Anatolian embodiments in a Hellenic context : the case of Reisderiani Mikrasiates refugees.
My thesis concerns Aghios Dimitrios, a rural community established by
refugees from Asia Minor after the Catastrophe of 1922 in Lemnos, a
North Aegean Greek island. A contribution to studies on social identity,
it is concerned with the sense of belonging and how this is experienced
by members of this group after long term settlement. The inhabitants of
Aghios Dimitrios express a distinctive sense of identity in the
terminology that they use to identify themselves, in their narratives and
in a wide range of practises associated with labouring, singing, dancing
and food making. My main aim is to show how the inhabitants of this
community represent themselves in relation to their Ottoman and refugee
past in contrast to indigenous Lemnians and other Greeks, on the one
hand; however, I am also fundamentally concerned with the profound
tension between the terms and the practices that they activate to represent
themselves in relation to national, generic images of Mikrassiates. I
argue that the belated national incorporation of a huge number of
Mikrassiates, usually relocated at the geographical margins of the nation,
has enabled the stubborn persistence of multiple pre-national, non 'pure'
embodiments and recollections associated with their recent past in the
context of the Ottoman Empire. My investigations used participant
observation and oral history techniques to document a broad range of
practices of daily life: narratives on the past, songs, labour and the social
life of objects of material culture. I also explored written records such as
journals, literary texts, newspapers and archival records.