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New Immigrants and Neo-rural Values: The Small Non-Greek Farmers of Global Greek Countrysides

James P. Verinis

Keywords: AGRICULTURAL LABOUR; IDENTITY; MIGRATION; RURAL DEVELOPMENT; SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

Abstract

Though Greek agriculture is arguably the picture of rural underdevelopment in Europe, life in rural Greece is transforming within a new global migratory context. Farmers now work with myriad non-Greek minorities who, with the onset of the postsocialist period, have begun to play a diversity of socio-economic roles. These immigrants help to de fine what agricultural (dis)incentives, environmental stewardship, social fabric and territorial occupation mean in the countryside. Together with locals they now co-manage new tensions stemming from European rural development programs and global commodity markets.

Scholarship tends to reify the conclusion that immigrants are merely transient, exploited labourers. In conjunction with macroeconomic analyses of rural 'stagnation', such characterizations misrepresent current realities and undermine alternative potentialities. As some new residents join the ranks of small-scale Greek farmers, new rural values are crystallising, opening a door for new interpretations of rural development in Greece.

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