Tag Archives: feminist theory

Hijacked solidarity: a story of resistance and suppression in Greek capitalist patriarchy


This is the link


and the abstract of my paper presented at the 1st National Conference on Commons and on Social & Solidarity Economy in Greece, held in Thessalonike 4-7.5.2017.


The paper is an exploration of how the term and practice of solidarity has emerged, been used and abused in Greece since 2008 onwards. This study is part of an ongoing research project that emerged out of my research on solidarity economy in Greece since 2009 and out of the mere fact that as a political being and a researcher that has been trained in solidarity economy by the grassroots communities themselves, I cannot pretend I do not understand that something wrong has happened with solidarity during the last nine or ten years in the country. The analysis stands critically to the fact that, despite the everyday performance of solidarity actions and the vast work done by many groups, collectives or even individual people who join solidarity initiatives occasionally, solidarity kept being understood mostly in an ahistorical way, as a panacea for all socio-economic ills in Greece. The main question of this study is therefore, how the manipulation of the term and of the practices it represented have been a fundamental tool in order that the capitalist classes and their representatives in the local, formal and informal, political stage, suppress the expression and development of the anti-capitalist and possibly anti-patriarchal potential of solidarity practices.


The paper is an investigation grounded on events, discourses and evolutions of political practices in Greece during the last nine years. For the purposes of this paper, I use published material that has been available to everyone through mass media and the internet. My intention is to show that whatever happened with the manipulation through solidarity discourse and through the placement and re-arrangement of solidarity practices within the general social framework, it has happened on public level. This is not to say that there did not exist any underground manipulations or actions, but that capitalist patriarchy appears to be unable to achieve an effective reaction to solidarity practices unless everything is done as well in broad daylight. The public character was therefore, constituent element of the hijacking process.


The analysis starts from solidarity having become a buzzword, almost a fashionable term during the years 2008 onwards, especially after 2010.  Of particular interest is that this buzzword has been used extensively in political discourse to crowd out other discussions that were necessary to have been done within a context of a society like the Greek one. Structurally intertwining inequalities and injustices are endemic and reinforce each other in multiple ways, even within social movements and self-defined alternative spaces. Those injustices were not addressed properly, not even on discourse level, as those were thought that they would be easily resolved through solidarity.


My approach stems from feminist theory in its broad sense, not only because solidarity practices in Greece were a space where women were heavily involved but also because patriarchy is the greater or deeper framework of Greek society and politics. Patriarchy is understood as a political economic system that might have various versions or various expressions in the Greek context, but still remains the main way of articulating society, especially concerning its institutions, politics and resource distribution (Bennholdt et al 1988, Peterson 1997, 2010).


In other words, I place the entire investigation within its historical material conditions as those have been framed through late capitalism that faces important resistances from the people who live in the country but has also achieved important advances against the groups of producers (Sotiropoulou 2014). Solidarity within this capitalist patriarchal context became a discourse and a practice that was needed by various actors and groups in various ways in order to achieve or try to achieve their agendas, whether those have been anti-capitalist or not. Solidarity, therefore, is understood as a contested practice and idea, as an action that has multiple meanings and implications depending on the surrounding practices, ideas and actions (Bayat 2000, Fanon 2007). The contested understanding of solidarity is contrasted with the ahistorical use of the word and with the plasticity with which it seems to fit all discourses that want to comment on the economic conditions of Greece.


To analyse solidarity and how it has been used and abused in Greece lately, I also use post-/de-colonial theories and anti-colonial critique to understand the European project and how it worked within Greek society (Bhabha 2013, Hechter 1975, Peckham 2004). The post-/de-colonial theories permit to investigate the construction of national identity and of the perceptions of “greekness” and “europeanness” that define the political economic context (Carastathis 2014, Bernal 1987). Solidarity could not have been manipulated so effectively if it had not to exist along with deeply ingrained perceptions and behaviours that link Greek politics to European colonialism, racism and white supremacy.


Finally, exactly because nothing happens having as a reason a context alone, I explore the actual choices of Greek governments and political groups, whether formal or grassroots during the last years in Greece, and how those choices led the development of solidarity to one or another direction so far. Understanding solidarity as resistance means that one needs to discuss what is the resistance about and against what, what are its aims and the conditions for any success and how the people involved with solidarity, whether they were acting as truly solidary or they were abusing solidarity as a term and practice, are situated towards the notion of resistance as such.


