Symβiosis aims to provide resources, commentaries and analysis, on political, social and cultural ideas and developments affecting change and policy, original and creative, based on arguments, able to propose and debate solutions to critical issues, maintaining a broad intellectual scope and global reach that readers need to understand the choices shaping lives, and reflecting on Greece, the Balkans, Europe and the world.




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Migrants and (In)tolerant Discourses in Greek politics

Date added: 07/31/2012
Date modified: 07/31/2012
Filesize: 712.22 kB
Downloads: 1102

Hara Kouki and Anna Triandafyllidou

During the last 20 years the country has been rapidly transformed from a migrant sending to a migrant receiving country and currently about 0.8 million of its 11 million population is of foreign origin. Moreover, during the last three years Greece has been faced with a European and international migration crisis: while increasing numbers of people are fleeing war and poverty from Asia and Africa, the Greek Turkish border has become the main gate to Europe. The onset of the current financial crisis in early 2010 has deteriorated the situation. Unemployment grew dramatically among long term settled immigrants and working class natives. There has been an important increase in the crime rate and a generalized sense of insecurity in the centre of the capital of the country, while adding to this, extreme right wing groups have taken the situation 'in their hands'. Departing from images and incidents taking place in the centre of Athens, an all the more xenophobic discourse started spreading and dominating the way public opinion interprets the 'other' living in the city. Large parts of society appear as prone to morally accept incidents of racist violence and hate speech.
Central to this change has been the unprecedented rise of far right parties, actions and discourse in the public sphere. LAOS (The People's Orthodox Rally), is considered to be an extreme right wing formation that won 5.63% of the vote in 2009 national elections and 7.14% for the elections for the European Parliament. LAOS has participated in the provisional grand coalition government formed to deal with the crisis (from November 2011 till February 2012) thus further legitimising its position in the Greek political system. Golden Dawn, on the other hand, is a nationalist far right organization, whose members have been repeatedly accused of carrying out acts of violence and hate crimes against immigrants, political opponents and ethnic minorities. Golden Dawn, with a clear racist and Nazi political position, operates in certain 'troubled' urban areas in terms of 'field work' and establishes a state within a state offering security to local residents. This radical organization won a sit in municipal elections in the city of Athens (5.3%) and entered the parliament in 2012 national elections getting an 6,97% of the national vote.
This re-composition of the extreme right in the country runs in parallel with a conservative unfolding of Greek identity and a generalized political crisis unfolding in the 1990s, since when sensitive issues of national identity have re emerged and national particularities surfaced as the opposite pole to reform and globalization. Such a tendency appears severely intensified during the current crisis. However, the relationship and dynamics between the extreme right discourse and mainstream public opinion, party and official state discourse in Greece has not been thoroughly studied.
This study explores the recent discourses on diversity and tolerance in Greek political life. It investigates what has been defined by different political actors as intolerable, tolerable or acceptable cultural difference – hence it questions what intolerance/tolerance/acceptance means for each actor and how they re-define and use it to draw boundaries in Greek society. These boundaries cut across and overlap with different dimensions: natives/nationals and Others/aliens, tolerant and intolerant people/parties, racist and non-racist, democratic and authoritarian, right wing vs. left wing forces.
We examine here the political and discursive deployment of toleration in two different case studies and see how tolerance relies on the construction of images of 'ingroup' and 'outgroup'. Our main scope is to gain a better understanding of why and when some aspects of difference are rejected. We seek to answer the question what kind of difference is tolerable/acceptable in Greek society and why? We also examine whether Greek society is becoming more or less tolerant towards specific groups and why.

The Greek Elections of 2012 and Greece´s Future in the Eurozone (2012:7epa)

Date added: 07/29/2012
Date modified: 07/29/2012
Filesize: 221.63 kB
Downloads: 778


Dimitrakopoulos Dionyssis G.*

The Greek general election of 6 May 2012 resulted in strong electoral support for political parties other than those traditionally in power. It confirmed a widespread discontent with the austerity policies, but still a majority of the voters expressed a desire to remain a member of the Eurozone. However, since all attempts to form a Government have failed, there will be a new election on 17 June.

In this analysis the author discusses the political situation before as well as after the election 6 May, Greece´s future in the Eurozone and likely developments after the election 17 June.

The analysis is published in the context of the SIEPS research programme The political system of the European Union.

*Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos is Senior Lecturer at the Departement of Political Science, Birkbeck, University of London

Mass Media and the Europeanization of Greek- Turkish Relations

Date added: 10/12/2010
Date modified: 10/12/2010
Filesize: 315.42 kB
Downloads: 739

Elena Lazarou

This paper analyzes the discourse on Turkey in the Greek press, focusing particularly on the reaction of the press to the transformation – or Europeanization– of Greek foreign policy that took place in the years following 1997. The paper examines the perceptions and representations of Turkey in the Greek printed media, by identifying the narratives referring to Turkey either as an enemy or as a candidate state for EU membership, and by looking at the evolution and transformation of these narratives in the period between 1997 and 2003. It then extracts observations regarding the nature of the discursive changes observed and proposes that - to a larger or lesser extent - these changes may be linked to the Europeanization of Greek society and politics and can be directly or indirectly attributed to the EU’s ability to influence non-state actors, such as the mass media.

Skills and Wage Inequality in Greece: Evidence from Matched Employer-Employee Data, 1995-2002

Date added: 10/12/2010
Date modified: 10/12/2010
Filesize: 399 kB
Downloads: 789

Rebekka Christopoulou# and Theodora Kosma

This paper examines changes in the Greek wage distribution over 1995-2002 and the role of skill in these changes. The methodology adopted is the Machado-Mata counterfactual decomposition, which separates the part of wage changes that is due to job and workers' characteristics (composition effects) from the part due to the returns to these characteristics (price effects). We find that mean wages have not increased substantially, but wage inequality has, mostly at the upper tail of the distribution. The role of skill has been decisive. Falling tenure levels at all but the very high wage deciles, and rising education across the board, have carried much of the inequalityincreasing influence of overall composition effects. Although to a lesser extent, changes in the returns to skill have contributed to inequality by forming a U-shaped pattern along the wage distribution. This pattern is further reinforced when price-effects of skill are added together with the composition effect of tenure to produce the share of skill-effects that is responsive to market forces. Drawing on this evidence, we make a case for the routinization hypothesis.

Making Citizenship Education Work: European and Greek perspectives

Date added: 10/12/2010
Date modified: 10/12/2010
Filesize: 247.84 kB
Downloads: 760

Dimitris N. Chryssochoou

This paper employs a civic learning approach to discussing recent developments in citizenship education through an analysis of contemporary democratic thinking. By reviving Europe’s great democratic tradition in the sense of a liberal republicanist understanding of citizenship, it argues the case for the transformation of democratic norms into policy structures, educational initiatives and school curricula. Central to the analysis is the Council of Europe’s EDCHRE programme and the lessons to be drawn from this uniquely observed pan-European project that equips young people to participate actively in society and in daily school life. The paper makes an effort to present and evaluate various aspects of the Greek school curriculum that are relevant to the study. The general conclusion to be drawn is that citizenship education relates to the search for a ‘democracy of ideas’ in Pettit’s sense of the term that can link together two different incentives of civic learning: on the one hand, the notion of a participatory ethos at the traditional state level and, on the other, the practice of active citizenship alongside and even beyond that level.