On the periphery of Europe
: an investigation of the construction of Turkish-Cypriot adolescent identities

  • Ferdiye Ersoy

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This research study investigates the identities of a group of adolescent Turkish Cypriot (TC) students in their final year of secondary education in northern Cyprus, which it is argued, lies on the periphery of Europe.
    The main aim is to explore the linguistic construction of TC youth identities within school contexts but primarily the classroom in a political context in which the uniquely ambiguous status of Turkish Cypriots within the European Union (EU) continues, and where Turkish Cypriots are considered to be Europeans as individuals but not as a separate political entity. A secondary focus is upon the students’ investment in learning the English language.
    Identity is defined as a lifelong process of 'the social positioning of self and the other' (Bucholtz and Hall, 2005:586) which is endlessly re-created (Tabouret-Keller, 1997) and the distinction between the terms 'identity' and 'identities' is discussed.
    The study explores the social construction of TC students' identities using an ethnomethodological case study. By using Conversation Analysis of selected extracts from the data collected through observations of classroom interactions, focus group discussions and interviews, the thesis shows that TC students perceive and enact 'in-betweener identities' in terms of their ethnicity, societal values, age, religion, languages and Europeanness.
    Being on the periphery of the EU, it is argued that the Turkish Cypriots of northern Cyprus are the ‘peripheral members of the EU, remaining present yet absent. They are personally EU citizens but not as a society and cannot be represented within EU institutions. But will they ever acquire full membership, as any peripheral member would aspire to have or will they remain in between occident and orient? The possible answers to this question and the resulting ideological associations will shape how and to what extent these TC students perceive and enact their identities.
    Date of Award12 Feb 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJudith A Baxter (Supervisor)


    • identity and language
    • social construction of identity
    • conversation analysis
    • TC students as in-betweeners

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