Conference - June 22-23, 2018

Homeland-Diaspora Relations in Flux

Greece and Greeks abroad at times of Crisis

St Antony's College, University of Oxford.

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Presenting paper

Greek Diaspora in Poland: public relations of the economy

The paper would focus on Greek diaspora in Poland during the crisis, which for its most part was represented by reproduction of German and West European narratives in the mainstream media. One of the more interesting characteristics of Greek diaspora in Poland is the provenance of its majority: Greeks who have arrived there as refugees (often: children) from the Greek civil war 1946-49 into the "brotherly" socialist country. This origin is so frequent, that one of the first questions a Pole asks a person of Greek descent is usually whether (s)he is "of the communists". Poland, where communism has been rejected and associated with the imposed rule of the Soviets, lack of democracy, poverty and obscurantism, such placement makes the Greek diaspora an interesting research object, revealing a grid of interconnected political, national, social identities spread between the two homelands. (In addition, the fact that together with the Greeks also the Macedonian Slavs in a similar situation have arrived to Poland, makes it possible to observe whether and how the two diasporas interact and reproduce the discourses of their original countries, and also, how do they interact with "non-communist" diaspora members). Using the Critical Discourse Analysis of broadly understood public discourse produced by the Greek diaspora in Poland: books (i.e. Dionisios Sturis 2013), printed and online articles, interviews, socio-cultural events, and own interviews conducted with Polish Greeks, the proposed paper would investigate three aspects: 1. whether, and how the diaspora acted or acts as an advocate for the Greek cause, 2. how did it interact with the homeland (Greece), and 3. how its socio-political experience, i.e. having lived in a poor socialist country which subsequently flourished economically under neoliberal capitalism (AND EU funds) has affected its attitudes vis-a-vis the ongoing situation in Greece.

Author bio

Olimpia Dragouni PhD, Research Assistant at the Humboldt University in Berlin [Germany], Institute of Slavic Studies working in a DFG project: Melting Borders: An Ethnography of the Movement of Peoples, Goods, and Symbols in Border-areas between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia. My PhD dissertation: Self-Identification of Slav-Speaking Elites From the Territory of Macedonia under Ottoman Rule (19th Century), currently in preparation for publishing, has been defended summa cum laude in 2015 at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, University of Warsaw [Poland].Prior to that, I have studied European and Balkan Studies, Arabic and Islamic studies, and have been awarded with research scholarships in Sarajevo [Faculty of Islamic Studies 2013-2014], in Macedonia [UKiM, MANU 2011, 2013]. My research languages (order reflecting the level of fluency) are: Polish, Greek, English, Macedonian, B/H/S, Arabic (fusha), French, German, Turkish, Ottoman Turkish.
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