Economic crisis and integration: Deconstructing social borders in Rhodes Island

Panagiotis Kimourtzis, Georgios Kokkinos, Ioannis V Papageorgiou, Ioannis F Papageorgiou


Greece has been the focus of the mass media because of the ongoing economic crisis and the mixed migration flows that use the country as entry point to Europe. Although conceptually different, both phenomena converge in a vicious cycle that triggers an othering process. The economic crisis transfers Greece from the geopolitical centre to the periphery making the country dependent on the external economic and political decision making. Nevertheless, apart from being at the border, Greece is also the border of Europe. Peripherality appoints to Greece an instrumental role for the management of migration. Boundaries as “thresholds” produce patters of inclusion and exclusion creating by that perceptions of the Self and the Other. To that extent, the instrumental role of Greece as consequence of its peripherisation amplifies locally an othering process. Based on a different function of borders and peripheries, namely the endorsement of antagonistic narratives, this article discusses potential interventions in that vicious cycle. A local cultural diversity in Rhodes, Greece, the Rhodian Muslim community has been the receiving end of diversity management policies with particular emphasis on education throughout the 20th century. The knowledge accumulated may support new efforts countering the othering process. 


Grecia se ha situado en el centro de atención de los medios de comunicación a causa de la actual crisis económica y de los flujos migratorios mixtos que utilizan el país como punto de entrada a Europa. Ambos fenómenos convergen en un círculo vicioso que desencadena un proceso de alterización. La crisis económica mueve a Grecia desde el centro geopolítico a la periferia, haciendola dependiente de la toma de decisiones económicas y políticas externas. Además de estar en la frontera, Grecia es también la frontera de Europa. La perifericidad le atribuye un papel instrumental en la gestión de la migración. Los límites como "umbrales" producen patrones de inclusión y exclusión que se crean por esa percepción de Sí mismo y del Otro. El papel instrumental de Grecia como consecuencia de su periferización amplifica localmente un proceso de alterización. Basado en una función diferente de las fronteras y las periferias, y con el respaldo de narrativas antagónicas, en este artículo se discuten posibles intervenciones en ese círculo vicioso. Una diversidad cultural local en Rodas (Grecia), la comunidad musulmana rodesa, ha sido la receptora de las políticas de gestión de la diversidad con particular énfasis en educación a través del siglo XX. El conocimiento acumulado puede respaldar nuevos esfuerzos para contrarrestar el proceso de alterización. 


Borders; Periphery; Integration; Migration; Rhodes

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