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Dangerous Citizens: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State / Edition 3

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Overview


WINNER OF THE 2011 VICTOR TURNER PRIZE, Society for Humanistic Anthropology

WINNER OF THE 2011 EDMUND KEELEY BOOK PRIZE, Modern Greek Studies Association

HONORABLE MENTION IN ARCHEOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY, 2009 Prose Awards

This book simultaneously tells a story-or rather, stories-and a history. The stories are those of Greek Leftists as paradigmatic figures of abjection, given that between 1929 and 1974 tens of thousands of Greek dissidents were detained and tortured in prisons, places of exile, and concentration camps. They were sometimes held for decades, in subhuman conditions of toil and deprivation.The history is that of how the Greek Left was constituted by the Greek state as a zone of danger. Legislation put in place in the early twentieth century postulated this zone. Once the zone was created, there was always the possibility-which came to be a horrific reality after the Greek Civil War of 1946 to 1949-that the state would populate it with its own citizens. Indeed, the Greek state started to do so in 1929, by identifying ever-increasing numbers of citizens as Leftistsand persecuting them with means extending from indefinite detention to execution. In a striking departure from conventional treatments, Neni Panourgi\~ places the Civil War in a larger historical context, within ruptures that have marked Greek society for centuries. She begins the story in 1929, when the Greek state set up numerous exile camps on isolated islands in the Greek archipelago. The legal justification for these camps drew upon laws reaching back to 1871-originally directed at controlling brigands-that allowed the death penalty for those accused and the banishment of their family members and anyone helping to conceal them. She ends with the 2004 trial of the Revolutionary Organization 17 November.Drawing on years of fieldwork, Panourgi\~ uses ethnographic interviews, archival material, unpublished personal narratives, and memoirs of political prisoners and dissidents to piece together the various microhistories of a generation, stories that reveal how the modern Greek citizen was created as a fraught political subject.Her book does more than give voice to feelings and experiences suppressed for decades. It establishes a history for the notion of indefinite detention that appeared as a legal innovation with the Bush administration. Part of its roots, Panourgi\~ shows, lie in the laboratory that Greece provided for neo-colonialism after the Truman Doctrine and under the Marshall Plan.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Columbia anthropology professor Neni Panourgia's new project takes the concept of an 'interactive conversation' a step further. The recent online release of Dangerous Citiznes: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State by far exceeds the publication of the book by the same name in being revolutionary. Instead of being your average Kindle e-book or online PDF, the new Website is a freely accessed interactive, multimedia text that exemplifies an exciting but problematic pathway for published scholarship.

. . . An anthropological approach to the G reek state's response to the Greek left.

Dangerous Citizens is a simultaneous indictment of the liberal nation-state's blithe pretensions and willful self-ignorance; of the political and discursive relegation of modern Greek history to the historical margins of the colonial civilizing mission; and of inhuman simplifications of the past everywhere. In an evocation of Oedipus that owes nothing to crass invocations of continuity with the ancient world, Neni Panourgi writes with the ethical passion of a partial witness who nonetheless claims no special privilege other than that of the common humanity denied by the state to those it repeatedly configures as its enemies. In posing this appealingly controversial challenge to the liberal self-imagination, moreover, Panourgi -- who has honed her distinctive writing idiom into a compelling mix of careful scholarship and stylistic adventurism -- calls anthropology itself to account.Michael Herzfeld

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823229680
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 9/7/2009
  • Edition description: 3
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 302
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

NENI PANOURGI is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. She has published Fragments of Death, Fables of Identity: An Athenian Anthropography, winner of the Grand Jury Prize of the International Society of Ethnohistory and co-winner of the Chicago Folklore Prize. She has co-edited, with George E. Marcus, the volume Ethnographica Moralia: Experiments in Interpretive Anthropology (Fordham).

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