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  • Το έθνος πέρα των συνόρων: «Ομογενειακές» πολιτικές του ελληνικού κράτους ed. by Lina Ventoura and Lambros Baltsiotis
  • Alexander Kitroeff (bio)
Lina Ventoura and Lambros Baltsiotis (Λίνα Βεντούρα και Λάμπρος Μπαλτσιώτης), editors, Το έθνος πέρα των συνόρων: «Ομογενειακές» πολιτικές του ελληνικού κράτους. Athens: Vivliorama. 2013. Pp. 510. Paper €26.

This is a volume of well-researched essays with an ambitious agenda: covering the Greek state’s policies towards Greek populations beyond its borders from the nineteenth century through the present. An introduction by Lina Ventoura, who specializes in Greece’s relations with its diaspora, and Lambros Baltsiotis, who studies minorities in Greece, nicely summarizes the issues and is followed by seventeen contributions divided into four sections, three of which are chronological and one that is thematically focused. The essays treat Greece’s relations with its diaspora within the framework of [End Page 214] studies focusing on the increased role of so-called sending states. Once known simply as homelands—or in the case of North America as the Old World—the countries of origin and their outreach have gained a new significance thanks to the new transnational approach to the study of the experiences of immigrants.

In the case of Greece, there have been several studies of homeland-diaspora relations. Yet, as this volume demonstrates, the recent emphasis on transnationalism and diaspora studies has reinvigorated this particular field of studies. The editors deliberately replace the term diaspora with omogeneís (the difficult to -translate Greek term for those belonging to the same nation) because they wish to delineate two categories: (1) the Greek populations within the Ottoman Empire, as well as (2) Greeks who emigrated from Greece and the Ottoman lands to other places. This results in making this book less accessible to non-Greek speakers, who otherwise would be intrigued by migration and ethnic identity (that is, by what I would summarize as diaspora studies). The essays that it contains are essentially case studies which span the varied geographical locations of Greek diaspora settlements abroad over a period that stretches for more than two centuries and ends in the present.

The first section includes essays on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and opens with a general review by Christos Papachristopoulos of how the Greek constitutions addressed the status of Greeks outside the state’s borders and an assessment by Lina Louvi of the relations between the state and Greek entrepreneurs abroad. These are followed by four studies of the Greeks in the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire. Elias Skoulidas writes about the Greek consuls in Ottoman-controlled Albania and Epirus, Maria Kotzampasi examines Greek communities in Bulgaria, Vasilis Koutsikos focuses on Greeks in French-controlled and former Bulgarian Thrace in 1919–1920, while Lena Korma deals with the issue of policies established by both sending and receiving countries towards Greek refugees from Asia Minor who settled in France. Through well-researched case studies, Korma highlights a pattern of staggering bureaucratic hostility on the part of the Greek state that is reflected as well in most of the other essays in this section.

The second section has a thematic focus on the state, associations, and the Greek Orthodox Church. Despina Papadopoulou explores Greek policy towards the Greek communities in Paris and Marseilles during the nineteenth century, Yannis Papadopoulos does the same in the case of the Greeks in the United States in the early twentieth century, and Katerina Trimi-Kyrou addresses Greek policies and their impact on the Greek schools of communities in Egypt.

The third section then covers the Cold War era. Angelos Dalachanis examines Greece’s policies towards the Greeks in Egypt during 1945–1956, the final phase of their long presence in that country. Lina Ventoura continues her string of valuable contributions on the relations between the Greek diaspora and the homeland by delving into the ways in which Greece shifted its focus from the Greeks in the Eastern Mediterranean as a symbol of Greek hegemony in the area to the Greeks in the United States as an avatar affirming its Western orientation in the post-World War II period. The next essay by Elpida Vogli is closely related to Ventoura’s, as it assesses the ways in which Greece implemented its declaration of 1951 as the “Year of the Greek Immigrant”—essentially a ploy to attract Greek-Americans to...


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