Cite as: Margomenou, D. and Papavasiliou, F. (2013), Times of Crisis and Seeds of New Intimacies on a North Aegean Island: Activism, Alternative Exchange Networks, and Re-Imagined Communities. Studies in Ethnicity and Nation, 13: 523–529.
«Mαζί και στο λάθος» (‘Together even when it fails’)
– Activist and union leader, Lemnos, July 2012
Cultural intimacy, that ‘fellowship of the flawed’ (Byrne 2011; Herzfeld 1997, 2005, 2009), elucidates a framework for the analysis of how hegemonic discourses of national identity effectively coerce, or fail to coerce, citizens. Originally emerging from Greek ethnographic contexts, this framework focused the anthropological lens not on publically performed consensus, but on silent – or silenced – dissent vis-à-vis hegemonic national discourse about one, glorified, ‘Greek Past’ and the behaviours and attitudes prescribed for those who claim it as their ‘National Heritage’ in the present. Denoting continuity of descent from that singular past, heritage dominates national discourse in Modern Greece (e.g. Damaskos and Plantzos 2008; Hamilakis 2007) and is premised upon western European definitions of heritage as inheritance (Byrne 2011; Handler 1985, 1988). Because of the resonance and significance of that ‘Greek Past’ in western Europe and North America since the late eighteenth century, and given the particular historical contingencies that led to the institution of Modern Greece in the nineteenth century (Gourgouris 1996; Herzfeld 1987), national identity and the quality of ‘being Greek’ are mediated by expectations inscribed in the capitalist ‘global hierarchy of values’ (Herzfeld 2005:46) and are materialized within a process that Herzfeld (2002) has termed ‘cryptocolonialism’. The social spaces of shared embarrassment or dissent, that cultural intimacy outlines, should be perceived in this context...