Greeks' aspirations to normalcy in the midst of the 'crisis'
Eleni Papagaroufali (Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences)
Paper short abstract:
Greeks, though afflicted by the austerity measures imposed by the EU and other supra-national bodies, seek refuge in a plethora of transnational projects that promise daily normalcy through the acquisition of new skills in ICTs, in entrepreneurship, and in consensus building.
Paper long abstract:
The financial crisis in Greece has caused extensive conflict events in the Athenian streets, and a lot of dissatisfaction, infuriation and uncertainty among Greek citizens. The media focus on protesters' fights with the policemen has not only turned these events into the metonymy of Greece 'in crisis', but also has occluded a simultaneous and more important dimension of dissatisfied citizen's ordinary lives: thousands of hundreds of Greek men and women of all ages (including pupils from kindergarten to high school) participate enthusiastically in a plethora of educational and other projects promoted by the European Union, in collaboration with affiliated organizations (UN, World Bank, OECD), and the Greek government. Given that such projects have unexpectedly become part and parcel of what is considered 'normalcy' in contemporary Greece, I will present one of the many thousands of hundreds face-to-face "twinnings" between Greek and foreign towns, and one electronic twinning between Greek and European schools. Through these "civilizing" projects, the "international community" aims at both producing and managing "global infrastructures" and a "common opinion" favorable to discourses of entrepreneurial autonomy and flexibility accompanied by individual responsibility and accountability. I will show how Greeks, although afflicted by the austerity measures imposed by the above mentioned supra-national bodies, seek refuge in the latter's promises of intimacy and normalcy supposedly ensured through the acquisition of new skills in ICTs by all, the apprenticeship in consensus building and the cultivation of the entrepreneurial-managerial ethos.
On the margins of history: keeping a step aside of crisis