Collective Charisma, Selective Exclusion and National Belonging: ‘False’ and ‘Real’ Greeks from the Former Soviet Union
This chapter explores the theoretical relevance of Elias and Scotson’s established-outsider model for the study of everyday nationhood. Based on an ethnography of the relationship between Greek immigrants from the former Soviet Union and native-born Greeks in a neighborhood in Thessaloniki, it shows how everyday practices marking the cultural difference between the two communities made native Greeks doubt the Greekness of the Soviet Greeks. The ‘false Greeks’ formed an imagined category figuring prominently in discussions by native residents about the immigrants in the neighbourhood. Through a selective attribution of ‘good characteristics’ to ‘true Greek’ immigrants and ‘bad characteristics’ to ‘false Greeks’, this category accommodated the negative attitudes of the natives about the certain Soviet Greeks without challenging official criteria of national belongingness. It also helped secure and reinforce dominant perceptions about the qualities of Greekness on which the native’s claimed collective charisma and dominant position vis-à-vis immigrants depended on.
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