Desecuritization in protracted conflicts: audience-level peace promoting activities in Cyprus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Protracted and intractable conflicts are more often than not characterized by an environment where securitization is deeply-rooted, and the securitizing acts are routinized and frequently institutionalized on an elite level. In such settings, political elite may have incentives to perpetuate the securitized environment or they may be unable to interrupt the conflict-perpetuating routines, even if they wished to do so; inevitably desecuritization attempts on an elite level are rare and to a large extend ineffective. As a result, most desecuritization attempts derive not from mainstream securitization actors, such as political elite, but rather from members of the ‘audience’ through peace-promoting and reconciliation activities. This paper, using the comfortable, albeit protracted and intractable, conflict in Cyprus, examines several forms of peace-promoting attempts. Specifically, the paper examines (a) why some members of the audience – on both sides of the Buffer Zone – stand out and manage to ‘escape’ the deeply securitized environment; (b) how they try to promote peace and desecuritization; (c) how they utilize local and international resources (e.g. media) and discourses – and in turn how they are utilized by international actors; and (d) why they have not yet managed to have a significant impact on changing the deeply securitized Cypriot status quo.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish International studies Association (BISA)
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • cyprus
  • securitization
  • political cartoons
  • visual securitization

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