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Blood and Oranges

Blood and Oranges: Immigrant Labor and European Markets in Rural Greece

Christopher M. Lawrence
Series: Dislocations
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 214
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  • Book Info
    Blood and Oranges
    Book Description:

    A compelling account of the intersection of globalization and neo-racism in a rural Greek community, this book describes the contradictory political and economic development of the Greek countryside since its incorporation into the European Union, where increased prosperity and social liberalization have been accompanied by the creation of a vulnerable and marginalized class of immigrant laborers. The author analyzes the paradoxical resurgence of ethnic nationalism and neo-racism that has grown in the wake of European unification and addresses key issues of racism, neoliberalism and nationalism in contemporary anthropology.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-285-6
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology, Population Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-vii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. viii-x)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  7. Introduction: The Transformation of Rural Greece
    (pp. 1-9)

    Since its accession to the European Union (EU) in the early 1980s, Greece has undergone dramatic changes in almost every aspect of social life. One of the most important changes has been an extensive reorganization of the social relations of production and consumption that shape the economy of Greece. These changes are perhaps most apparent in rural areas that, until recently, maintained a relatively “traditional” model of social relations. In stark contrast to the postwar era during which they exported labor to industrialized nations, Greek agricultural communities have become increasingly dependent on immigrant labor, mostly from Eastern Europe. Today immigrants,...

  8. Chapter I A Brief History of Conflict and Accommodation in Argolida
    (pp. 10-33)

    The township of Midea lies in the Argolid (Argolida) region of the northeast Peloponnesos, about 150 kilometers southwest of Athens. Argolida is a relatively rich agricultural region consisting of a wide plain opening onto the Gulf of Argos. Hemmed in by mountains on three sides, the Argolid valley enjoys abundant (for Greece) water as well as mild winters. The two main towns of the region are Argos, the inland commercial center of the Argolid valley, and the touristic port town of Nauplio. Roughly equidistant from both lies Midea township, which takes its name from the ancient Mycenaean site of Midea...

  9. Chapter II Agricultural Production and Household Economies
    (pp. 34-57)

    Agriculture still provides the foundation for the local economy in Argolida, although in some areas other industries play important roles. The coastal villages from Epidavros to Asini have a significant tourist industry, and the towns of Nauplio and Argos rely mainly on service industries, commerce, and small manufacturing. For the interior towns and villages, however, agriculture remains the main productive activity. In Midea township, 57 percent of employed persons claim agriculture as their main source of income.¹ For many others, agriculture is a secondary income. While there is significant production of other crops, such as apricots, olives, grapes, vegetables, and...

  10. Chapter III Immigrant Labor in the Villages
    (pp. 58-88)

    In 2001, as I was beginning fieldwork, I sat at a sidewalk café on the main street of Agia Triada. It was early summer and I was drinking coffee with a few farmers I had just met. As we talked, two men walked down the main street, which was still deserted in the late afternoon sun. From the longsleeved flannel shirts they wore and their sunburned faces it was clear that they were immigrant laborers, generically referred to as “Albanians” by the local Greeks, regardless of their country of origin. As they passed the main square the two men stopped...

  11. Chapter IV The Social Transformation of the Countryside
    (pp. 89-111)

    In the previous chapters we saw that the transformation of agricultural production in rural Greece under the EU has been incomplete. Farmers continue to resist the “rationalization” of agriculture and have maintained many aspects of pre-EU production. They have been able to resist economic pressures of market liberalization largely by exploiting the labor of immigrant workers. In this chapter we will examine more closely the social changes in the villages that have been stimulated by EU integration. Here again, I will argue that immigrant labor plays a significant role in the expression of social change and the forms of social...

  12. Chapter V The State, Citizenship, and Identity in Argolida
    (pp. 112-135)

    During my fieldwork, I was often struck by the stark contradiction between the perception held by many people that social inequality had decreased and the reality of a growing dependence on impoverished and marginalized immigrant labor. Many people, even those bitterly opposed to what they saw as the destructive force of “globalization” (pankosmopoiisi), often conceded that Greek society today was much more equitable than the past. In particular, perceptions concerning the status of women and children have changed dramatically. Women are perceived to have greater political and economic power. Children are perceived to have more freedom, now being less oppressed...

  13. Chapter VI The Politics of Resistance
    (pp. 136-159)

    In Argolida, “resistance” to the intrusion of global political and economic forces is a complex and contradictory process. Many residents consciously think of behaviors intended to subvert or deflect what they perceive to be external threats in terms of “resistance” (antistasi). In fact, though, these behaviors, as we shall see, often have the contradictory effect of furthering the entanglement of individuals and communities with global political-economic forces. Given the absence of an organized force of resistance or feasible alternative to the EU, we could perhaps more accurately categorize acts of resistance as simply reaction. Indeed, local residents do sometimes describe...

  14. Chapter VII Nationalism in a Globalizing Economy
    (pp. 160-180)

    In 1981 Greece formally joined the European Community (later European Union), ushering in a new chapter in the modern history of the country. Since then, virtually all parts of Greek society have undergone enormous changes. The process of social transformation has been complex and largely unpredictable. When Greece entered the European Community, some residents expected that a new era of prosperity and democratization would ensue, leaving behind the legacy of dictatorship and class polarization that characterized Greece for much of the twentieth century. Others expected economic catastrophe and the reversal of the few gains made by the working and middle...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 181-193)
  16. Index
    (pp. 194-198)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 199-199)