The research question that this article attempts to address is: what are the main policy paradigms that guide the opinion leaders throughout energy security matters within protracted conflict environments? Using the de facto divided island of Cyprus as our single case study, we will deliberately follow grounded theory in order to create conceptual definitions out of rudimentary “working ideas” that involve “protracted conflict environment”, “energy security” and stakes in “decision making”. This research enterprise involves open-ended interviews with the opinion-makers on the Island and “political discourse analysis” that identifies the quintessential aspects of the recently emerged energy debate. Drawing upon the work of Correlje and van der Linde (2006), we highlight two main paradigms: “markets and institutions” and “regions and empire”. In the first one, the business logic prevails upon political expediencies and geopolitical calculations, while in the second one, national and security concerns outweigh the business logic and the potential international economic integration. Through their interaction, we seek to explore how they drive the debate on energy security within the realm of a conflict environment.
Keywords: energy security, Cyprus conflict, policy paradigm, markets and institutions, regions and empire.
JEL Classification: D74, G18, Q4.