Silencing crisis: young people's way of engaging the Greek crisis in their everyday life
Marie Emilie Sørensen
Paper short abstract:
Based on resent fieldwork in Greece, this paper discusses how young people engage with crisis by silencing it, thereby allowing themselves to continue daily life as normal as possible, but at the same time preventing themselves from resisting effectively.
Paper long abstract:
This paper addresses a tendency among young Greeks to disengage from politics in the face of crisis. Even though there is profound anger and young people are especially impacted by austerity policies and structural adjustments, this does not lead to political resistance. Based on fieldwork among young people in a working class neighbourhood in Athens in spring 2014, this paper discusses how young people tended to engage with crisis and austerity policies by withdrawing from politics and denying crisis. With their working conditions getting still more precarious, I was surprised to see how little room the crises seemed to take up in their lives; they referred to crisis with ironic comments doubting its reality and kept telling each other how normal things were. According to them life continued as always with people shopping and filling the cafes. Crisis was felt, but they tended to ignore it, accentuating aspects of normality, and in the paper I analyse this as a practise of silencing the crisis. Young people were fare from contend, and anger against the political system was widespread, but any action was considered futile and instead they withdrew. This paper therefore argues that silencing crisis is a way of coping with a situation considered impossible to change. It allows young people to continue their daily life as normal as possible, but it does nothing to alter the condition of material insecurity or resist the policies of crisis.