Resilience, endurance and the anthropology of political critique
Resilience is increasingly being scrutinized as a political mode of governance in the context of crisis. As such, its employment in anthropological work has also come under critique. The presentation takes a closer look at this critique to examine the role of anthropology in the political management of crisis. It focuses particularly on the relationship between resilience and the concept of endurance, also employed by anthropologists to explain governance in late liberalism. This relationship is examined through ethnographic data collected in the past few years in Greece as well as Cyprus. Through such examples of endurance as well as of the political use of resilience, the presentation seeks to locate anthropology in political critique in times of crisis.
Olga Demetriou is a social anthropologist and holds a PhD (2002) from the London School of Economics. She joined PRIO Cyprus Centre in 2006, following post-doctoral appointments at Cambridge (Wolfson College) and Oxford (St Peter’s College) Universities. She has carried out fieldwork in western Thrace and Cyprus and has been working on issues of human rights, minority-state relations, refugeehood, gender, and migration. She is particularly interested in processes of subjectivisation in conditions of conflict and inequality. Her work has appeared in several anthropological and inter-disciplinary journals, and her first monograph was published in 2013 by Berghahn under the title Capricious Borders: Minority, Population and Counter-Conduct between Greece and Turkey. She has been involved in a number of social justice initiatives in Cyprus, including the Gender Advisory Team (since 2009) which seeks to mainstream gender equality concerns in the peace building agenda.
Youth in (times of) Crisis: Migration, precarity, and resilience in the Southern borders of Europe
This paper traces ethnographically the experiences of young Greek migrants in Cyprus and in the context of the ongoing economic crisis in Europe. It brings together anthropological approaches to youth with critical perspectives on the “Greek crisis” in order to (re)examine together and interrogate the concepts of “youth” and “crisis.” By expanding on the concept of “crisis” to include broader structural conditions, such as economic austerity, unemployment and migration, this particular case study helps us recognise “youth crises” not only as a psycho-biological phenomenon but also as lived experiences of precarity and resilience shaped by particular socio-cultural contexts of resilient hierarchies, stratification and alterity. The paper argues that the current economic crisis and migration are not just the broader context within which youth unravels, but are constitutive elements of how youth is discursively constructed and experienced by migrants themselves. Such ethnographic focus potentially captures and provides an understanding of how youth migratory movements at the margins of Europe form and shift, and what effects these movements may have on the (re)production of social and economic inequality, political identities, and hierarchies of inclusion and exclusion.
Evropi Chatzipanagiotidou is a Lecturer in Anthropology at Queen’s University Belfast. Her research interests lie at the study of ethnicity, nationalism and anti-nationalism, peace activism, and the politics of memory in conflict affected contexts. She has published on the politics of memory in Cyprus and the diaspora, the politics of the Left and intra-communal violence and is currently completing a book manuscript tentatively entitled ‘Conflicts and Diasporas: Identity, Peace politics and Transnationalism between Cyprus and the UK’. She has served as features editor in the journal ‘Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism’ and is Secretary of the Anthropological Association of Ireland.
Solidarity humanitarianism: The re-politicization of humanitarianism and the “refugee crisis”
In this paper I will draw upon the responses to the “European migration/refugee crisis” in Greece, in order to discuss the emergence of a hybrid form of humanitarianism. “Solidarity humanitarianism” as I coin it, is not an entirely new phenomenon but it undoubtedly exemplifies the blossoming humanitarian landscape that has arisen since 2015. Along with large-scale, traditional humanitarian actors, grassroots –and largely informal– groups, and independent volunteers flooded Greece in order to assist the refugees. Most of the anthropological literature on humanitarianism unpacks the moral reasoning of humanitarianism and emphasizes the depoliticizing effects of humanitarian governance. As I argue, “solidarity humantitarianism” exemplifies a different trend and the attempt to re-politicize help to the fellow human. “Solidarity humanitarianism” challenges the bureaucratic modalities of humanitarian governance, and the intrinsic hierarchy between giver and recipient.
Katerina Rozakou is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam. Her research interests include political anthropology, humanitarianism, volunteerism, the state, bureaucracy and migration. She has done extensive fieldwork on the solidarity with the refugees movement in Greece and more recently on the governance of irregular migration by state and non-state agents. Her work has appeared in academic journals and her monograph, Out of “love” and “solidarity”: Voluntary work with refugees in early 21st century Greece came out in February 2018.
