Crisis, Exoticism and the Rediscovery of Greece

  • Dimitris TziovasEmail author
Part of the Reform and Transition in the Mediterranean book series (RTM)


Greece has been rediscovered in different periods and various ways in the past. This chapter explores how the image of Greece has been constructed in the period of the crisis by placing it in the wider historical context of the successive rediscoveries of the country over the centuries. The first ‘discovery’ of Greece relied more on an imaginary and idealistic approach, the second on a historical one promoting the ideal of continuity, the third tended to be more pragmatic and material, praising the landscape and light of Greece and thus constructing the Zorba stereotype. These approaches are disentangled in order to understand how the crisis reactivated both the idealistic and critical attitudes to Greece and offered a mixture of idealism, stereotypes and exoticism.


Philhellenism Exoticism Travel literature Stereotypes Idealism Cultural studies 


  1. Alexiou, M. (1974 [2002]). The Ritual Lament in Greek Tradition. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  2. Balibar, É. (2004). At the Borders of Europe. In We, the people of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship (pp. 1–10). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Batycka, D. (2017). Cultural Diplomacy and Artwashing at Documenta in Athens. Hyperallergic.Google Scholar
  4. Connoisseurs or Colonists? Documenta’s Controversial Stay in Athens. (2017 April 6). The Economist.Google Scholar
  5. D’Angour, A. (2012). Ancient Greek Solution for Debt Crisis. BBC.Google Scholar
  6. Damaskos, D. (2008). The Uses of Antiquity in Photographs by Nelly: Imported Modernism and Home-Grown Ancestor Worship in Inter-war Greece. In D. Damaskos & D. Plantzos (Eds.), A Singular Antiquity: Archaeology and Hellenic Identity in Twentieth-century Greece (pp. 321–336). Athens: Mouseio Benaki.Google Scholar
  7. Demos, T. J. (2017). Learning from documenta14: Athens, Post-Democracy, and Decolonisation. Third Text.Google Scholar
  8. Dobbin, M. (2015). We Are All (or Should Be) Greeks Now. Canadian Dimension.Google Scholar
  9. Dodman, B. (2015). From Hercules to Hemingway, Greece’s Debt Tragedy Gets Scholarly – And Silly. France 24.Google Scholar
  10. Douzinas, C. (2010). Greeks Must Fight the Neoliberal EU. The Guardian.Google Scholar
  11. Durrell, L. (1949). Hellene and Philhellene. Times Literary Supplement (pp. 305) The article was translated and published in the Anglo-Greek Review (‘Έλληνες και Φιλέλληνες’, 4/5, July–August 1949, 188–191).Google Scholar
  12. Fokianaki, I., & Varoufakis, Y. (2017, June 1). “We Come Bearing Gifts” – Iliana Fokianaki and Yanis Varoufakis on Documenta14 Athens. e-flux conversations.Google Scholar
  13. Garantoudis, E. (2018). Η ελληνική ποίηση στον καιρό του Varoufakis με τον τρόπο της Van Dyck [Greek Poetry in the Time of Varoufakis in Van Dyck’s Way]. Athens Review of Books (94), 20–22.Google Scholar
  14. Hamilakis, Y. (2008). Decolonizing Greek Archaeology: Indigenous Archaeologies, Modernist Archaeology and the Postcolonial Critique. In D. Damaskos & D. Plantzos (Eds.), A Singular Antiquity: Archaeology and Hellenic Identity in Twentieth-century Greece (pp. 273–284). Athens: Mouseio Benaki.Google Scholar
  15. Hanink, J. (2017). The Classical Debt: Greek Antiquity in an Era of Austerity. Cambridge, MA; London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. How Angry Street Art Is Making Athens Hip. (2017, September 30). The Economist.Google Scholar
  17. Isidorou, Y. (2018). Το πολιτικό (ως στάση) στην ποίηση (ως πράξη). [φρμκ] Farmako (11, 6–10).Google Scholar
  18. Kahane, L. (2015, October 7). Doing Documenta in Athens Is Like Rich Americans Taking a Tour in a Poor African Country. Spike Art Magazine.Google Scholar
  19. Kargiotis, D. (2017). Κρίση αναπαράστασης, κρίση εκπροσώπησης [Crisis of Presentation, Crisis of Representation]. Athens Review of Books (83), 58–62.Google Scholar
