English title: Disentangling Greek Xenophobia during Recession
Author(s): Stefania Kalogeraki -
Type: Conference paper/poster
In the recent recession, the most severe one since the Great Depression, Greece has been considered the Achilles heel of Eurozone' s economies. Since 2008 the country has experienced an economic turmoil as well as an unprecedented social and political collapse. Due to the devastating economic conditions, the society’s social fabric has grown more frayed generating a mixture of frustration, insecurity and anger among Greeks which has been directed against immigrants fuelling the upsurge of anti-immigration backlash. The acute augmentation of xenophobic stances has been expressed by the rise of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn which has grown from a fringe group into a nationwide political party propagating that immigrants are responsible for the socio-economic vows of the country. The study attempts to disentangle the complexities of Greek xenophobia during the recession using an amalgam of theoretical frameworks (i.e. realistic group conflict, social identity and scapegoating theory) as well as multiple secondary data sources, i.e. European Social Survey (ESS), European Value Survey (EVS) and Eurobarometer. The analyses unveil the etiologies of Greek xenophobic stances traced in the intense inter-group competition due to the scarcity in jobs and economic recourses but most importantly in the formation of a far right-wing populist identity that tends to displace the blame for personal hardships and misfortunes onto the relatively powerless immigrant group members. The study unearths one of the social facets of the Greek economic crisis in breeding hostility against migrants and highlights that such hostility has recently taken more violent forms of racist attacks and racial clashes. It is underlined that the call to transform the xenophobic climate into a xenophilic one in Greece becomes more urgent than ever; hence immediate policy responses are needed to curtail xenophobia and safeguard the fragile social cohesion and order of the country.
Conference name: XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology
Start date: Jun 13, 2014