‘Critically haunted and historically queer: Diva citizenship does Greece’
This paper revisits the oxymoron of contemporary queer politics in Greece. On the one hand a significant increase in the LGBTQI public presence, successful demands and legal achievements; and on the other what looks like the persistence (and sometimes rise) of old-style homophobia and racism. I will assess the analytical merits of this description and explain how it can frame an attempt to “do the history of Greek (homo)sexuality” as a political project, one that would be able to take into account diverse temporalities and contours, survivals and capitulations, moments of emergence and histories of resilience. I will propose that, especially in the current predicament, there is an opportunity to return and pay attention to what Laurent Berlant has called diva citizenship, those ‘moments of emergence that mark unrealized potentials for subaltern political activity’. Not simply an extravagant appearance, but a radical exercise in genealogy, diva citizenship does not aim to change the world. It works, instead, by haunting: both the more organized intersectional demands for equal rights and participation in the public sphere, and the fear that is still marshaled against them.
Dimitris Papanikolaou is Associate Professor of Modern Greek at the University of Oxford. He has written the monographs: Singing Poets: Literature and Popular Music in France and Greece (Legenda, 2007), “Those people made like me”: C.P.Cavafy and the poetics of sexuality (Patakis, 2014, in Greek) and There is something about the family: Nation, desire and kinship in a time of crisis (Patakis, 2018, in Greek). He is currently writing Greek Weird Wave: A Cinema of Biopolitics, for Edinburgh University Press.
What is popular social work? In search of anti-oppressive practice in contemporary Greece
Popular social work (Lavalette and Ioakimidis, 2011) is a term that encompasses welfare activities taken by communities under crisis when states are failing. It has challenged and debated the very nature of social work as a source of and solution to social problems through developing local-specific practices by engaging local people in empowering, reciprocated and culturally appropriate ways; ways that take into account radical approaches in understanding and engaging with the political context, challenging power structures and promoting social justice. With regard to social work, being itself a source of social problems is contradicting in terms, especially when its focus to universal humanistic values is to be considered. However, its historical development, closely related to regressive and oppressive welfare policies that disciplinary interfere between the individual and the state, proves otherwise(Ferguson, Ioakimidis and Lavalette, 2018). Concurrent developments of austerity policies and refugees being absorbed into a system based on exclusion and exploitation have made social work’s struggle to address an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, let alone its commitment to social justice, even more challenging (Teloni, 2016; Lorenz, 2017). For those going beyond the image of being considered “neutral professionals”, popular grassroot networks can engage them with the highly political issues that lie in the heart of their work. Hence, this paper will summarise some of the key aspects of “popular social work” and consider its implications for future social work practice despite the many inherent and contextual challenges it faces.
George Papaleonidopoulos is a post Graduate research student, social worker, former local coordinator at NGO PRAKSIS, Patras programmes. He holds an MA in International Social Work and Community Development from Durham University.
Resilience within and against precarity: Gender and informal education in crisis Greece
The neoliberal politics, policies and practices put forward as a result of the economic recess in Greece, as well as globally, brings to the fore a proliferating scholarly interest in sectors known as ´´shadow´´ economy. Consequently, the invisible, gendered labour generated and reproduced in sectors between formal and informal economy, becomes crucial in an understanding of how emerging practices and subjectivities prove transformable, flexible, resilient and adaptive to processes that oscillate between control and deregulation of working relations. One example of such form of economy is the institution of informal (atypi) education, known well in Greece as frontistirio; a term referring to range of evening classes, schools and private institutions that offer outside state school education supportive and complementary tuition, foreign language qualifications, I/T expertise and any other knowledge qualification that could built up a competitive profile for future professionals in the job market. Given that the majority of the teaching workforce in this invisible-to-its-hypervisibility sector has typically been underpaid, short- contracted women, one question that I seek to discuss in this paper is the extent to which historic and cultural perceptions about the gendered ‘’nature’’ of certain professions are instrumental to the resilience this sector has exhibited during the crisis. Secondly, I examine the extent to which parallel processes such as the concentration of migrants in urban centres, technology and top- down economic restrictions have allowed incongruent adaptation and resilience for both constituting parts of this sector; female workers and employers. Based on anthropological fieldwork research supported by in depth interviews and within contemporary literature, I wish to discuss the resilience of invisible labour in invisible -but pervasive- sectors such as the frontistirio in crisis Greecein arguing that working relations in institutions of education have been neglected by critical debates, failing to acknowledge them as crucial politico-economic organisations.
