Nationalist voices and the struggle of becoming: The case of native and migrant youths in Greece
Moray School of Education Edinburgh University Edinburgh, United Kingdom
In the context of internationalized economy, global capital flows and migration and of potent locality with its nationalist and fundamentalist voices, social life and subjectivities become increasingly fluid and fragmented. The paper analyses the intersectionalities between the local manifestations of the process of becoming and the wider social processes underlying and surrounding migration. It draws upon the narratives of 24 youths aged 16-19 with migratory and non-migratory background. Their narratives are analyzed as performative acts and cultural weavings constructed locally and intersubjectively, rather than expression of their essentialist realities. Following a critical narrative-discursive perspective, the paper focuses on the way the youths construct themselves while participating in asymmetrical relations of power and interactional and micro-political processes; the way they relate to themselves and to others and concomitantly the way they materialize their imagined relations and attachments through practices and discourses.
In the shadow of the omnipresent ethnocentric and monolithic Greek ideology and the widespread cultural racism, the paper argues that these youths engage in the weaving of their identities through a more or less ascribed, constrained and perpetually negotiated sense of belonging. Pessimism seems deeply rooted in adolescents' consciousness: distrust in politics and state institutions; disappointment for the lack of meritocracy and anger and resentment for the dearth of public figures capable of inspiring trust and of demonstrating genuine interest for the public good emerge as central themes in youths' narratives. The potent normative direction of dominant familistic mental schemata seems to lead to a sense of suppression, which in turn sometimes kindles a reflexive search of identity and sometimes ignites an unprecedented hostility towards what they perceive as "othered stranger". The latter dimension points to the ascription, expressive exploitation and unequal access to the sense of belongingness as determinants of becoming a certain subject in the Greek society.