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Galatariotou, C. (2008). From Psychosocial Equilibrium to Catastrophic Breakdown: Cyprus 1955-1974. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(4):845-866.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(4):845-866

Interdisciplinary Studies

From Psychosocial Equilibrium to Catastrophic Breakdown: Cyprus 1955-1974

Catia Galatariotou

The recent history of Cyprus presents an example of a society in which a centuries-long peaceful coexistence of diverse populations gave way to violence and murderous hate, with devastating end results. This paper tries to understand and describe the process by which Cypriot society slid from a position of psychosocial equilibrium and integration towards one of disintegration, fragmentation and catastrophic breakdown. This paper draws from work by social anthropologists, sociologists, historians and others, and from my own personal experience. To these I applied insights afforded by psychoanalysis to identify and explore the psychic processes and states of mind that characterized a psychosocial disinte-grative process. I came to see external political events and internal psychological processes as inseparably intertwined and dynamically interdependent, each emanating from and catalysing the other. The factual details of the process described are of course unique in their local specificity, but the psychic phenomena that characterized it are not: at both the individual and group levels they are replicated in other societies undergoing similar processes of self-destruction.

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