Dimitra Georgiadou, (MA in Gender studies, Anthropology and Research Methods) is an ESRC- NEDTC scholar at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Durham. She is working towards a PhD thesis on the precariousness of female private tutors in Greece during the crisis and the political subjectivities emerging from the struggles within neoliberal crisis regimes. She is currently conducting her fieldwork research in private educational institutions in Greece.
Resilience of the city centre or an aggression towards the ‘other: fear and gentrification in Athens and the cinematic cityscape of Alexis Alexiou’s Tale 52
The paper discusses the vicious circles of gentrification of constant dislocations and relocations led by a need for safety and the generation of new fears. Gentrification, or its more recent manifestation as ‘urban renaissance’, is generated and promoted by the combinations of narratives, the social and material context of the city and a series of media texts, which affect the perception of urban space. The paper uses a parallel montage between the 2008 film Tale 52 and the discourse in media about the re-discovery of the city. As films express their time, the movie, which came out at the time of the recent financial crisis, provides a skeleton to discuss the competing forces over the Athenian centre: the need for security, the demand for an urban regeneration, the call for the creative class, the cosmopolitan view, the scapegoating and the exclusion of the ‘other’. As the financial crisis suspended various developments that promised a new ‘city centre’, the incomplete gentrification left a series of ‘terrified’ new residents, who start locking their doors. New residents arrive in the inner city and the discourse is about the revival of ‘forgotten’ neighbourhoods, but as these areas reappear in the real estate maps, there is an undesired interaction between the newly arrived middle and upper classes with the immigrants and lower classes that had found a refuge in the area. Is this call for reviving the city a centre a question of urban resilience, of another boom and bust cycle or just the imposing of a sub-urban way of life? What are the implications of the unavoidable encounters in the under gentrification areas?
Phevos Kallitsis is an Architect (National Technical University of Athens) and Senior Lecturer at the Portsmouth School of Architecture. His theoretical work focuses on the interconnections between Cinema and Urban Space, especially on Horror Films and the notion of fear in the cities. Furthermore, he has worked on issues of Gender and Sexuality on Urban Space. He is teaching architecture, interior design, professional practice and LGBT theories on urban space at the University of Portsmouth and NTUA. He worked as a freelance architect, on projects of different scales in various countries, as well as cinema editor and set designer, and has curated events, exploring the interconnections of Architecture, Urban Design and Cinema.
Solidarity in transition: The case of Greece.
The long summer of migration of 2015 caught the world by surprise, and that is even more so for the countries that have had to deal with it directly. This is particularly true for Greece, which -while facing the toughest economic depression of post-WWII European history- suddenly saw more than a million people entering its borders in 2015 and 2016 alone. In this paper, I argue that the Greek state was completely unprepared (and maybe even unwilling) to deal with the populations in transition, at least in the first stage and until the EU-Turkey agreement. Therefore it left the space open for grassroots solidarity initiatives to evolve and deal with the issue. Once the neighboring countries started closing their borders however and the EU-Turkey agreement was in place, the state a) reclaimed the “lost space,” b) tried to control the populations that were now in Greece to stay for an indefinite period of time and not just crossing through, and also c) tried to control solidarity by allowing only registered organizations to practice it (NGOs) “privatizing” it in a way. That fact has led the movements to change their strategies and repertoires of action, focusing now on actions directed towards the local public opinion, trying in such a way to force the state implement policies that they themselves were now unable (or unwilling) to enforce. The case of Greece (2015-2016) shows the dynamic transformations that occur in the relationship between social movements and the state, in the case of mobilizing around issues (like the refugee one) that are urgent and therefore cannot be the focus of a long -term strategy. In sum, I argue that the solidarity initiatives that evolved in Greece as a response to the refugee issue were -like the people fleeing the war and poverty they focused on- also “in transition”: temporal, spatial, and thematic; and that they were also heavily dependent on the EU’s and the government’s policies; a fact that has deprived them from forming a more comprehensive agenda regarding the issue.
