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Ideology as blocked mourning: Greek national identity in times of economic crisis and austerity

Glynos, J and Voutyras, S (2016) 'Ideology as blocked mourning: Greek national identity in times of economic crisis and austerity.' Journal of Political Ideologies, 21 (3). 201 - 224. ISSN 1356-9317

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Abstract

© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This article approaches the 2010-2014 economic crisis in Greece from the perspective of loss and mourning, critically exploring what questions and insights this provokes. We argue first that the rhetoric of mainstream political and media elites has been instrumental in framing responses to the Greek economic crisis in patriotic terms, a frame subsequently adopted by groups from across the entire political spectrum, whether part of the establishment or not. We then draw on discourse theory and psychoanalysis to argue that attachments to the dominant austerity and anti-austerity responses to the crisis can be understood-at least in part-in terms of a failure (or not) to properly articulate and thus mourn the nationalist-inflected loss associated with economic dislocation. We sketch out two ideological pathways in the discourses of austerity and anti-austerity, which we designate as symptomatic of ‘blocked mourning’: a melancholic pathway that seeks to contain loss through self-blame; and a pathway of ressentiment that seeks to contain loss by attributing its cause to a series of ‘others’. We argue that blocked mourning bears a direct relation to the ideological grip of the austerity and anti-austerity discourses, and that we can better appreciate the character and strength of their affective pull by drawing out the fantasmatic aspects of the narratives expressing Greek national and economic identity. Conversely, we argue that a critique of ideology can be understood in terms of the preconditions for mourning, whose satisfaction would make possible a less invested relation to the fantasmatic guarantees underpinning the austerity/ anti-austerity narratives. In this view, a critique of ideology proceeds by bringing to light those factors that could facilitate a more open and deliberative articulation of loss, so as to transform and pluralize collective responses to the economic crisis.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Jason Glynos
Date Deposited: 23 May 2016 09:12
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2018 21:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/16770

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