Accepted Paper:

Images of Europe and of (Ancient) Greece: ideas of originality and aboriginality in the West  

Author:

Eleni Papagaroufali (Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

Greece is seen as the locus of European 'aboriginality' rather than of modern 'originality'. Contemporary Greeks try to subvert this uneven relationship by projecting ancient Greek colonies in Europe (Italy, France, Spain) as a 'model for the European Union's development'.

Paper long abstract:

Greece, more than any other country, has been revered as the ancestor of Europe. At the same time, however, even the most fervent admirers of Classical culture, whose political support was decisive to the establishment of an independent Greek state in the early 19th century, saw Greece as the locus of European "aboriginality" rather than as an integral part of modern European "originality" (Herzfeld 1987). As a consequence, Greeks' aspiration for recognition as a modern (i.e. free of 'oriental' flaws) European nation has always clashed with European claims of Greek Otherness.

This paper investigates the ways in which contemporary Greeks, in their capacity as members of the European Union, try to subvert this uneven relationship: under the pretext of "town twinning", they return to former ancient Greek colonies in Europe (e.g. Marseille/France, Emporio/Spain, Magna Grecia/Italy), reclaim their ancestral relations with the locals, and project their ancestors' (colonial) gonernmentality as a "model for the European Union's development"! It is argued that such practices reproduce rather than eliminate the European (colonialist) tradition of dividing the world into originals and aboriginals.

Panel W064
The idea and the image of Europe in the world