Accepted Paper:

Pathways of anthropology in South Eastern Europe: an ethnographic approach of the discipline and its disciples in Bulgaria and Greece   


Aliki Angelidou (Panteion University)

Paper short abstract:

Our presentation deals with the history of the discipline of anthropology in two South Eastern European countries. More specifically, it investigates the development of empirical social science and theory in Bulgaria and Greece during the last century throughout a double methodological perspective: a) an ethnographic study of academic and research institutions and texts, and b) an oral history dealing with the accounts of the social actors that played an active role to the organization of the discipline in these two countries. It explores comparatively what seems to be “particular” for each national scientific tradition, demonstrating the parallel trajectories of the discipline in the two neighbour countries, which have been attached to different academic paradigms over the last 50 years.

Paper long abstract:

In both Greece and Bulgaria, the development of social sciences in general and of social anthropology in particular, until very recently has been studied only at a national level. These approaches placed much emphasis on the comparison with the theoretical and methodological fields developed in "Western" countries or the Soviet Union respectively, attempting to catch up the discrepancies between the domestic practices and the western or soviet "models". Transforming the scope of this inquiry in comparative perspective between the countries of SEE could be an interesting project, as it shows that what seems to be "particular" to one or another national scientific tradition are similar phenomena, due to common social and historical frameworks. In search for the commonalities and differences between the Greek and Bulgarian theoretical schemes and research practices, we come accross of the strong influence of history and folklore in both academic traditions at the end of the19th and the first half of the 20th century, the beginning of empirical studies in SEE in the interwar period, the breaking up of contacts and exchanges between "eastern" and "western" scholars due to the Cold War, as well as the reconfigurations of the academic field after the fall of socialism in the early 1990s, when anthropology becomes more institutionalized in the academia and is (well) established in both Bulgarian and Greek universities.

Panel W095
East looks West and West looks East - mutual constructions of anthropology