Accepted Paper:

Building castles in the sky: planning the future during austerity   


Ilektra Kyriazidou (University of Kent)

Paper short abstract:

Under a regime of austerity and cultivated uncertainty young adults in Thessaloniki, Greece, find it difficult to plan an "independent future" and are forced to cope with limited choices for living arrangements.

Paper long abstract:

Ethnography and autoethography blend in this paper in an attempt to narrate living arrangements that emerge in the Greek "crisis zone". Focusing on the realities of young adults that live amidst economic hardship in Thessaloniki, and on numerous accounts of household survival, it appears that household structures often disintegrate into "house of cards". Stability gets interrupted abruptly by unemployment and dominant precarious labour regimes, and balance shifts between care and mistrust, while often support by family, friends, institutional and grassroots aid schemes act as external strength. As it becomes impossible for young adults to cover rent and all the more achieve home ownership in face of precarity, they have no choice but to experience hospitality and/or to return to parental households and discover the perils and pleasures of intergenerational living. Merging indebted households and combining resources, as a strategy for securing survival, nurtures kindness and sharing, but also at times knits household reality with tensions and conflicts. While household members negotiate life in debt and deal with economic insecurity, everyday practices of 'getting by' engender moral claims negotiated through shifting gender idioms and cultural values.

Panel P035
Home loss: house-ownership and credit in the austerity regime