(Extra)ordinary Temporalizations: Heroic Endurance, Retro-Futurism, and Failing Forward in the Greek Economic Crisis
Temporality is a key concept of social and cultural science for understanding subjectivity and normative orders in contemporary society. Various literary articles on economic crises reveal the combination of temporal structuration and productive regimes. The article argues that temporality as a concept needs to be challenged by questioning how concepts like “crisis” implicitly or explicitly temporalize, often masking how interlocutors structure and approach time as an object of knowledge in certain configurations of social reproduction. The article analyses three modalities of temporalizations in the Greek economic crisis: heroic endurance, a way to make it into the near future by surviving the present; retro-futurism, an attempt to return to a pre-past in which progressive futures still seemed possible; and failing forward, prefigurative action in the present to effect another kind of future. All three derive from the author's fieldwork in Volos, Greece. All three modalities analyse political orientations and when, how, and who is addressed to deal with (extra) ordinary times. Finally, the article proposes understanding temporalization as a localized practice of creating order, specifically during capitalist crises.
Since 1918, when officially established, the Museum of Modern Greek Culture (MMGC), the central national ethnographic museum of Greece, has been several times re-named and has adapted its collecting and exhibit policies, reflecting historical and social changes. The fast-evolving 21st century marks a turning point to the centennial presence of the Museum: a significant renewal is set up, comprising new premises, and above all new museological conceptions, stretching the importance to the social function of the exhibited artefacts and attempting to integrate interdisciplinarity in its interpretational methodology. One of the prominent stakes for the MMGC is to bridge the notions of cultural heritage – both tangible and intangible – and living culture, with the largest vivid and multiple community implication. As museum-based ethnologist, I aim to enlighten the MMGC cultural institution, guiding through its past and exploring the labyrinth of the future.
The Island as Border Region and Sphere of Possibility: Crete in the Political Imagination of the Mediterranean
Revisiting my fieldwork on and beyond Crete, I argue that islands in the Mediterranean (but not only there) are political laboratories dedicated to the boundary work of borders and identities. Conflicting perceptions of belonging as well as intersecting maritime, transnational and transcontinental mobilities and relations intervene in diverse hegemonic narratives of national and European unity. The article argues that “thinking with islands” is a helpful perspective in order to productively decentralize and “migrantize” static geopolitical geographies.
The Politics of Fragile Knowledge Structures: Donald Trump and the Problem of Reality
Taking the controversy over the weather and audience size during Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president as a starting point, the article firstly examines how Trump’s rhetorical and communicative practices affect what sociologists call “lifeworld” or “common sense” and why this, secondly, poses a threat to a liberal understanding of democracy. In consideration of this, I present and discuss the respective concepts of common sense formulated by Alfred Schütz, Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, Harold Garfinkel as well as Jürgen Habermas. According to Habermas, the dangers presented by Trump’s rhetoric to a liberal understanding of democracy become apparent, but it remains open as to why it works so well, nevertheless. To answer this question, I combine aspects of the above-mentioned approaches with more recent social diagnoses of the structural change of modernity.
By using the term refiguration, we aim to make a distinct contribution to explaining the fragility of contemporary social orders. Further to observing mere fragility, refiguration denotes a process of restructuring, which results from the tension between two or more figurations. Refiguration implies a certain fragility (which is the subject of this yearbook), because it describes the tension between different figurations. However, refiguration goes beyond this tension and describes the change arising from the tension. Following an introductory classification of the concept, the concept of figuration will therefore be outlined in more detail. Reference will initially be made to Elias, who developed the concept. We will also cite its more recent applications as “communicative figurations” though, which allow the dramatic changes in the wake of present-day digitalization to be identified. This certainly contributes to an increase in tension that already existed earlier. In western societies, this tension can be observed in the most varied polarizations, such as those between modern and late modern or postmodern societies. They can be most clearly seen in the spatial principles of territorial (for example, national) boundaries and the translocal (for instance, global) removal of boundaries, so that refiguration increasingly replaces what was considered to be the inexorable process of globalisation.
A Divided Capital in Europe: Cultural Anthropological Perspectives on the Cyprus Conflict
To this day, the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, is a divided city. Its historic core is dissected from West to East by a demarcation line, initially drawn by the British colonial authorities to curb hostilities between Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the 1950s. This so-called Green Line became completely impassable after the 1974 Turkish invasion and the de-facto partition of the entire island. Is the division of Cyprus evidence of long-standing enmity between ethnic groups? The popular reading of the Cyprus problem as an ethnic conflict is questioned and ultimately refuted in this article. Focusing on the old town of Nicosia, the author presents her research findings on art events, civil society projects of confidence building and conflict resolution, heritage preservation and urban renewal programs that seek to overcome the divide.
This article uses displacement as an analytic lens for examining the Cypriot citizenship regime. It seeks to explain how the governance of migration, minorities, and the refugee existence stem from the politics of citizenship. The article first reviews the formation of migrant, minority, and refugee communities on the island and then discusses how minority groups have been governed since independence. It then reviews the displacements induced by the Cyprus conflict and similarly discusses the policies relating to the protection of refugees over the last two decades. From this basis, the article proceeds to analyse the governance of migrant, minority, and refugee groups within the citizenship regime from the perspectives of law and practice, concluding with policy suggestions.
Doing ethnography within the area of globalization often presents challenges for both ethnographic methods as well as ethnographic writing. For years, the dominant division between quantitative hard data and qualitative soft data has shaped ethnographic empiricism and realism. Today, however, interconnectedness and technological mediation call for combined or even innovative methods of ethnographic ‘doing’ and ‘writing’. My paper will discuss the issue of multimodality and how it can contribute in grasping the challenges of the interconnectedness of our world. In particular, I will explore how multimodality can refresh Anthropology of Greece as a regional field by postulating different histories interrelationships and also new forms of representation though data visualisation combined with more traditional ethnographic methods.
Order, Fragility, Politics: Cultural Anthropological Considerations
This article deals with the terms order, fragility and politics. From a cultural anthropological perspective, the text conceptualizes these terms as analytically linked visualization instruments. Here, the aim is not to develop a hermetically closed system, but to moot open conceptual tools, which are to be substantiated in case-specific analyses. Initially, the article develops a concept of order which makes it possible to take a closer look at the – unquestionably self-evident – orders of everyday life. In a second step, the question of how the constitutive fragility of these everyday orders can be conceptualized is examined. The third part of the article finally turns to the political dimension of everyday culture: To what extent can everyday actions be interpreted as a contribution to the “art of living together”, and therefore as political practice?