Accepted paper:

On the moral economy of European integration: debt and obligation among Greek technocrats


Dimitrios Gkintidis (Princeton University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to underline the moral premises on which pro-EU and pro-austerity discourses currently addressed by Greek technocrats to the national audience are structured.

Paper long abstract:

The recent economic crisis in Greece has entailed a series of discussions in the Greek public sphere regarding the past and the future of Greece's position within the European Union (EU). The discourse of those who advocate the implementation of neoliberal reforms has been largely structured around the deemed necessity to meet the EU's demands and avoid a potential Greek exit from the eurozone or even the EU. Networks of Greek technocrats who had mediated the project of European Integration in Greece over the last 30 years stand, among others, as public supporters of these neoliberal reforms. Their analyses of political economy or European politics have been largely paired with moral readings of past Greek-EU relations and essentialist representations of a morally ambivalent Greek society. Their insistence on reminding the Greek audience of the large amounts of developmental EU funds that had been channeled to Greece for the previous 25 years is telling of a particular moral experience of Greek-EU relations in the terms of "european solidarity", gifts and ensuing obligations. Based on ethnographic and textual material, this paper will attempt to retrace the moral genealogy of this particular strand of pro-neoliberal discourse in Greece. It aims to point out that these social agents have in fact assumed the role of mediating and reproducing particular representations of social obligation, indicative of their own experience and interests in the moral economy of European Integration.

panel P65
Linking the moral and the political economy in the European periphery