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Peter Loizos

Peter Loizos


Professor Emeritus Peter Loizos taught Anthropology at LSE from 1969 to 2002. He is concerned with the anthropology of Mediterranean societies, particularly of Cyprus. He has been conducting fieldwork since 2000 on a group of Greek Cypriots first studied in 1968. They became refugees in 1974, and are the subjects of several monographs, two documentary films and a book of photographs.

His current interest is in how these people have coped with dislocation and political uncertainty over a thirty year period, with particular reference to their livelihoods, political and social relations, and health in both narrow and broader senses. He is also interested in Greco-Turkish relations, problems of failed states, and visual anthropology.

He is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Crisis States Programme, Development Studies Institute, LSE, and Professor of Sociology in Intercollege, Nicosia.

List of selected publications

The interview

Click on each question to watch Professor Loizos' reply.

  1. Can you tell me a little about your background, where you grew up and how you became interested in anthropology?
  2. How did you make the career change from being a BBC journalist to an anthropologist?
  3. Can you tell me about your first fieldwork experience and going to your father’s village [in Cyprus]?
  4. You mentioned earlier moving away from being too self-reflexive, but can you say something about the benefits and difficulties of doing fieldwork with your family?

    The Greek Gift
  5. So, you wrote The Greek Gift. Can you explain the title of your book?
  6. Is it right that your view of politics is quite ‘top-down’ in a way? [You show that] villagers at one level try and control politics and stop it from interfering with their kinship relations, village loyalties and friendships but then events take over …
  7. When you were writing this, who were your influences?

    The Heart Grown Bitter
  8. Can I ask you about The Heart Grown Bitter? What were your intentions behind writing the book?
  9. In this book you pay much more attention to women and you have extracts from long interviews you conducted with women. In a refugee situation are there some who suffer more or manage better than others?
  10. In comparison to the other ethnic conflicts in Europe, what is the striking feature of this conflict [in Cyprus]?
  11. You say that some of your best intellectual work was trying to get to grips with the EOKA-B [paramilitaries] who were very violent and under whom the villagers suffered […] How do we get to grips with doing fieldwork with people who we dislike or have political problems with?
  12. What kind of advice would you give to anthropologists wanting to study refugees or conflict situations? Do you think there should be more of this kind of anthropology?
  13. You have also made ethnographic films and you have an interest in visual anthropology. How did you come to do that and what role does film play in anthropology more generally?
  14. You talked about ethnographic film as moving from innocence to self-consciousness. Why did you describe it as that?
  15. Just on your methods, then, I am interested in life histories, case studies and key informants. How have you used these and what form of evidence do they constitute?
  16. Finally, if I can ask you about future directions in anthropology? Any thoughts on that? […] What about your future work?

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Last modified 17 November 2009