Cite as: Alexandrakis, O., 2019, "Rethinking social resistance through the consolidating politics of humanitarian populism in Mytilene, Greece", Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 26(1):173-198.
During the spring of 2015, thousands of migrants began to arrive daily on the shores of Lesvos, Greece, from nearby Turkey. As the Greek government and the European Union (EU) monitored the unfolding situation, diverse ad hoc humanitarian projects flourished on the island. These projects enacted a field of action grounded in intersecting, concerning effects and values of care. This essay considers the challenges these projects posed to the local, national, and transnational humanitarian apparatus that eventually moved in and attempted to regulate these players. Drawing on recent work in anthropology on sense and critical agency, I discuss these challenges as a mode of social resistance that evokes a populist expression of the political. Two specific examples are discussed drawing on my recent ethnographic fieldwork in Mytilene, the capital city of Lesvos.
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