Violent and Non-Violent Logics in Contemporary Greek Protests

Monday, July 14, 2014: 11:10 AM
Room: 411
Oral Presentation
Carolin PHILIPP , University of Kassel, Athens, Germany

The research is focussed on crisis ridden Athens as radicalisation becomes accentuated during economic and political turmoil.

I will analyse radical views of political activists based on 19 ethnographic interviews conducted with the creators of alternative urban spaces: migrants, anti-nationalists, anarchists, neighbourhood activists, and radical leftists.

From the data discursive strands will be extracted about perceptions of state, society and the extreme right, constructions of oppositions, and refelctions on violence performed by themselves and others.


In the centre of Athens the consequences of increasing cleavages and precarisation by the 'Euro-Crisis' are drastic: intensified unemployment, bankruptcy, and impoverishment. At the same time, the metropolis has developed into a hubfor migrants and refugees from Eastern European, African, and Asian countries. These two phenomena have turned Athens into a space in-between the Global North and South.

Athens resembles a militarised zone (Kurtovik 2013). The government is perceived as EU-dependent by most citizens, and chooses to demonstrate its strength by demarcating different groups as 'deviants' (Dalakoglou 2013: 30). Radical left and anarchists, as well as migrants and refugees, are constructed by the ruling parties as threats (Zenakos 2013): for public security (Philipp 2013), or as dangerous 'hygienic bombs' for national health (Parsanoglou 2012). Newly-deployed and heavily-armed police forces are ordered to fight the 'undesired' objects. The increased establishment of far right discourses and neo-nazi-activism support this development (Philipp 2012).

The atmosphere of austerity and oppression has deeply influenced alternative activism of this two groups: methods of protest become more extreme, constellations of alliances alter, and clashes between different forces intensify.


My presentation shortly outlines relevant historical circumstances before turning to of the activists' discourses themselves.

With its extensive ethnographic material, my research contributes to fill the desideratum (Andronikidou & Kouvras 2012) of empirical in-depth analysis of contemporary contention in Europe.