Seeing Like a PIG: The Crisis in Greece as a Tale of Hope and Disillusionment

  • Rosa Vasilaki


Vasilaki pierces the limiting stereotypes through which economic ‘basket case’ countries are often envisaged. In recent years, the Greek response to the crisis has been widely debated by those who have seen the Greeks, along with others in the European South (Portugal, Italy and Spain, hence the acronym PIGS), as dysfunctional and old-fashioned. In stark contrast, the chapter proposes an alternative perspective which focuses on the vibrant political activism against austerity and the rise to power of the radical left-wing political party Syriza. It concludes that Syriza’s experience demonstrates why un-systemic thinking that challenges power itself, once power is seized, is essential for future social struggles.


Greek crisis Syriza PIGS Southern Europe Austerity 

Works Cited

  1. Agamben, Giorgio. 1998. Homo Sacer. Sovereign power and bare life. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ahmad, Aijaz. 1997. Postcolonial theory and the ‘post’ condition. The Socialist Register 33: 353–381.Google Scholar
  3. Andriakiana, Eleni. 2016. Public history, 1821 revolution and greek identity. In Defining identity and the changing scope of culture in the Digital Age, ed. Alison Novak and Imaani Jamillah El-Burki, 56–80. Hershey: IGI Global.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Armstrong, Aurelia. 2008. Beyond resistance: A response to Žižek’s critique of Foucault’s subject of freedom. Parrhesia 5: 19–31.Google Scholar
  5. Christopoulos, Dimitris. 2014. The ‘deep state’ in Greece today and the far right: Police, justice, church. Athens: Nisos—Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.Google Scholar
  6. Cinar, Kursat. 2016. A comparative analysis of clientelism in Greece, Spain, and Turkey: The rural–urban divide. Contemporary Politics 22 (1): 77–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Diamantouros, Nikiforos. 1994. Cultural dualism and political change in postauthoritarian Greece, Estudio/Working Paper, Center for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences. Madrid: Fundación Juan March.Google Scholar
  8. Featherstone, Kevin. 2008. ‘Varieties of capitalism’ and the Greek case: Explaining the constraints on domestic reform. GreeSe Paper 11, Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe. Accessed 24 Apr 2017.
  9. Fotopoulos, Takis. 2001. The end of traditional anti-systemic movements and the need for a new type of anti-systemic movement today. Democracy and Nature 7 (3): 415–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fukuyama, Francis. 1992. The end of history and the last man. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  11. Giddens, Anthony. 1991. Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  12. Harvey, David. 2005. A brief history of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Heller, Kevin Jon. 1996. Power, subjectification and resistance in Foucault. SubStance 25 (1): 78–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kirtsoglou, Elisabeth. 2013. The dark ages of the Golden Dawn: Anthropological analysis and responsibility in the twilight zone of the Greek crisis. Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 38 (1): 104–108.Google Scholar
  15. Kouvelakis, Stathis. 2016. Syriza’s rise and fall. New Left Review 97: 45–70.Google Scholar
  16. Mavrogordatos, George T. 1997. From traditional clientelism to machine politics: The impact of PASOK populism in Greece. South European Society and Politics 2 (3): 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ovenden, Kevin. 2015. Syriza: Inside the labyrinth. London: Pluto Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pickett, Brent L. 1996. Foucault and the politics of resistance. Polity 28 (4): 445–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Psarras, Dimitris. 2012. The black book of the Golden Dawn: Documents from the history and action of a Nazi group. Athens: Polis.Google Scholar
  20. Spivak, Gayatri. 1990. Poststructuralism, marginality, postcoloniality and value. In Literary theory today, ed. Peter Collier and Helga Geyer-Ryan, 198–222. New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Thedossopoulos, Dimitrios. 2014a. On depathologizing resistance. History and Anthropology 25 (4): 415–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. ———. 2014b. The ambivalence of anti-austerity indignation in Greece: Resistance, hegemony and complicity. History and Anthropology 25 (4): 488–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Vasilaki, Rosa. 2017. We are an image from the future: Reading back the Athens 2008 riots. Acta Scientiarum 29 (2): 153–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Žižek, Slavoj. 2009. First as tragedy, then as farce. London: Verso.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosa Vasilaki
    • 1
  1. 1.Panteion University of Social and Political SciencesAthensGreece

Personalised recommendations