The paper explores the socio-cultural dynamics of Greek demonstrations in 2011, suggesting that their function exceeds that of social movements as we know them. A form of what I term “simulacral thanatotourism,” including marches and demonstrations to Greek cities in protest for austerity measures, actualised in this context a form of mourning about the end of Greece’s place in European polity. This mourning, which places Greece at the centre of a withering European democratic cosmos, inspires in today’s dystopian Greek Raum two conflicting forms of social action: one is geared towards consumption of the country’s political history in terms similar to those we examine as “tourism.” This symbolic consumption of history re-writes the European past from a Greek standpoint while simultaneously promoting relevant entrepreneurial initiatives—in particular, the global circulation of imagery linked to riots and protests, and thus the movement of the abject aspects of Greek culture in global spaces. The second form of action is directed against the image of contemporary Greece as a corrupt topos that does not deserve a place in Europe’s political Paradise; this places the blame for the nation’s demise on its political factions. The two forms of action may be antithetical but do coexist in Greek social movements to the date, articulating a cosmology of nostalgia for Greece as an idyllic tourist object. The paper explores these themes through the proliferation of imagery in recent demonstrations, highlighting how a tourist-like marketing of activist visual culture partakes in reproductions of theological ideas rooted in Europeanist discourse.
|Keywords:||Consumption, Cosmology, Europe, Greece, Simulation, Social Movements, Thanatotourism, Travel (Imaginative)|
Lecturer in Sociology, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK
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