Living as a ‘difference’ in a decidedly racist society: the case of immigrants in Athens, Greece
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Aiming to interpret the electoral success of Golden Dawn (2012) and the racist violence that followed on the streets of Athens, this study searches for sources of racism in the Greek ethnic identity (Greekness) and investigates its effects on immigrants. To address the first question this research analyses discourses that dominate Greeks’ understandings of (ethnic) self and others, along their daily and life-paths. To examine how those understandings shape immigrants’ realities, I conducted unstructured interviews and participatory observation with first and second-generation immigrants. The research found that racism is the outcome of Greeks’ participation in practices organized by state institutions and social systems (Education system, Religion, Media and Clientelism, Urban space) informed by Greekness. In short, racism is the result of Greeks “acting Greek”, that is, in accordance with Greekness’ principles. The strategies immigrants employ, to avoid the consequences of racism, constitute a response and add the knowledge of how to “act differently”. This thesis concludes that addressing the problem of racism in Greece in accordance to immigrants’ knowledge of how to do difference could lead to radical social changes, up to redefinition of country’s main structural principle - Greekness itself.