Current Institutional Affiliation
Assisant Professor, History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Thessaly

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1999
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, The New School
Perceptions of Greek and European Identity in the Cultural Politics of Food in Modern Greece

I examine the deployment of the category “food” as “national heritage” in contemporary Greece, and I suggest that it is related to the process of Greece’s incorporation in a broader cultural and economico-political structure, the “new Europe”. In an ethnographic study of a cultural politics in Greece and the European Union in the 1980s and 1990s, I show that the emergence of a Greek culinary and gastronomic heritage is interconnected with a broader cultural project under formation in Europe, the construction of a “common” European heritage. To examine this dual development, I conduct fieldwork in EU and Greek, official and non-official, locations of production of this heritage: the European Commission and the European Council, the Greek Ministries of Culture, Development, and Agriculture, local Greek administration, and non-governmental Greek actors. I suggest the cultural politics of food is an opportunity to examine how the project of European integration is negotiated in the various European peripheries. Yet, beyond its political-economic significance at a crucial moment of EU expansion, the cultural politics of food is: a) an instance within the larger moment of Greece’s attempt to define itself vis-à-vis Europe, being a European periphery which imagines Europe as its globe, and b) an instance in the larger European history, which reveals Europe’s self-image as a “civilizing” entity in the world, as inherited by the tradition of the Enlightenment.