  20. Katsounaki, M. (2016a, September 7). Από την πλευρά του Τόνι Νέγκρι. I Kathimerini.Google Scholar
  21. Katsounaki, M. (2016b, September 11). Η τέχνη της κρίσης, η κρίση της τέχνης. I Kathimerini.Google Scholar
  22. Kourelou, O., Liz, M., & Vidal, B. (2014). Crisis and Creativity: The New Cinemas of Portugal, Greece and Spain. New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film, 12(1–2), 133–151. Scholar
  23. Lambropoulos, V. (2017, August 16). Are There Any Greeks in This Publication? (2). Piano Poetry Pantelis Politics.Google Scholar
  24. Latimer, Q., & Szymczyk, A. (2017). The documenta14 Reader. Germany: Prestel.Google Scholar
  25. Lawson, J. C. (1910). Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion: A Study in Survivals. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Learning from Athens – documenta14. (2017, February 28).
  27. Metra gia tsarouchia. (2016 June). Athens Review of Books.Google Scholar
  28. Nicolaou, E. (2018, July 21). Once You Notice This About Mamma Mia, You Can’t Unsee It. Refinery 29.Google Scholar
  29. Ober, J. (2015, July 13). Ancient Greece’s Answer to the Financial Crisis. Daily Beast.Google Scholar
  30. Panayotopoulos, N. (2009). On Greek Photography: Eurocentrism, Cultural Colonialism and the Construction of Mythic Classical Greece. Third Text, 23(2), 181–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Politakis, D. (2014, October 15). documenta14: Τι θα μας μάθει η Αθήνα το 2017; [documenta14: What will Athens teach us in 2017?]. Popaganda.Google Scholar
  32. Salles, A. (2015, February 2). Après la victoire de Syriza, Athènes veut «arrêter d’imiter Sisyphe». Le Monde.Google Scholar
  33. Smith, H. (2017, May 14). “Crapumenta!”… Anger in Athens as the Blue Lambs of Documenta Hit Town. The Guardian.Google Scholar
  34. Sotiropoulos, D. P. (2018, May 22). Νόου σπηκ ήνγκλις και οι σύγχρονοι Ζορμπάδες [No speak English and contemporary Zorbases]. I Kathimerini.Google Scholar
  35. Thompson, G. (1971). The Continuity of Hellenism. Greece and Rome, 18(1), 18–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tramboulis, T., & Tzirtzilakis, Y. (2018). When Crisis Becomes Form: Athens as a Paradigm. Stedelijk Studies (6).
  37. Tziovas, D. (2017). Narratives of the Greek Crisis and the Politics of the Past. In D. Tziovas (Ed.), Greece in Crisis: The Cultural Politics of Austerity (pp. 19–64). London: I. B. Tauris.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tziovas, D. (2018). Between Propaganda and Modernism: The Anglo-Greek Review and the Rediscovery of Greece. In P. Mackridge & D. Ricks (Eds.), The British Council and Anglo-Greek Literary Interactions 1945–1955 (pp. 123–154). London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Van Dyck, K. (2016a). Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  40. Van Dyck, K. (2016b, March 25). The New Greek Poetry. The Guardian.Google Scholar
  41. Varoufakis, Y. (2011). The Global Minotaur: America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy. London; New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  42. Varoufakis, Y. (2013). We Are All Greeks Now! The Crisis in Greece in Its European and Global Context. In R. Gropas (Ed.), The Greek Crisis and European Modernity (pp. 44–58). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Vronti, S. (2017, July 9). Ερωτήματα, απαντήσεις για την d14 της Αθήνας [Questions, answers about d14 of Athens]. I Kathimerini.Google Scholar
  44. Welsh, I. (2015, July 7). Interview with P. Menegos. Popaganda.Google Scholar
  45. Wilder, C. (2018, June 18). Athens, Rising. The New York Times.Google Scholar
  46. Woodhouse, C. M. (1969). The Philhellenes. London: Hodder & Stoughton.Google Scholar
  47. Zefkili, D. (2017). ‘Exercises of Freedom’: Documenta14. Third Text.Google Scholar


  1. Kathimerini, Le Monde, The Economist, The GuardianGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations