Reciting the future: everyday speculations about what might happen next on two Greek borders

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    Abstract

    Most political borders undergo regular changes in what they separate, what they bring together and what, as well as who, is permitted to move across or be exchanged between them. That process is inevitably accompanied by everyday speculations about what such shifts might imply for the future. Using ethnographic research from two different historical periods and two different border regions of Greece – the Greek-Albanian border in Epirus, in the northwestern mainland, during the 1990s; and the Greek-Turkish border in the north Aegean in the 2000s – this paper explores how that kind of talk about what might happen next contributes towards the continual process of locating, marking, remarking and unmarking, borders.

    A comparison between the accounts given in these different times and places unsurprisingly shows that the specific historical moment as well as the different iconic significance of the two border regions mattered considerably in people’s speculations about what might happen next. As such, the stories form part of the daily, historically contingent, process of ascribing borders with certain qualities. The focus of this article is on the way these accounts combine stereotypical with personal stories about the past, bringing widely known, and often ideologically inflected, sets stock phrases and accounts that are recited almost by rote, together with much more personal stories about people’s own experiences, in speculations about the future. The paper suggests that such recitations both perform and reiterate stereotypical and ideological positions, which generally and abstractly locate people politically, socially and in relation to the border – and which at the same time also define the qualities of the border. The more personal stories can either act as a contrast to, or complement, these recitations, locating people in their own particular social and political relations, and highlighting the way borders are multiply occupied, multiply qualified, places.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalHau: journal of ethnographic theory
    Volume2
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)111-130
    Number of pages19
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Fields of Science

    • 999 Others
    • Anthropology
    • Borders
    • Greece
    • Albania
    • Epirus

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