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Daniel M. Knight

The consequences of prolonged fiscal austerity have left people in Trikala, central Greece, with feelings of intense temporal vertigo: confusion and anxiety about where and when they belong in overarching timelines of pasts and futures. Some people report feeling ‘thrown back in time’ to past eras of poverty and suffering, while others discuss their experiences of the current crisis situation as reliving multiple moments of the past assembled in the present. This article analyses how locals understand their complex experiences of time and temporality, and promotes the accommodation of messy narratives of time that can otherwise leave the researcher feeling sea-sick.

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Daniel M. Knight

Associated with notions of family continuity, lineage, national belonging, and cultural roots, in Greece property inheritance was once highly desired. Yet, in recent years, there has been a rising trend of people wanting to be disinherited because of the economic burden of new taxes introduced as part of the international austerity program and the need to focus all resources on the short-term future of the immediate family. The desire for disinheritance amounts to a longing for disconnectedness, for exiting not only political structures but also kinship structures that have been historically closely linked with a Greek sense of self as particular political subjects. A focus on inheritance demonstrates how the political can be located in the mundane and the everyday.

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Daniel M. Knight

The Greek economic crisis resonates across Europe as synonymous with corruption, poor government, austerity, financial bailouts, civil unrest, and social turmoil. The search for accountability on the local level is entangled with competing rhetorics of persuasion, fear, and complex historical consciousness. Internationally, the Greek crisis is employed as a trope to call for collective mobilization and political change. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Trikala, central Greece, this article outlines how accountability for the Greek economic crisis is understood in local and international arenas. Trikala can be considered a microcosm for the study of the pan-European economic turmoil as the “Greek crisis“ is heralded as a warning on national stages throughout the continent.

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Fossilized Futures

Topologies and Topographies of Crisis Experience in Central Greece

Daniel M. Knight

Drawing on ethnography from western Thessaly, this article reassesses notions of time and temporality in the Greek economic crisis. People experience the past as a folded assemblage of linearly distant and sometimes contradictory moments that help them make sense of a period of social change. Anthropologists should embrace the paradoxes of (poly)temporality and address the topological/topographical experience of time and history. During an era of severe uncertainty, in Greece temporality is discussed through material objects such as photovoltaic panels and fossils as people articulate their situation vis-à-vis the past, present, and future. Multiple moments of the past are woven together to explain the current crisis experience, provoking fear that times of hardship are returning or instilling hope that the turmoil can be overcome.