I am aware that this discussion is not an easy one, especially because what has happened since 2008 onwards concerning solidarity is still an ongoing historical process. I recognise the limitations of my analysis in terms of personal involvement as a researcher and political being. I cannot but recognise that everyone in Greece during the last years has a stance and a personal and collective history towards solidarity, for good or for bad. However, exactly because solidarity has been so much manipulated and abused as a term and practice, there is need to discuss what has happened as soon as possible. Easiness and objectiveness is something that does not exist in social sciences anyway, and it would not exist in discussing social struggles in later capitalism in any case. Postponing this discussion though, “for whenever we will be ready for it” perpetuates the manipulation and systemic violence and makes huge injustice to the people and groups who offer(ed) their work and ideas to establish and practice solidarity without ever selling the term or their own politics out. Solidarity may not have been a panacea but it is still a political principle that all societies and social struggles need to encompass.



Bayat, A. 2000. From “dangerous classes” to “quiet rebels” – Politics of the urban subaltern in the Global South.  International Sociology 15/ 3, 533-557.

Bennholdt-Thomsen, V., Mies, M. & Von Werlhof, C. 1988. Women: The last colony. Zed Books.

Bernal, M. 1987. Black Athena, vols I-III. Rutgers University Press.

Bhabha, H.K. ed. 2013. Nation and narration. Routledge.

Carastathis, A. 2015. The politics of austerity and the affective economy of hostility. Feminist Review 109, 73-95.

Carastathis, A. 2014. Is Hellenism an orientalism? Reflections on the boundaries of Europe in an age of austerity. Critical Race & Whiteness Studies 10 (1-Special Issue: Edward Said – Intellectual, Cultural Critic, Activist).

Collett, J.L. et al 2007. Building solidarity through generalised exchange: A theory of reciprocity. American Journal of Sociology 113 /1 (July), 205-242.

Eduards, M.L. 1994. Women’s agency and collective action. Women’s Studies International Forum 17/2 -3, 181-186.

Fanon, F. 2007. The wretched of the earth. Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

Guha, R. 2003. History at the Limit of World-history. Columbia University Press.

Hechter, M. 1975. Internal colonialism: the Celtic fringe in British national development, 1536-1966. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.

Mignolo, W.  2012. Local histories/global designs: Coloniality, subaltern knowledges, and border thinking. Princeton University Press.

Peckham, R.S. 2004. Internal colonialism – Nation and region in 19th century. In Todorova, M. (Ed.) Balkan identities-Nation and memory. Hurst & Company, London, 41-58.

Peterson, S.V. 1997. Whose crisis? Early and post-modern masculinism, in Gill, S. & Mittelman J.H., eds: Innovation and transformation in International Studies, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge-New York-Melbourne,  185-202.

Peterson, S.V. 2010. A Long View of Globalization and Crisis. Globalizations 7/1-2, 187-202.

Said, E.W. 1979. Orientalism. Vintage.

Sotiropoulou, I. 2016. Solidarity, grassroots initiatives and power relations. World Economic Review 6, 44-59.

Sotiropoulou, I. 2014. Greek economy as a failure of capitalist patriarchy and the choice of dystopia, “Greece and austerity policies: where next for its economy and society?”, online conference, WEA (20.10-21.12.2014) http://greececonference2014.worldeconomicsassociation.org/

Sotiropoulou, I. 2013. Women in solidarity economy in Greece: Liberation practices or one more task undertaken?, En-gendering Macroeconomics & International Economics Summer Seminar, (16-18.7.2013) Krakow, Poland.

Raman, R.R.K. 2010. Transverse solidarity: Water, power and resistance. Review of Radical Political Economics 42/2, 251-268.

Spivak, G.C. 1988. Can the subaltern speak?. Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Macmillan Education UK,  271-313.

Voutilainen, M. 2017. Is there a connection between income inequality and famine mortality? Evidence from the 1860s Finnish famine. 2nd COMPOT Workshop Explaining famines, defining responsibilities (12-15.1.2017), University of Turku.

Weeks, K. 2007. Life within and against work: Affective labor, feminist critique and Post-Fordist politics. Ephemera 7/1,  233-249.

Weiner, A. 1992. Inalienable Possessions.  University of California Press, Berkeley & Los Angeles.

