Social incorporation, social memory and identity in refugee communities of Anatoli, Bafra and Neokaisaria in Ioannina (Doctoral thesis)

Παναγιωτοπούλου, Ελισάβετ Σ.

This study deals with the social incorporation and the formation ofcollective memory and identity of Greek refugees from Pontos and Kappadokiaarea (in Asia Minor) from the period of their settlement in Epirus and especiallyin Ioannina (Anatoli, Bafra and Neokaisareia communities) in the 1920s tilltoday. The topic of social memory in relation to the collective identity has beenone of the main topics for the Greek Folk Life studies since 1980. Therelationship of the Greek Folk Life studies with oral history approach, whichbecame one of the crucial subjects in the field of social sciences, came to thefore through the study of memory. The case study of refugees in relation to theevent of expulsion, which posed the question of construction and preservationof refugee identity, in the frame of the refugee settlement and incorporation ingreek society after 1923 became one of the most interesting topic for research. The basic argument of this study was the settlement of refugees in Epirus andespecially near the town of Ioannina, where they had to deal with the local’stenacity of cultural values, with strong social structures and the ideologicalmovement of “Epirotism”. “Epirotism” represented the field where the uniqueidentity and cultural heritage of local population was expressed. In addition, theeconomic differences between the refugees and the locals derived from theland reform determined their relationships. The collective identity of Greeks from Asia Minor had been identified notonly from the common past but also from the particular manner of integrationand ideological relationship of the group with the local groups in Ioannina. Thedominant question of this study has been based on the role of memory as afactor of the reconstruction of collective identity, the memory of expatriation andthe memory of life in Asia Minor where refugees were used to live. Memory ofthe past had a selective role and an adaptive function as well and became themain factor of identity reconstruction in the present. As far as the Greek refugee settlement is concerned, the collective “myth”of the establishment of the communities and the history of refugee settlement isrepresented in the first part of this study, through the narration of people of firstand second generation. The second part deals with the social incorporation of refugees in the local society. The role of kinship as a strategy of social“survival”, the memory of the past and the reconstruction of the past in thepresent affected refugees cultural expression, for example, in the way of foodand in the musical expression and their relationships with the locals as well. Moreover and besides the relationships with the locals, the place of origin,when confined to the role of memory, plays an important role in the formation ofthe identity of refugees groups. The place of origin became the field of refugeesidentity construction after their settlement in Greece. In conclusion, we could say that refugee identity is a dynamicphenomenon that is to say in a state of constant adaptation. The struggle forcontinuity was characterized by the role of memory which is based on thecultural revival and not to the cultural experience. However refugee traditionbecame the way by which the historical and cultural uniqueness of Greeks ofAsia Minor was expressed.
Institution and School/Department of submitter: Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων. Φιλοσοφική Σχολή. Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας
Subject classification: Πρόσφυγες, Μικρασιάτες -- Ελλάδα
Keywords: Κοινωνική ενσωμάτωση μεταναστών,συλλογική, εμπειρική, κοινωνική μνήμη και βιωμένη εμπειρία,Μικρά Ασία,Πρόσφυγες μικρασιατικής καταστροφής,αναπαραστάσεις του παρελθόντος,εθνοτικές ομάδες,εθνική ταυτότητα,Ήπειρος,λεκανοπέδιο Ιωαννίνων,ηπειρωτισμός,προφορική Ιστορία-αφηγήσεις πληροφορητών,social incorporation,collective memory and identity of Greek refugees from Asia Minor,social memory,ideological movement of “Epirotism” and construction of refugee identity,ethnic identity,collective “myth” of establishment as part of cultural revival,reconstruction of the past in the present
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