Tag Archives: solidarity

Women in solidarity economy in Greece: Liberation practices or one more task undertaken?


Paper presented at “En-gendering Macroeconomics & International Economics Summer Seminar”, (16-18.7.2013) Krakow, Poland



Women in solidarity economy in Greece: Liberation practices or one more task undertaken?


Paper presented at “En-gendering Macroeconomics & International Economics Summer Seminar”, (16-18.7.2013) Krakow, Poland.



Performing Values Practices and Grassroots Organizing: The Case of Solidarity Economy Initiatives in Greece


Άρθρο που γράψαμε από κοινού με την Καθ. Μαρία Δασκαλάκη (University of Roehampton) και την Καθ. Μαριάννα Φωτάκη (University of Warwick) και δημοσιεύθηκε πρόσφατα στην επιθεώρηση Organisation Studies, 2018 – Online first.

This is a paper co-authored with Prof. Maria Daskalaki (University of Roehampton) and Marianna Fotaki (University of Warwick) and published at Organisation Studies, 2018 – Online first.

This article discusses solidarity economy initiatives as instances of grassroots organizing, and explores how ‘values practices’ are performed collectively during times of crisis. In focusing on how power, discourse and subjectivities are negotiated in the everyday practices of grassroots exchange networks (GENs) in crisis-stricken Greece, the study unveils and discusses three performances of values practices, namely mobilization of values, re-articulation of social relations, and sustainable living. Based on these findings, and informed by theoretical analyses of performativity, we propose a framework for studying the production and reproduction of values in the context of GENs, and the role of values in organizing alternatives.

Keywords: financial crisis, Gibson-Graham, grassroots exchange network (GEN), Greece, Judith Butler, performance, values practices

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.



Grassroots economic initiatives in Greece: challenges under neoliberal advancement


This is the presentation file of the paper, accessible at





Διαθέσιμη ήδη η μετάφραση της μελέτης που παρουσιάστηκε το 2015 στο 3ο Συμπόσιο Eλληνικής Γαστρονομίας

Cooking struggles in Cretan folktales: Undermining patriarchy & forging solidarity among women


Finally, the full text of the conference paper is available online



The paper is part of a larger research project concerning grassroots economics, i.e. theory and practice, which exist among everyday people and communities, in spaces which are more informed by everyday communal life and/or social movements than by established economic thinking. Folktales, therefore, are one among the sources I use for learning and  understanding grassroots economics.
In this paper, I analyse folktales within the framework of capitalist patriarchy having in mind that the folktales draw ideas and resistance stories from social struggles and  arrangements that might be non-capitalist and/or non-patriarchal at the same time. My case studies are various folktales from the island of Crete, Greece, and the main research question is how kitchen work performed by women is valued and perceived through local folktales and how the folk narratives of women’s kitchen tasks raise issues about the possibilities for fighting back patriarchal rules and enhancing solidarity among women.
The next section presents the theoretical framework of analysis and section three explains how folktales function as sources of grassroots economics. The research questions and the method of analysis are presented in section four and section five examines the main themes emerging in Cretan folktales with reference to women’s work and action in the kitchen. In section six I discuss how the themes answer or illustrate better the research questions and the concluding remarks are presented in section seven.

Solidarity, grassroots initiatives and power relations – Αλληλεγγύη, δομές βάσης και σχέσεις εξουσίας


The article is accessible at http://wer.worldeconomicsassociation.org/papers/solidarity-grassroots-initiatives-and-power-relations/

and the Abstract is:

Although solidarity is not a recent phenomenon, the emergence of new or re-invented forms of production and sharing that are based on that principle, has raised again several burning questions of what solidarity is and how far it can go, particularly under circumstances that may prove devastating for individuals, households and communities. The present paper is a result of both theoretical and empirical research regarding several types of grassroots initiatives which have functioned in Greece during the last six years. It investigates solidarity-related economic structures in order to clarify related questions, shows the complexity of practiced solidarity, identifies the main lines where solidarity might collide with power at the expense of the disadvantaged, and explores possible means of preventing power from invading those structures and thereby interfering with the survival of people and their communities.

Το άρθρο δημοσιεύθηκε πολύ πρόσφατα και είναι στα αγγλικά, προσβάσιμο εδώ http://wer.worldeconomicsassociation.org/papers/solidarity-grassroots-initiatives-and-power-relations/


Μολονότι η αλληλεγγύη δεν είναι πρόσφατο φαινόμενο, η εμφάνιση νέων ανα-εφευρημένων μορφών παραγωγής και ανταλλαγής που βασίζονται στην εν λόγω αρχή, έθεσε και πάλι διάφορα φλέγοντα ερωτήματα ως προς το τί είναι αλληλεγγύη και σε ποιά έκταση μπορεί να φτάσει, ιδιαίτερα από συνθήκες που μπορεί να αποδειχθούν καταστροφικές για ανθρώπους, νοικοκυριά και κοινότητες. Η παρούσα μελέτη είναι αποτέλεσμα θεωρητικής και εμπειρικής έρευνας σχετικά με διάφορους τύπους πρωτοβουλιών βάσης που λειτουργούν στην Ελλάδα κατά τη διάρκεια των τελευταίων έξι ετών. Διερευνά τις οικονομικές δομές που σχετίζονται με την αλληλεγγύη προκειμένου να αποσαφηνίσει σχετικές ερωτήσεις, δείχνει την πολυπλοκότητα της αλληλεγγύης στην πράξη, εντοπίζει τις κύριες γραμμές όπου η αλληλεγγύη θα μπορούσε να συγκρούεται με την εξουσία εις βάρος των πιο αδυνάμων, και διερευνά πιθανούς τρόπους να αποτραπεί η εξουσία από το να εισβάλει στις εν λόγω δομές παρεμβαίνοντας έτσι στην επιβίωση των ανθρώπων και των κοινοτήτων τους.




Built to be kind – Φτιαγμένοι να είμαστε ευγενείς


Η επόμενη ερώτηση που έχω είναι πώς κατορθώνουν οι πλούσιοι να μην αισθάνονται τα ίδια συναισθήματα συμπάθειας όπως οι υπόλοιποι άνθρωποι, όπως λέει ο καθηγητής Κέλτνερ στο βίντεο. Την ίδια ερώτηση έχω σχετικά με τους σεξιστές και τους ρατσιστές.

The next question i have is how rich people achieve not to feel the same sympathy as the rest of people, as Prof. Keltner says in the video. I have the same question concerning sexists and racists.


Αλληλεγγύη στους Σύρους πρόσφυγες


που είναι ήδη 5 μέρες στο Σύνταγμα και ξεκίνησαν σήμερα απεργία πείνας. Χρειάζονται τρόφιμα, ρούχα, κουβέρτες, την παρουσία μας, ό,τι μπορεί ο καθένας.

Syroi apergia peinas

Να σας τους γνωρίσω, γιατί είναι δικοί μου άνθρωποι και συγγενείς μου:
Αυτή με το μπλε μαντήλι είναι η προγιαγιά μου η Σταυρούλα, που με ένα μωρό στην αγκαλιά πέρασε με τα πόδια τον Έβρο, έχοντας χάσει ήδη την αδερφή της υπό αδιευκρίνιστες συνθήκες. Αυτοί που έρχονταν λίγο πιο μετά πήγαν να περάσουν το ποτάμι αλλά εφερε μια κατεβασιά από τις φθινοπωρινές βροχές και τους έπνιξε μπροστά στα μάτια όλων και κανείς δεν πρόλαβε να κάνει τίποτε. Μόνο να το λένε κατάφεραν, ότι δεν ήταν έτσι εύκολο, απέναντι ο στρατός με τα όπλα να σε κυνηγά, μπροστά το ποτάμι.
Δίπλα ο προπάππος μου ο Νεραντζής, δουλευταράς, αγαπούσε πολύ τα παιδιά, έχασε τα πάντα εκτός από γυναίκα και παιδί, δούλεψε μια ζωή για να μην τους λείψει τίποτε. Λίγο πιο πίσω, η άλλη προγιαγιά, η Μαρία, αυτή είναι άλλη αρχοντογυναίκα το βλέπεις, και πολύ απαιτητική, δεν της άρεσαν ποτέ τα βιομηχανικά ρούχα, τα διόρθωνε καινούρια αλλιώς δεν τα φόραγε. Χήρα με δυο παιδιά πέρασε τον Έβρο και την πέταξε το ελληνικό κράτος σε ένα σχολείο μαζί με άλλες οικογένειες, όλοι στο πάτωμα να κοιμηθούν.
Αυτή τη φορά δεν ζητάνε ούτε αυτό, ένα χαρτί ζητούν για να φύγουν από την Ελλάδα. Την προηγούμενη φορά ήταν τουρκόσποροι, τώρα Σύροι.