Weiner, A. 1980.  Reproduction: A Replacement for Reciprocity. American Ethnologist 7/1, 71-85.



Accounting value for food: Some main issues


This the slides set of the presentation at the Deliberative Process 1 of 2 “Transitions to Sustainable Food Systems”, held in Bristol on January 26th 2017.



Patriarchy as an economic system – Η πατριαρχία ως οικονομικό σύστημα


This is the set of slides and the reading list used for the Doctoral Workshop held at CAWR (Coventry University) on January 17th 2017.

Αυτές είναι οι διαφάνεις και η βιβλιογραφία που χρησιμοποιήθηκε στο διδακτορικό εργαστήριο που έγινε στο CAWR (Παπεπιστήμιο του Κόβεντρυ) την 17 Ιανουαρίου 2017.



Colonialism and the economy (Doctoral workshop slides & reading list) – Αποικιοκρατία και οικονομία (διαφάνειες & βιβλιογραφία από το διδακτορικό εργαστήριο)


Αυτές είναι οι διαφάνειες (5 ενότητες) και η βιβλιογραφία από το εργαστήριο για την σχέση αποικιοκρατίας και οικονομίας, που έγινε την 12.12.2016 στο Πανεπστήμιο του Κόβεντρυ.

This is the set of slides and the reading list for the Doctoral Training Workshop held on 12.12.2016 at Coventry University.





Discussing resilience in context (slides & reading list) – Συζητώντας για το σθένος μέσα σε συγκεκριμένο πλαίσιο (διαφάνειες & βιβλιογραφία)


This is the slide-series and the reading list for the Seminar “Discussing resilience in context” that was given online for the University of Cantabria. Among other things, this lecture also explains why i translate “resilience” in Greek with a term meaning “strength” [but without aggressive connotations] and not as “sturdiness”.


Αυτές είναι οι διαφάνειες και η βιβλιογραφία για το σεμινάριο “Συζητώντας για το σθένος μέσα σε συγκεκριμένο πλαίσιο” που έγινε διαδικτυακά για το Πανεπιστήμιο της Καντάμπρια. Ανάμεσα στα άλλα είναι και η εξήγηση γιατί μεταφράσω το resilience ως σθένος και όχι ως ανθεκτικότητα, όπως το βρίσκω συνήθως μεταφρασμένο στα ελληνικά.

To print or not to print: Digital parallel currencies as commons and the materiality of social sustainability


This is the presentation of the paper for the Conference “Intersections of Finance & Society” that was held in London on 3-4.11.2016.


Seminar/Σεμινάριο – Explorations in other economics: Cases, projects and methods/Διερευνήσεις σε άλλα οικονομικά: Περιπτώσεις, ερευνες και μέθοδοι


Αυτές είναι οι διαφάνειες της εισαγωγικής παρουσίασης, του φυλλαδίου και των δορυφορικών παρουσιάσεων που χρησιμοποιήθηκαν στο σεμινάριο της 15.9.2016 στο Κέντρο Αγρο-οικολογίας, Υδάτων & Σθένους (Πανεπιστήμιο του Κόβεντρυ).


This is the introductory presentation, handout and satellite presentations for the seminar on Heterodox Economics held at the Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience (Coventry University) on September 15th 2016.



Collective viewings of value(s) and the struggle for what is valuable – The Case of Grassroots Initiatives


Abstract: The article discusses the grassroots approaches to value(s) and valuing(s) as encountered in several schemes which exist in Greece over the last few years and whose members perform transactions without the use of any official currency. The main scope of the article is to explore the theoretical issues that emerge from the grassroots practices and analyse ways by which those practices challenge or even defy the dominant economic structures, perceptions and theories about value. Given that the theoretical issues emerge from field research and findings, empirical data on ethnographic nature are used to contribute to the discussion and place the questions within their historical and practical contexts. The variety of practices itself informs the theoretical debate about the multiple ways people might think of and use ideas about value in their economic activity.


Link to JSTOR  for institutional access


Η ελληνική οικονομία ως αποτυχία της καπιταλιστικής πατριαρχίας & η επιλογή της δυστοπίας


Πρόκειται για μετάφραση της μελέτης που υπάρχει ήδη στα αγγλικά ως Greek economy as a failure of capitalist patriarchy and the choice of dystopia (2014).


English text