Family strategies and social restructuring in historical perspective: the case of Greece
(Université Paris 8)
Paper short abstract:
This paper aims to explore the shifts in historically dominant family practices and strategies in Greece within the context of the current radical economic depression and deregulation.
Paper long abstract:
This paper aims to explore the shifts in historically dominant family practices and strategies in Greece within the context of the current radical economic depression and deregulation. Throughout the whole post-war period and mainly during the period of rapid urbanization and economic transformation in Greece, family and kinship networks constituted a locus of social norms, practices, strategies and solidarities which despite their contradictions not only served as a vehicle for subsistence but also as a mean for social reproduction and/or mobility. Thus, socially and geographically widespread family practices, such as pluriactivity, intergenerational housing strategies or expensive educational strategies within an otherwise 'free' education system played a structural role in the process of social transformation. Moreover, due to the late and residual development of the Greek welfare state, the "family moral" constituted the main mechanism for social welfare.
However, the severe economic crisis that hit the country since 2010 has put into question family's ability to develop long-term intergenerational practices and strategies. Neo-liberal counter-reform such as deep cuts in wages, extreme unemployment, labour market deregulation and public services retrenchment constitute a social environment where dominant social norms and practices can't fulfill their social role as individuals and their families are increasingly unable to follow the established forms of social reproduction and subsistence. Therefore, the reshaping of the way families cope with the crisis and the reconstruction of intergenerational strategies among the different social classes need further scrutiny as a revalorization of "grassroots" practices (i.e. revival of family farms) seem to emerge.
Linking the moral and the political economy in the European periphery