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

Intra-European Mobility, Emigration, and New Dynamics within Greek-Orthodox Religioscapes.

The limited opportunities of the immensely contracted Greek economy since the eruption of the 2009 debt crisis, gave rise to emigrational tendencies, particularly towards European countries, which were rendered more approachable duo to the freedom of movement, a fundamental EU principle. Notably increased numbers of the Greek idle workforce – of various skills, training and employment prospects abroad – have been relocated to several destinations, with Britain and Germany predominantly among them. There, many have sought to integrate within existing, relatively coherent diasporic ethnocultural and religious formations, or simply sought to utilise the social networks thereof while seeking employment, being in part motivated by the social role of the parish as it has been embedded in the collective imaginary. The aforementioned process brought about an exposition to attitudes, value-systems and social practices anew; namely, the predominantly collectivist cultural traits of the Greek emigrants/expats, have met with the individualism-infused ones of the Greek diasporic religioscapes. Thereby, constellations as such have been socioculturally enriched and in turn challenged to edify the newly-arrived, within a context of an ‘old-new Diaspora’ discourse. Moreover, from a sociocultural perspective it is neither uncommon nor new for the Greek Diaspora to engage in such exchanges and produce new and/or hybrid Leitkultur patterns within the framework of its religioscapes and communities, which are mutatis mutandis transferrable back to the homeland. This, still ongoing, fermentation is indicative of the challenges and opportunities of globality, and, in turn, of the glocal responses to them, as well as of the distinct community and society (Gemeinschaft – Gesellschaft) dynamic that permeates the diasporic Greek-Orthodox religioscapes.

Author bio

Dr. Georgios E. Trantas specialises in Religion and Politics and he is primarily interested in Greek Orthodox affairs, the EU, and Southeastern Europe. He has been consecutively a pre-doctoral, doctoral and post-doctoral fellow at the University of Erfurt and the research programme, ‘DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1412, Cultural Orientations and Social Structures in South-Eastern Europe’. His research interests include Cultural Diplomacy, Soft Power, Religioscapes, and Migration. He is a Marie-Skłodowska Curie Fellow (Horizon 2020) at Aston University, where his project with the acronym ‘GO Religioscapes’ shall be hosted.
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