Leonidas Oikonomakis holds a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute (EUI). He is a member of the Center on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS) of the Scuola Normale Superiore, he has taught at the Department of Sociology of the University of Crete and the Hellenic Open University, and currently holds a Postdoctoral Junior Research Fellowship at the Department of Anthropology, University of Durham. His research and teaching focuses on Latin American politics, social movements, autonomy, revolutions, electoral politics, and the commons. He is also a rapper with hip-hop formation Social Waste, and a member of the editorial collective of ROAR Magazine. He is the author of the forthcoming monograph Political Strategies and Social Movements in Latin America: The Zapatistas and the Bolivian cocaleros (Palgrave—Latin American Studies Series), and has published articles in international peer-reviewed journals and chapters in edited volumes on social movements in Latin America and Southern Europe.
An even Deeper Sea
In this presentation I will be elaborating on the relationship between the ‘hotspot approach’, the growth of EU liminal territory and the birth of the EU superstate. First, I unpack the hotspot mechanism and explain why so much more is at stake than the mere confinement and filtering practices taking place in the registration and identification facilities – the physical infrastructures on Greek frontline islands (hotspots). The hotspot approach is far more than the sum of all the hotspot parts: it is a decree, powerful in its vagueness, that is able to cut through and to thereby supersede national boundaries and pre-existing powers alike. This approach is a new border, one that is fit for a new time: an incubator and a testing ground for the tentative future relationship between individuals, territory and rights across Europe. The immaterial border separating entry from exit, work contract from unemployment, movement from stasis, does not concern those arriving in the dingy boats alone, not at all. It is a paradigm, a way of drawing lines dividing us, breaking us apart, subjecting us to abstract, abrupt and retractable orders. A new border that should―and does―concern us all.
Antonis Vradis is Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow and Lecturer, Department of Geography, Loughborough University. He is the Principal Investigator in three current/recent major research grants: NutriCities (British Academy); Transcapes (ESRC/DFID) and Police Science (RCH) as well as a Co-Investigator in PUrSI (ESRC Urban Transformations), Associate Editor at Political Geography and Senior Editor at CITY.
Patterns of nationalism: The impact of the Eurozone crisis on Greek parties’ policy agendas
The paper provides a detailed assessment of whether and how the Eurozone crisis affected parties’ policy positions and the dynamics of party competition at national elections in Greece. We expect that the policy proposals of parties have been affected by the Eurozone crisis in two important respects. Firstly, parties’ policy agendas have converged in response to the measures taken to address the crisis and due to the presence of new EU-derived constraints. Secondly, the rise of nationalism is not limited to radical parties but has taken place across the party system, indicating a change in the conflict structure. We argue that this new conflict structure is characterised by the greater presence of nationalist framing within parties’ agendas and, within that, distinctive ethnic and civic frames. We examine election manifestos and major speeches produced by Greek parties and their leaders from 2000 to 2015. We analyse these documents by using a framework for coding policy agendas derived from the Comparative Agendas Project (CAP).
Kyriaki Nanou is a Lecturer in European politics at the University of Nottingham. She previously held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence and a Fellowship in European Politics in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research interests include comparative politics, including elections and parties within Europe, European integration, Euroscepticism, Europeanisation and democratic deficit, quantitative and qualitative research methods, rational choice theory and political economy.
“We must to protect our children”: ‘Phobic’ parents resistance to ‘incompatible’ educational policies in Greece.
