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dc.contributor.advisorJackson, Steven J
dc.contributor.advisorCruz Banks, Ojeya
dc.contributor.authorKalogeropoulou, Sofia
dc.identifier.citationKalogeropoulou, S. (2013). Dancing Greekness: Folk Dance and National Identity in Greece (Thesis, Master of Dance Studies). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThis study examines the role of folk dance in constructing national identity in Greece. It illustrates the contribution of folk dance in shaping ethnic identity in the independence movement in early 19th century Greece and affirming national identity in the new Greek state. In addition, it addresses the continuous influence of folk dance in enhancing and renewing national identity in contemporary Greece. I argue that while folk dance acts as a uniting device amongst members of national communities, its practice of everyday nationalism can also be transformed into a political ritual that accentuates differences and projects chauvinism and extreme nationalism with a potential for conflict. This is illustrated by a case study of the new Macedonian question where folk dance has been implicated in nationalist disputes within the Balkans over the last twenty years. While previous research (Shay 2002; 2006) has focused on the instrumental use of folk dance as a national representation in theatrical performances, this study explores the practice of folk dance in community life such as social gatherings, religious festivities and rites of passage. It also offers a different perspective on the links between culture, dance and national consciousness. Whereas ethnographic research by scholars such as Allenby-Jaffé (2006) and Wingrave and Harrold (1984) provides an archive of various regional and national dances and describes their form and aesthetics, this study shows how the idea of national folk dance is socially constructed by bringing together the dances of a variety of regions while simultaneously excluding other ethnicities and nationalities. I position my research within the debates over the historical formation of nations and their continuous reproduction. The analytical framework is shaped by sociological accounts of the development of national identity, in particular Smith’s (2009) ethnosymbolist approach which argues that masses and elites interacted in constructing national identity in new nation-states in the 19th century. In that regard it foregrounds the role of cultural elements such as common memories, symbols, myths and traditions, including folk dance, in forming national consciousness and considers their contribution to the ongoing process of building national identity in the contemporary world. Drawing on Billig’s (1995) notion of “banal nationalism”, and in conjunction with my ethnographic fieldwork in Greece, I demonstrate the significance of folk dance in the everyday production and maintenance of collective identities, and its positive and negative consequences.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectNational identity
dc.subjectEveryday nationalism
dc.titleDancing Greekness: Folk Dance and National Identity in Greece
dc.language.rfc3066en of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences of Dance Studies of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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