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Introduction 197 Copyright © 2010 Mediterranean Institute, University of Malta. INTRODUCTION EUGENIA GEORGES, CHRISY MOUTSATSOS & BRIAN RIEDEL (Rice University) (Iowa State University) (Rice University) Nearly two decades have elapsed since the publication of Loizos’ and Papataxiarchis’ Contested Identities: Gender and Kinship in Modern Greece, the last major collection in English to attempt to synthesize the state of ethnographic knowledge concerning gender, kinship and sexuality in Greece (1991). In that time, broad social and economic processes such as the intensification of globalization, deepening integration into the European Union and the cultural politics of ‘Europeanization’, ongoing urbanization, the emergence of a new consumerist society, unprecedented immigration, and new transnational social movements have all helped transform the discourses and practices on several ethnographic topics, and particularly on sexuality and gender in Greece. At the same time, and in no small measure as a consequence of these broader transformations, new theoretical and methodological approaches have appeared and become established within anthropology and other social sciences to further examine these emergent discourses and practices. Appropriately enough, these new studies are now most often situated in major cities or large towns, settings previously novel to the ethnographic enterprise in Greece as it had taken shape from the early 1960s through the late 1980s. Over this same period of time, as anthropology became firmly established as an academic discipline in Greece, Greek anthropologists turned their analytical attention to this changed ethnographic landscape. Major edited volumes bringing together this scholarship have since appeared in French, in a 2005 special issue of Ethnologie Francaise devoted to Greece, and in 2006, in Greek, in a volume edited by Evthymios Papataxiarchis, entitled Adventures of Alterity: The Production of Cultural Difference in Modern Greece. Michael Herzfeld’s recent lengthy review (2009) of the latter has helpfully provided detailed synopses of the volume’s articles in English. In this special issue of the Journal of Mediterranean Studies, which began as a panel organized by Eugenia Georges and Chrisy Moutsatsos for the December 2007 American Anthropological Association in Washington D.C., we bring together the recent work of North American scholars and that of several of the Greek anthropologists Journal of Mediterranean Studies, 2010 ISSN: 1016-3476 Vol. 18, No. 2: 197–212 198 Nia Georges, Chrisy Moutsatsos & Brian Riedel who contributed to the above two volumes. In doing so, it is our goal to give the English-speaking reader a sense of the sustained reconsideration that has taken place both inside and outside of Greece with respect to some of the foundational themes addressed in Contested Identities, such as kinship, gender, motherhood, domesticity, and normative sexuality. Against the profound reconfigurations of the contemporary moment, we consider these themes as we examine how normative and non-normative gender and sexuality shape and are reshaped by gentrification of urban spaces, the restructuring of the global economy, the rise of consumerism, neoliberal notions of entrepreneurship and professionalism, Europeanization, and the circulation of expert scientific discourses on social roles. In revisiting these themes at this juncture, this collection of articles and the participating authors contribute to the ethnographic study of Greece in multiple ways. First, they show that what have long been considered the ‘core’ themes in Greek ethnography—kinship and family—are still very relevant for the study of gender, sexuality and cultural change in Greece. At the same time, the contributors to this issue also show that these themes are far from static ahistorical structures. Rather, they are dynamic configurations that are continually reconstituted through new power relations and historical contingencies, and must therefore be readdressed and retheorized as such. Second, these articles bring the category of class to the forefront of the ethnographic record of modern Greece. That this had not frequently been done in concert with analyses of cultural constructions of gender and sexuality may have been due, in part, to the almost exclusively rural focus of Greek ethnography through the 1980s, some of the implications of which have been perceptively analyzed by Roger Just (1994). Additionally, class categories in Greece did not necessarily develop as a consequence of industrialization and the transformation of peasants into proletarians and thus do not fit neatly into conventional understandings of class structure. In casting the ethnographic net across historical...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2523-9465
Print ISSN
1016-3476
Pages
pp. 197-211
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-11
Open Access
No
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