Accepted paper:

Familial citizens: from the public to the domestic (and all the way back)


Elisabeth Kirtsoglou (Durham University)

Paper short abstract:

Familial Citizens questions the limits, meaning and political function of the domestic and the public in crisis-ridden Greece.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores critically the role of the family in the context of the Greek 'crisis'. As kin relations become means of coping with the crisis, thereby decompressing public dissatisfaction with the role of the State and political elites, the family offers itself once again as a familiar metaphor of citizenship. A closer examination of personal stories and narratives however, reveals that local actors present a tendency to separate the nation from the state, embracing the former as they negate, deconstruct and mistrust the latter. The nation comes to personify the domestic, the familiar and the familial, while the State becomes associated, not with the public, but with the foreign, the alien, the hostile and the treacherous. In this context, family becomes the locus of the 'politics of the poor' and of their 'micro-politics' of resistance. Kin groups, but also the-nation-as-family (fellow Greeks) conspire against the state, exhibiting an anthropologically familiar collective ethos of 'self-interest', that might be fiscally perilous for the state, but helps families (and by extension 'the nation') to survive the critical times of austerity. Familial Citizens is a paper that moves between the domestic and the public questioning not only their distinction but their very meaning and political function in the cultural context of crisis-ridden Greece.

panel P36
Engagement and disengagement in crisis: anthropology as a mutualist concern