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The “strong nucleus of the Greek race”

Racial nationalism and anthropological science

Sevasti Trubeta

This article deals with the theory of the "strong nucleus of the Greek race" elaborated by the Greek physical anthropologist Ioannis Koumaris (1879-1970), who headed all academic anthropological institutions in Greece between 1915 and 1970. According to this theory human groups were in a state of "fluid constancy," meaning that the "proper" nucleus of the predominant race always persisted in a stable form despite miscegenation, and was hence capable of resurfacing. This theory footed, first, on racial theories challenging the existence of "pure races" in favor of evidencing "racial varieties" and "racial types" and, second, an early Greek national idea according to which Hellenism possessed the ability to acculturate and absorb foreign peoples or nations without losing its innate qualities. The Greek notion fili (meaning both nation and race), and its shifting semantics from religious to national and racial, is similarly instrumental to this analysis. By means of this theory racial purity was not so much rejected as it was relativized, essentially being replaced by the constancy of a race over time. With the shift from purity to constancy, the imperative of the homogeneity of an entity is not violated but, in contrast, supported by race anthropological arguments. Race hygienic theories, in turn, advanced the shift from racial consistency to purification.

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The 'Social Quality' Perspective in Greece

Maria Petmesidou and Periklis Polyzoidis

The subject matter of the ‘social’, defined as the realisation of the self in the context of collective identity, provides the central premise of the social quality perspective. On the basis of this premise the ENIQ (European Network on Indicators of Social Quality) project explored the four conditional factors of social quality, namely the extent to which social structures, patterns of interaction and policy processes, in European societies, promote (or hinder) socio-economic security, social inclusion, social cohesion and empowerment. These are key factors for gauging ‘the extent to which people are able to participate in the social and economic life of their communities under conditions which enhance their well-being and individual potential’ (ENIQ 2004: 2; also Beck et al., 2001). In this article we will briefly examine the four conditional factors of social quality from the viewpoint of socio-economic structures, policies and daily experience in Greece. In the first part we highlight some distinctive features of Greek society that are relevant to our analysis. We then proceed to a short discussion of each of the four conditional factors and their constitutive domains (and indicators). We conclude with some brief remarks on good practices and policy implications.

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Pelasgic Encounters in the Greek-Albanian Borderland

Border Dynamics and Reversion to Ancient Past in Southern Albania

Gilles de Rapper

In the last ten years, many books and articles dedicated to Pelasgians have been published in Albania, mostly by amateur historians and linguists. These works question the official discourse on the Illyrian origin of Albanians inherited from the socialist era. They also question the relationship of Albanians with Greeks, both in ancient times and in the present. Considering the fact that a significant number of those authors originate from southern Albania and that their books are widely read and appreciated in this Albanian borderland, this article argues that the recent success of Pelasgic theories can be partially explained by the new uses of the border in the post-1991 context and by the state of relations between Albanians and Greeks as experienced at the local level. Imagining the Pelasgians as prestigious ancestors appears as an answer to feelings of inequality and marginality related to new practices of the border.

Open access

Listening with Displacement

Sound, Citizenship, and Disruptive Representations of Migration

Tom Western

practices in the present, and connecting these to histories of movement. Athens is the focal point throughout. At a time when the European continent is marked by closed borders and calls for the protection of national cultures, Greece, especially Athens

Open access

Philanthropy or solidarity? Ethical dilemmas about humanitarianism in crisis‐afflicted Greece

Dimitrios Theodossopoulos

That philanthropy perpetuates the conditions that cause inequality is an old argument shared by thinkers such as Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde and Slavoj Žižek. I recorded variations of the same argument in local conversations regarding growing humanitarian concern in austerity‐ridden Greece. Local critiques of the efficacy of humanitarianism, which I explore here ethnographically, bring to the fore two parallel possibilities engendered by the ‘humanitarian face’ of solidarity initiatives: first, their empowering potential (where solidarity initiatives enhance local social awareness), and second, the de‐politicisation of the crisis (a liability that stems from the effectiveness of humanitarianism in ameliorating only temporarily the superficial consequences of the crisis). These two possibilities – which I treat as simultaneous and interrelated – can help us appreciate the complexity and social embeddedness of humanitarian solidarity in times of austerity.

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The Poetics of Anti-Americanism in Greece

Rhetoric, Agency, and Local Meaning

Elisabeth Kirtsoglou and Dimitrios Theodossopoulos

In this article we examine the content and rationale of anti-Americanism in Greece, drawing ethnographic information from two urban centers, Patras and Volos. We pay special attention to the conspiracy theory attributes of this rhetoric, and, instead of dismissing it or seeing it primarily as a manifestation of nationalist thinking, we attempt to unpack the threads of meaning that make it so appealing in local contexts. We look in particular at the etiology of blame within this particular discourse and try to explain the specific readings of history and politics that make it significant in local contexts. We argue that Greek anti-Americanism has an empowering potential for local actors, as it provides them with a certain degree of discursive agency over wider political processes that are beyond their immediate control.

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‘How did you get in?’ Research access and sovereign power during the ‘migration crisis’ in Greece

Katerina Rozakou

The ‘migration crisis’ has turned migration governance in Greece into a popular research field. At the same time, it has triggered the reconfiguration of sovereign powers with an assemblage of disparate actors engaging in addressing the ‘crisis’. This excess of sovereign power has contributed to a migration maze. In this article I use access to the migration field and in particular the Moria camp in Lesbos, as the lens for an exploration of these fragmented and emergent sovereign powers. In particular, I reflect on the materiality of my research permit and the figure of the humanitarian gatekeeper. As I show, any research access attempt encounters different spheres and agents of jurisdiction and responsibility. This fragmentation provides opportunities for research access, but it also poses methodological and epistemological questions. I finally interrogate the question of research access and knowledge production itself. In particular, I argue that the abundance of accounts does not necessarily produce a more thorough and in‐depth picture, but only a limited one, like the access that enables it. As researchers of a blossoming crisis scholarship, we are often complicit in epistemologically reproducing the very border we seek to scrutinise through our critical work.

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Looking for the 'Language' of Recognition among Greek Communities of Georgia

Eleni Sideri

The Caucasus was a zone of encounters for centuries, generating images of regional cosmopolitanism in the past. This vision creates expectations for the present, when it is included in the wider discussion about the meanings of cosmopolitanism today, its relation to modern geopolitics, and issues of social and political co-existence and recognition. This essay focuses on two different photographs that belong to different Greek families in Georgia. These photographs represent two different historical experiences of migration and pinpoint different understandings of cosmopolitanism. However, they both seem to stem from specific discourses about diasporas and their cosmopolitan character. The role of language in the construction of these discourses is fundamental. The essay compares photographic representations of the 'Greek Diaspora' in order to trace the perceptions of cosmopolitanism they generate, the cultural capital they carry, and its outcome in relation to Greek diaspora politics.

Free access

Migration, residential investment, and the experience of “transition”

Tracing transnational practices of Albanian migrants in Athens

Gerda Dalipaj

and in Greece. The trajectories of the dwellings in which these migrants lived in Albania before their emigration to Greece are examined. Making use of their savings from migration work, the families targeted in this study have invested their incomes

Open access

Feminisms and Politics in the Interwar Period

The Little Entente of Women (1923–1938)

Katerina Dalakoura

The Little Entente of Women (LEW) was founded in 1923 during the ninth conference of the International Women's Suffrage Alliance (IWSA), which took place in Rome (12–20 May 1923), by representatives of feminist organizations from Greece, Bulgaria