During 2015 and early 2018 there was a reformation on national educational policy in Greece. The most critical moments were the teaching of religion courses, the emphasis on gender issues on topic-week and the choice for the flag bearer in national day’s school parades. Strong conflicts opened about these three issues amongst parents. The whole case provided full strength statements by the representative of Orthodox Church in Greece and the Minister of Education ended by the replacement of the second. Greece suffers from extreme austerity measures for almost ten years, and strong affections where over the educational system upsetting the school life too. Insufficient building restorations, the notable reduced operational expenses and the lack of educational personnel are agonizing educational society. However, the majority of people expressed their reactions against the changes for the teaching of religion courses, gender lessons and the flag bearer arguing that they are incompatible for the Greek society. On the other hand a quantifiable percentage of moderate people, argued that Greece was unprepared for modifications on traditional national issues. One of the major arguments of the parents was that these new educational policies posed a threat to the “Greekness”. These ‘new trends’ have been opposite to traditional Greek family and they might have been risky for their children Greek culture. It is also important to note that in other schools parents welcomed the new trends making their approval of the new policies public and explicit. My paper focuses on examining the source of resilience to these three aspects of new educational policies and to analyse it in terms of socio-economic, educational and political criteria. Furthermore, my attempt is to highlight the dense network of contradictory visions of citizenship who challenge educational policies, and the resilient structures of nationalism that are located underneath these policies.
Mimina Pateraki holds a PhD in Anthropology of Dance from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Her research interest is on public culture, mainly cinema and dance performances, in contemporary urban contexts focusing on local rhetoric of people about national policies. She works on applied anthropology for social policy, social networks and local educational policies. She is a member of team work (Municipality of Korydallos -Greece) for funded European projects (URBACT, Erasmus +, Europe for Citizens). Recently, she has proposed research project which focuses on local reactions to refugee education in Greece exploring the politics of fear, xenophobia, but also tolerance of local communities towards refugees and to explain local attitudes and concerns.
Processes of everyday resilience and cultural citizenship through arts-based participatory research with individuals seeking asylum in the North East of England
This paper draws reflections from a visual ethnographic study engaging a total of seventy-five individuals seeking asylum in the North East of England, exploring processes of everyday resilience and negotiations of belonging and non-belonging. Invested in the recognition of resilience as a process that becomes actualized over time and in particular person-environment interactions, this paper examines how individuals negotiate and exemplify resilience on an everyday basis through the development of learned behaviours and coping strategies as means to reclaim control of their lives and imagined futures. In examining resilience as an on-going process, this paper seeks to critically reflect on the notion of resilience and suggest a departure from binary divisions of resilient/non-resilient in order to focus on the particularities and complexities of resilience as an active negotiation of one’s everyday lived experience. Finally, this paper will also present examples of visual narratives that enable informants to visually re-present and reinterpret their experiences while employing art as a tool of social critique, thereby accessing cultural citizenship.
Nelli Stavropoulou is a Leverhulme-funded doctoral scholar at Durham University’s Centre for Visual Arts and Culture (CVAC). She is currently completing her doctoral thesis which explores experiences of seeking asylum in the North East of England through an 18-month arts-based ethnographic study. Her research interests in participatory visual methods (Photovoice, digital storytelling and participatory video) and life stories, stems from her four-year experience as a creative producer and workshop facilitator allowing her to combine collaborative creative processes with Participatory Action Research (PAR) principles.
Guy D. Middleton:
Resilience in archaeology: From Mycenaean to later Greece
Resilience is a term that has, in recent years, come to prominence in archaeology – especially related to the concept of the collapse of past societies. Drawing from studies in ecology, archaeologists now consider how societies avoid collapse and how strands of culture and tradition, as well as population, survive collapse and how complex societies regenerate after collapse. Ecological resilience theorists suggest a cyclical model and some apply this to archaeology and history, though the utility of this is debated. The collapse of the Mycenaean palace societies of Late Bronze Age Greece is a clear case of archaeological collapse, yet while states collapsed and there were significant changes in material culture, there are also various indicators of resilience and continuity, especially at a popular rather than elite level, and in gender-specific roles. In this presentation, I will explore these ideas.
Guy D. Middleton is a Visiting Fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Newcastle University, UK. He has a longstanding interest in the archaeology of collapse, the Late Bronze Age Aegean and eastern Mediterranean, and the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age transition. His publications include ‘This is the end of the world as we know it: Narratives of collapse and transformation’ in A. Vogelaar, B. Hale, and A. Peat (eds.). The Discourses of Environmental Collapse (Routledge, 2018, 91-113), Understanding Collapse: Ancient History and Modern Myths (Cambridge University Press, 2017), and The Collapse of Palatial Society in Late Bronze Age Greece and the Postpalatial Period (Archaeopress, 2010).