Accepted paper:

Solidarity and the gift taboo: volunteers approaching refugees in Greece

Authors:

Katerina Rozakou (Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

The paper focuses on the practices of volunteers who approach refugees in Athens. In particular it explores the gift taboo and its cultural and political significance for the volunteers involved in sociality with refugees.

Paper long abstract:

The paper is based on fieldwork that was carried out before the outbreak of the crisis in Greece. It focuses on the practices of volunteers who approach refugees in Athens. "Allilegii" (solidarity) is the key notion around which these volunteers define their practices. Moreover, "allilegii" is a highly politicized and culturally vital concept that refers not only to relationships with the "other" but also with and, towards, the state. More than the provision of assistance, the volunteers' aim is to engage with the "other" in relationships based on equality. Giving material objects (clothes, blankets, money etc) as well as immaterial services (escorts to hospitals and NGO offices) is considered a barrier to the equality prospect. My paper aims to address the gift taboo and decode its cultural and political significance for the volunteers involved in sociality with refugees. Drawing upon the anthropological discussion on the gift, as well as a rich body of Greek ethnography, the paper will address the gift taboo vis-à-vis the constitution of sociality on the basis of solidarity.

panel P01
Enlightenment's third pillar: solidarity and solidarity economies