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

The ‘Unbearable’ Legacy of Greekness: Destabilising Greek and Migrant Youth Categories

While the decade long on-going Greek austerity driven crises continue to ravage the remnants of the country’s social fabric, debates concerning the resilience of ‘national consciousness’ emerge repeatedly in many ways. As a discursive trope and symbolic signifier of ‘Greekness’, constructions of ‘ethnos’ have had paramount salience in who ‘belongs’ to the nation and who doesn’t; who deserves sympathy in a context of dispossession and deprivation, as well as why those ‘undeserving’ of such have contributed to the country’s economic demise. At the same time, Greece is barely coping with one of the most significant global challenges as regards displacement of refugees while experiencing a severe scientific migration and austerity induced emigration. Within these parameters, second generation migrant youth who were born, raised and educated in Greece, similarly to Greek youth, are also struggling to develop independent livelihoods under adverse socio-economic and political conditions. The prospect of outward migration for both Greek and migrant youth appears to be a likely, if not viable/desirable, option which sets a new mobilities agenda with local and transnational implications. In such austere times, additional liminal spaces emerge when we consider the impact of the crisis on both Greek and migrant youth as well as the subsequent potential diasporas from these groups. This paper discusses various dimensions of destabilising rigid categories of new diasporas emanating from the current Greek crisis and explores both conceptual liminalities and experiential realities of such experiences for Greek and migrant youth.

Author bio

Anastasia Christou is Associate Professor of Sociology, member of the Social Policy Research Centre and founding member of the FemGenSex research network at Middlesex University, London, UK. Anastasia has engaged in multi-sited, multi-method and comparative ethnographic research in the United States, the UK, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, France, Iceland and recently in Switzerland. Anastasia has widely published research on issues of diasporas, migration and return migration; the second generation and ethnicity; space and place; transnationalism and identity; culture and memory; gender and feminism; home and belonging; emotion and narrativity; ageing/youth mobilities, care, trauma, race/racisms and intersectionalities, embodiment, sexualities, women/men/masculinities, motherhood/mothering. She is the author of “Narratives of Place, Culture and Identity: Second-Generation Greek-Americans Return 'Home'”, Amsterdam University Press (2006) and her most recent book is a jointly authored research monograph entitled, Christou, A. and King, R. “Counter-diaspora: The Greek Second Generation Returns ‘Home’”, appearing in the series Cultural Politics, Socioaesthetics, Beginnings, distributed by Harvard University Press (2015).
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