Memories Cast in Stone: The Relevance of the past in Everyday Life

Overview

How does the past matter in the present? How is a feeling of "ownership" of the past expressed in people's everyday lives? Should continuity with the distant past be seen as simply a nationalist fiction or is it transformed by local historical imagination?

While recent anthropological studies have focused on reconstructing disputed histories, this book examines the multiple ways in which the past is used by people as a critical resource for interpreting the meanings of a ...

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Overview

How does the past matter in the present? How is a feeling of "ownership" of the past expressed in people's everyday lives? Should continuity with the distant past be seen as simply a nationalist fiction or is it transformed by local historical imagination?

While recent anthropological studies have focused on reconstructing disputed histories, this book examines the multiple ways in which the past is used by people as a critical resource for interpreting the meanings of a changing present. It poses the issue of the felt relevance of the past in constructing present-day identities. The Greek island of Kalymnos is a barren and seemingly bucolic setting of tourist imagination. But its history has been one of almost continuous occupation by foreign powers and of often fierce resistance. This has made Kalymnians particularly sensitive to seeing their island in a much wider context and to understanding the "games played by the powerful". Controversial contemporary practices of dynamite-throwing and dowry-giving serve as tropes through which Kalymnians explore alternative ways of living in a changing world. Further, the author argues persuasively for the crucial importance of situated fieldwork in "peripheral" places in understanding the issues and conflicts of a transnational world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Highly original ... [This] work is not merely an important addition to the growing corpus of ethnographies on Greece; it is also an example of how relevant anthropological analysis is as a tool for understanding and deciphering the making of politics and histories in the present." —American Ethnologist

"In this work, as much one of love as of scholarship, Sutton provides a disciplined memoir of his encounter with Greece and the Island of Kalymnos in particular." —Choice

"Sutton's book is comprehensive, knowledgeable of its subject matter and well written." —Jourbanal of Southern Europe and the Balkans

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859739488
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Series: German Studies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Lexile: 1390L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
1 Kalymnos: The Barren Island 15
2 Kalymnian Constructions of Identity and Otherness 35
3 Debates on an Explosive Custom 57
4 Tales of Women Casting Stones 79
5 Memories of Matriarchy 99
6 Analogic Thinking as History 119
7 A Historical War: Local Conversations with Global Implication 149
8 History Revealed, Custom Concealed: Names as Heritage and as Inheritance 173
Conclusion 203
References Cited 213
Author Index 233
Subject Index 237
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