Social memory and ethnic identity : ancient Greek drama performances as commemorative ceremonies
This thesis is an ethnographic account of ancient Greek drama performances that take place in contemporary Greece. It illuminates an aspect of them that has not been taken into account until today: it treats them as commemorative ceremonies that produce, reproduce, and transmit social memory. The interrelation and interdependence between social memory and ethnic identity construction processes are analysed and it is shown that ancient drama performances, due to specific characteristics, constitute something more than mere theatrical events (as they are defined within the Western tradition). These performances, convey, sustain, and transmit from one generation to the next, perceptions of a glorious culture of the past, and become, for its creators and spectators, occasions for celebrating and remembering their ethnic past.