Deftly combining archival sources with evocative life histories, Anastasia Karakasidou brings welcome clarity to the contentious debate over ethnic identities and nationalist ideologies in Greek Macedonia. Her vivid and detailed account demonstrates that contrary to official rhetoric, the current people of Greek Macedonia ultimately derive from profoundly diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Throughout the last century, a succession of regional and world conflicts, economic migrations, and shifting state formations has engendered an intricate pattern of population movements and refugee resettlements across the region. Unraveling the complex social, political, and economic processes through which these disparate peoples have become culturally amalgamated within an overarchingly Greek national identity, this book provides an important corrective to the Macedonian picture and an insightful analysis of the often volatile conjunction of ethnicities and nationalisms in the twentieth century.
"Combining the thoughtful use of theory with a vivid historical ethnography, this is an important, courageous, and pioneering work which opens up the whole issue of nation-building in northern Greece."—Mark Mazower, University of Sussex
One rarely encounters a scholarly book as disturbing as this provocative work, a study of ethnicity in the Greek province of Macedonia. It is so controversial that Cambridge University Press, fearing for the safety of its staff in Greece, refused to publish it. Having spent some time with villagers of the region, Karakasidou (anthropology, Queens Coll., CUNY) maintains that Macedonia is not exclusively Greek, as nationalists claim, but is instead a multiethnic, multicultural region experiencing the political and religious upheavals engulfing the rest of the Balkans. Karakasidou's obsession with the truth has brought her death threats, apparently from outraged Greeks. Her powerfully written book is a resounding statement of human courage, reminding readers that there is no substitute for honesty and critical thought. This superb book is highly recommended for all large social science collections.John Xanthopoulos, Art Inst. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.