Accepted paper:

Nationalism on the rocks: morality, sympathy and the other in the context of the Greek economic crisis


Elisabeth Kirtsoglou (Durham University)

Paper short abstract:

The present paper re-examines the effects of nationalism on perceptions of time, history and morality supporting the idea that nationalism needs to be problematised as an institution of modernity, in close connection to questions of power and legitimacy.

Paper long abstract:

This paper wishes to explore how the economic cum humanitarian crisis that hit the Greek people operated as a context and as a field for the rise of extremism in Greece. In the context of recent political developments I wish to re-examine the effects of nationalism on the perception of history, time and morality and to contextualise local nationalism in wider historical and political processes. Xenophobic and extreme right wing discourses find great support in the familiar idea of the 'enemy within', which has been an instrumental concept in Cold War politics. Within the context of hegemonic nationalist discourses the non-national 'Other' can be cast outside the realm of sympathy and by consequence outside the realm of democracy and equal rights. At the same time however, it can be ethnographically substantiated that it is precisely 'sympathy' as recognition that comes in defence of the 'humanity of the Other', a perception of humanity that could eventually transcend nationalist positionalities.

panel P26
Nationalism, democracy and morality: a historical and anthropological approach to the role of moral sentiments in contemporary politics