When Henry Miller left Paris in the summer of 1939 (July 14) and set foot in Greece, Europe was, in Winston Churchill’s words (1971, 341–358), “on the verge” of war. Within weeks of his arrival (mid-August) on the island of Corfu at the house of
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Leonidas Sotiropoulos and
Daniel M. Knight
over the property, her father wanted to create social and economic security for his children “but managed to achieve the exact opposite.” The idea of “putting in order [ taktopoiisi ] the kids,” Eleni says, “is something really important in Greek
Nonrecording the “European refugee crisis” in Greece
Navigating through irregular bureaucracy
asks in Greek. “Family name!” The coast guard carries on several times in English and receives no answer whatsoever. The officer gets more and more irritated and desperate. He shouts and curses in Greek, possibly addressing his colleagues and myself
Daniel M. Knight
Introduction ‘Have you ever seen that programme Star Trek ?’ Despoina asks me as we walk through the weekly market in the centre of Trikala, a town on the central plains of mainland Greece. ‘I remember as a child’, she nudges me in the side
Evy Johanne Håland
This article is based on a larger ongoing project, The Dangerous Life: Gender, Pain, Health and Healing in Modern and Ancient Greece, a Comparison , which presents a method new to the study of antiquity: ethnographic fieldwork combined with
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.
The “strong nucleus of the Greek race”
Racial nationalism and anthropological science
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.
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.
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.
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.