Accepted Paper:

Prince Peter and the Attempt to Establish a National School of Anthropology in Greece  
Michael Harkin (University of Wyoming)Elly-Maria Papamichael

Paper short abstract:

Prince Peter, member of the Greek royal family, and ardent anti-fascist, received the Ph.D. from the LSE. He attempted to establish anthropology in Greece as a means of ensuring a democratic, multi-cultural society. Although unsuccessful, he pointed the way for future Greek anthropologists.

Paper long abstract:

Prince Peter of Greece was among the first generation of Greek anthropologists. Peter studied at the LSE under Malinowski and Firth, receiving the PhD in 1959 after two decades of study. Peter, an ardent anti-fascist, fought the Nazis as a soldier in the Greek army. His anti-fascist beliefs were intertwined with his practice of anthropology. He believed that anthropology provided the basis for a modern, liberal, democratic society. To that end he delivered a series of lectures in Greece in the early 1960s on "the science of anthropology." In these lectures, Peter sets out both an agenda for a Greek school of anthropology and a vision of Greece as a multi-cultural democratic society, only a few years before the junta would show the world a much different face. In fact, among the first actions of the junta would be to ransack the Greek Institute for Social Science, which contained a substantial archive.

Although unsuccessful in permanently establishing anthropology in Greece, Peter nonetheless planted the seed for what would develop into a national school of anthropology, strongly influenced by Anglo-Saxon anthropology. It is questionable whether this development itself led to the guarantee of liberal democracy that Peter had envisioned; however, the idea of free inquiry into social and cultural matters was opposed to the fascist concept of the state as an extended authoritarian family. In the end, Peter is a tragic figure, but one who argued strenuously for the centrality of anthropology to liberal society

Panel P048
'Peripheral' anthropologies of Europe. Their histories and intellectual genealogies [Europeanist network]