Contested Symbols as Social Representations: The Case of Cyprus

  • Charis PsaltisEmail author
  • Tahir Beydola
  • Giorgos Filippou
  • Nektarios Vrachimis
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


Symbols are, first of all, a means of representation as they stand in the place of something else. From the perspective of genetic social psychology representations have a symbolic function since they use symbols to signify, to make sense of and to establish the real. Representations are simultaneously social as they are formed and enacted in social interaction between people in their everyday life in a way that they point to particular social relations in a single community and importantly, with members from other communities. This chapter examines symbols as social representations and specifically focuses on the ways that symbolic meanings of cultural artefacts relating to intergroup conflict vary as a function of the quality of social relations between conflicting groups in the context of the unresolved Cyprus issue. The important role that intergroup contact plays in changing the meaning of symbols within and across the dividing line is highlighted, as well as related forms of communication.


Social Representation Cultural Artefact Grey Wolf Intergroup Contact Official Narrative 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank the participants that took part in this study and Huseyin Cakal and Nikos Moudouros who read earlier drafts of this paper and made comments as well as the editors for the useful editorial suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charis Psaltis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tahir Beydola
    • 2
  • Giorgos Filippou
    • 1
  • Nektarios Vrachimis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CyprusNicosiaCyprus
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

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