Modern Greek Lessons

Modern Greek Lessons: A Primer in Historical Constructivism

James D. Faubion
Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 340
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7t2h0
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  • Book Info
    Modern Greek Lessons
    Book Description:

    Through a blend of lively detail and elegant narration, James Faubion immerses us in the cosmopolitan intellectual life of Athens, a centerless city of multiplicities and fragmentations, a city on the "margins of Europe" recovering from the repressive rule of a military junta. Drawing inspiration from Athens and its cultural elite, Faubion explores the meaning of modernity, finding it not in the singular character of "Western civilization" but instead in an increasingly diverse family of practices of reform.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2095-5
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. PREFACE: TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. INTRODUCTION: FOR THE TIME BEING: SOME NOTES ON THE MANNERS OF MODERN LIVES
    (pp. 3-20)

    CONSIDER A MAN: slim, balding slightly, soft-spoken. When I encountered him, in the early autumn of 1986, he could have been no more than forty-one or forty-two years old. In Greece, he was well known. In spite of his age, he already had an established seat in the Vouli, the Parliament. Intermittently, he also appeared on the rosters of one or another of the government’s ministries. He was named Yiorghos after his grandfather, an important diplomatic liaison during the internecine struggles that had rocked his country in the late 1940s and prime minister in the early 1960s. The younger Yiorghos...

  6. PART I REVIEWING ATHENS
    • 1 MODEL IMPROBABILITIES: ATHENS AT FIRST SIGHT
      (pp. 23-63)

      I ARRIVED AT Athens’s Ellinikon Airport in September of 1986, relieved after having spent a tense layover in what was then an East bloc country to find the customs agents unbothered by my passport and bored with my luggage. I had carried along little more than clothes and aBlue Guide. I had been chosen from among my cohort of Fulbright applicants to receive a privately endowed fellowship. I was consequently on my own, though I had been assured that the local Amerikaniko Ekpedheftiko Idhrima, the American Educational Foundation, was prepared to offer me whatever aid it could. A colleague...

    • 2 REMEMBERING AND REMODELING: THE METALEPTIC METROPOLIS
      (pp. 64-98)

      MY IMAGE, my sense of city life was not, when I arrived in Athens, merely bookish. I was raised in a very small American town, but had moved on, in my later adolescence, to Portland, Oregon, to which I have since returned. I had spent a year in Chicago, visited New York and Washington and Los Angeles. Before leaving for Athens, I had lived for about three years in San Francisco, where I had passed many of my younger summers; once back in America, I would live there for another three years. My small town had never appealed to me....

  7. PART II ANOTHER MODERNITY
    • 3 CROSSING THE THRESHOLD: NOTES ON CONFLICT AT A CERTAIN GREEK AIRPORT
      (pp. 101-121)

      MICHEL BUTOR, searching after the Second World War for the genius of the Mediterranean imagination, found himself quite disappointed with ununiform Athens: “At the beginning of the nineteenth century, there was nothing at the base of the most famous acropolis of all but an infinitesimal village, and the capital that has grown up around it, although it certainly lies on the same ground as the ancient city, is in no sense an extension of it, but something completely different, a modern Mediterranean city which has no more relation to it than the Alexandria of today has to that of the...

    • 4 SOVEREIGNTY AND ITS DISCONTENTS
      (pp. 122-138)

      WHAT HAS INDUCED tradition’s demotion? What precisely has brought Greeks, some of them at least, face-to-face with modernity’s threshold? One can no longer appeal to Weber: however incisive, however serviceable his analysis of that threshold may be, his diagnosis of the antecedents and precipitants of it has its limitations. The incident at Aerodhromio is far from atypical. On the contrary, it is in many respects representative of the current metropolitan “scene,” in many respects simply symptomatic of a far more pervasive state of affairs. No adequate diagnosis of that state of affairs can, however, depart from a Protestant reformation. Greece...

    • 5 “EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE”: NOTES ON THE GREEK MODERN
      (pp. 139-156)

      WHERE HAVE those Greeks who have crossed or found themselves pushed over the threshold of modernity consequently been placed? Once again, one can no longer appeal confidently to Weber. If his analysis of the antecedents and precipitants of modernity’s threshold is not entirely persuasive, his analysis of the consequences of crossing or being pushed over the threshold is less persuasive still. It does not do complete justice either to modernization or to modernity in the “Occident.” It does not do passable justice to either modernization or to modernity in Greece. Between modernity in the one place and modernity in the...

  8. PART III AFTER THE COLONELS:: PROJECTS OF SELF-DEFINITION AND SELF-FORMATION SINCE 1974
    • 6 THE SELF MADE: DEVELOPING A POSTNATIONAL CHARACTER
      (pp. 159-183)

      LOGICS OFFER a means of characterizing the conditions under which, in the argumentative movement from premises to conclusions, truth is preserved. Rhetorics offer a device for treating the perlocutionary force of statements and other acts. They offer a device for refining a symbolic analysis, for distinguishing between tropes of one sort and tropes of another. But they also offer a means for characterizing the conditions under which, in the revisionary movement from literalisms to tropes or from one trope to another, sense can be preserved even in the absence of truth or reference. They consequently offer a means, as yet...

    • 7 THE WORKS OF MARGHARITA KARAPANOU: LITERATURE AS A TECHNOLOGY OF SELF-FORMATION
      (pp. 184-212)

      IN 1987, Margharita Karapanou was writing her third novel. Her first,I Kassandhra ke o Likos, orCassandra and the Wolf, was first published in 1976. It had appeared in English and French before it appeared in Greek; it had reached its fifth Greek edition in 1986. Her second novel,O Ipnovatis, orThe Sleepwalker, was first published in 1985. It appeared in French translation in the autumn of 1987.

      Karapanou was born in Athens in 1946, after the Second World War but before the official beginning of the Greek Civil War. Her childhood and youth were spent in something...

    • 8 MEN ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM: FROM SEXUAL MODERNIZATION TOWARD SEXUAL MODERNITY
      (pp. 213-241)

      IN LATE JANUARY and early February 1987, the front pages of Athens’s more progressive and sensational dailies intermittently bore photographs of a gaunt and emaciated young man, Khristos Roussos, also known as “The Angel.” He lay in a bed at Piraeas’s Tzanio Hospital, under constant police guard. He wore a beard: hirsute symbol since the junta of antiauthoritarian protest. He was being fed intravenously. He had been refusing to eat, had not been eating for some three and a half months. On 26 January, a journalist wondered in Athens’s most popular daily,Ta Nea(“The news”), whether Roussos would at...

  9. EPILOGUE AFTER THE PRESENT
    (pp. 242-248)

    AMFI—not foramfisexoualikotitabut rather foramfisvitisi: objecting, questioning, doubt. I suspect that the clarification, the reading that Vallianatos offered of his journal’s title was largely his own. But like Maro’s troubled dismantling of self, like Karapanou’sCassandraand herSleepwalker, its resonance was not merely personal. Like the younger Papandreou’s praise for the “critical perspective” brought to Greece by its various outsiders, its force was imperatival. Vallianatos and the younger Papandreou in fact turned out to be friends. “He is someone,” said Vallianatos of the latter, “to whom I can talk.” They have not their “sexuality” but many...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 249-270)
  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 271-288)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 289-307)