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Heirs of the Greek Catastrophe
The Social Life of Asia Minor Refugees in Piraeus
324 pages, 1 map, 16 photos, 6 figs, 3 tables, bibliog, appendices, index
ISBN 978-1-57181-730-3 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (August 1998)
"... elegantly written and intellectually coherent ... a marvellous study." · Anthropological Quarterly
"By stimulating new debates on important theoretical issues, the book makes essential reading for anyone with an interest in Mediterranean Europe." · JASO
"This well-crafted volume provides ... indispensable reading for students of ethnicity in general,and modern Greek society in particular." · International Migration Review
"... a welcome innovation: it opens up the field of urban anthropology, while at the same time it remains within the best tradition of anthropology monographs." · Modern Greek Studies Yearbook
The war between Greece and Turkey ended in 1922 in what Greeks call the Asia Minor catastrophe, a disaster greater than the fall of Constantinople in 1453, for it marked the end of Hellenism in the ancient heartland of Asia Minor. In 1923 the Treaty of Lausanne ratified the compulsory exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey, involving the movement of some 1.5 million persons. Well over one million Greek refugees entered the Greek state in two years, increasing its population by about a quarter. Given the far-reaching consequences for both Greece and Turkey, surprisingly few studies exist of the numerous people so drastically affected by this uprooting. Over half a century later a large section of the urban refugee population in Greece still claimed a separate Asia Minor identity, despite sharing with other Greeks a common culture, religion, and language.
Based on the author's long-term fieldwork, this ethnography of Kokkinia - an urban quarter in Piraeus - reveals how its inhabitants' sense of separate identity was constructed, an aspect of continuity with their well-defined identity as an Orthodox Christian minority in the Ottoman Empire. This rare study of an urban refugee group fifty years after settlement provides new insights into the phenomenon of ethnicity both structural and cultural. In detailed analysis of values, symbolic dimensions, and of social organization the book illustrates the strength and efficacy of cultural values in transcending material deprivation.
The reprint of this study in paperback is particularly timely, marking as it does the 75th anniversary of this major event in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Renée Hirschon was educated at the universities of Cape Town, Chicago and Oxford. Intensive fieldwork among the Asia Minor refugees settled in Piraeus resulted in the monograph "Heirs of the Greek Catastrophe". She has been Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, and Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of the Aegean. She is currently Senior Research Fellow at St Peter's College University of Oxford, Senior Member at St Antony's College University of Oxford and Research Associate at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford.
Subject: Refugee and Migration StudiesAnthropology (General)
Area: Southern Europe
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