De-territorializing bi-communal divisions in Nicosia




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Peer reviewed



The Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus has recently placed an 11km razor fence along the Buffer zone in the district of Nicosia. Whilst the minister claims the purpose of installing the fence is to stop illegal migrants, it is really part of a number of deliberate attempts to make the buffer zone a hard border. This divisive strategy is apparent with the closing of the checkpoint crossings that started on Feb. 28, 2020. Ever since then an expanding range of ‘pandemic’ measures have reinforced the hard border, even though international flights have been ongoing. In A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari explain how the State apparatus ‘proceeds by a One-Two, distributes binary distinctions, and forms a milieu of interiority. It is a double articulation that makes the State apparatus into a stratum’ (2010, 3). In terms of space itself Deleuze and Guattari use chess and Go to articulate how the state territorializes, and becomes de-territorialized by counter-forces. According to the authors ‘chess pieces are coded; they have an internal nature and intrinsic properties from which their movements, situations, and confrontations derive’ (2010, 4). On the other hand, Go pieces are ‘pellets, disks, simple arithmetic units, and have only an anonymous, collective, or third-person function’ (2010, 5). Hence grassroots movements, such as WsDame, that have protested the State’s divisive strategies by meeting at different parts of the border wall reveal how these communal subjectivities that are de-centred or pushed to the regions, can mobilize, spring-up and deterritorialize. In a similar way as to Go where ‘it is a question of arraying oneself in an open space, of holding space, of maintaining the possibility of springing up at any point: the movement is not from one point to another, but becomes perpetual, without aim or destination, without departure or arrival’ (2010, 5).



border, post-conflict, divided cities, pandemic, state, surveillance, control, activism


Themistokleous, G. (2021) De-territorializing bi-communal divisions in Nicosia. Presented at the 18th Annual Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA) 2021 Conference: Region, Loughborough University, UK, November, 2021.


Research Institute

Institute of Architecture