1993).

Since 1995 her research has focused on gender in armed conflict and peace processes, particularly in Northern Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Israel/Palestine and Cyprus. Her most recent books are The Space Between Us: Negotiating Gender and National Identities in Conflict (Zed 1998); and (co-edited with Dubravka Zarkov) The Postwar Moment: Militaries, Masculinities and International Peacekeeping (2002).

Table of Contents

  • 1. Self and Other: Kinds of Line
  • 2. The Production of Enmity
  • 3. Sorting, Separating, Sealing
  • 4. Partitioned Power: Women and the Structures
  • 5. Binary Logic: Marriage, Sex and Bodies
  • 6. Challenging the Line: Women's Activism
  • 7. Transversal Politics: Problems of Practice
  • 8. Inclusion and Diversity


'Cynthia Cockburn writes with clarity and passion about a remarkable movement. Out of a history of violence and hatred come imaginative moves for reconciliation, and new ideas about equality and identity. This is a vivid and thoughtful book, relevant to men as well as women, and useful to all concerned about ethnic division and political violence anywhere in the world.'
R.W.Connell, University of Sydney.

'This is it! In this terrific book Cynthia Cockburn has shown us all how to take an allegedly "ancient" inter-ethnic, internationalized conflict and reveal instead the very particular ways in which the politics of masculinity and femininity have been wielded to entrench that conflict. She does this by taking seriously the hard work of thinking and action done by Cypriot feminists. I can‘t wait to use The Line in classes. It‘s pathbreaking.'
Cynthia Enloe, author of Maneuvers: the International Politics of Militarizing Women‘s Lives

'Cynthia Cockburn‘s analysis of the violence and the burgeoning movements towards reconciliation across the divide in Cyprus is a scholarly, readable, thoughtful and thought provoking study. Anchored in a meticulous study and based on the author‘s collaborative work with the women about whom she writes, the work is presented with passion, commitment and a clear sightedness that is exemplary.'
Haleh Afshar, Political Studies Review

'This study is important as it gives us a chance to hear the voices of the ordinary women and their attempts to find forms of empathy that are not based on sameness...a thought-provoking work...'
Nations and Nationalism


Publication Date: 1 January 2004
256 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781842774212
Library Edition: 9781842774205

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