fdb – Forschungsdatenbank der Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)


Ekaterine Kartvelishvili: Constructing “Europe” from the margins – the view of Soviet Greek immigrants to Greece

VortagendeR Ekaterine Kartvelishvili, Concha Maria Höfler
Tagung Europe in Discourse: Identity, Diversity, Borders
Ort Athen, Griechenland
Jahr 2016


In this paper, we propose to look at the construction of “Europe” from its margins, namely through the eyes of Soviet Greek immigrants to Greece from Georgia. They are a particularly interesting group to work with as they have had to come to terms not only with the unsettling experience of migrating to another country but also with rather unexpectedly (and at times violently) encountering rejection in terms of not being accepted as “real Greeks” – something they had been categorized as and categorized themselves as since Ottoman times (Sideri 2006). Leaving the collapsing Soviet Union, they were and are categorized as “Greeks” by the Greek government but not in everyday interactions, especially not if they are not perceived as speaking flawless Standard Modern Greek (Hionidou 2012; Vergeti 1991).

20 semi-structured interviews of Georgian Greek immigrants to Greece centering on their migration experiences and self-identification(s) are analyzed with regards to how interviewees position themselves vis-à-vis the “Europe” they have encountered through their migration and everyday life in Greece. The method of analysis is an ethnographically informed conversation analysis (Deppermann 2000) that focuses on the categories that are interactively established, ascribed and evaluated following the model of Hausendorf (2000). The proposed paper will shed light on a discourse on “Europe” that does not usually take center stage.

  • Deppermann, A. Ethnographische Gesprächsanalyse: Zu Nutzen und Notwendigkeit von Ethnographie für die Konversationsanalyse Gesprächsforschung - Online-Zeitschrift zur verbalen Interaktion, 2000, 1, 96-124.
  • Hausendorf, H. Zugehörigkeit durch Sprache. Eine Linguistische Studie am Beispiel der Deutschen Wiedervereinigung Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2000.
  • Hionidou, V. 'Abroad I was Greek and in Greece I am a foreigner`: Pontic Greeks from former Soviet Union in Greece. Journal of Modern Greek Studies, 2012, 30, 103-127.
  • Sideri, Eleni (2006) The Greeks of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Memories and practices of diaspora, PhD thesis, SOAS, University of London.
  • Vergeti, M. Pontic Greeks from Asia Minor and the Soviet Union: Problems of integration in modern Greece Journal of Refugee Studies, 1991, 4, 382-394

Einordnung in die Universitätsstruktur

Fakultät Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Lehrstuhl Professur für Sprachgebrauch und Sprachvergleich
Forschungsprojekt The impact of current transformational processes on language and ethnic identity: Urum and Pontic Greeks in Georgia