Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol 27, No 1 (2014)

Archaeology and the Making of Improper Citizens in Modern Greece

Hamish Forbes
Issued Date: 6 Jun 2014


This study integrates the dominant archaeological discourse concerning use of the Classical past in defining national identity in Greece with a strand of ethnographic research on Greece’s officially unacknowledged minorities that has not found its way into the archaeological literature on Greece. The first part discusses how the Greek state has tried to deny the existence of ethnic alterities within its boundaries, often punishing those who insist on advertising their non-Greek origins. One of the ways in which Hellenisation has been forced on these groups is via an insistence that ‘true’ Greeks’ origins lie in a Classical past. Those whose origins lie elsewhere have been effectively marginalised. The second part of the study focuses on the Greek-Albanian (Arvanitis) minority. As a case study, two Arvanitic groups are compared, one Peloponnesian and one Boeotian. Boeotian Arvanites have no monumental symbolic capital as a usable past employable within the wider national(istic) discourse. In contrast, the Peloponnesian group has a monument linking them to an alternative (non- Classical) past which they use to advertise their right to be considered ‘proper’ Greek citizens.

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DOI: 10.1558/jmea.v27i1.79


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