Manolis Pratsinakis is a research fellow at the Institute of Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES) and a lecturer at the Graduate school and the College of Social Sciences. He has studied Human Geography and Sociology (with honors) and completed his PhD in Anthropology. His academic interests concern the study of migration and nationalism and his current work focuses on the study of established-outsiders relations, ethnic boundaries and categorization and access to social resources. He has written articles on the impact of ideologies of national belonging on representations of otherness, immigrants' responses to stigmatization, the development of immigrants' intimate social networks as well as immigrants' access to housing.
Manolis has primarily used qualitative and ethnographic methods in his research but he is also experienced in survey analysis.
Immigrants and natives are thought of as opposing categories in relation to their belongingness to the nation-state in which they cohabit. Although the centrality of ideologies of national belonging in structuring immigrant–native relations is generally acknowledged in the literature, limited research has been done on how those ideologies are experienced and negotiated in everyday life. My study set out to enquire into this issue by focusing on a rather exceptional case of migration, namely that of people who have always lived outside the borders of the nation, but who are nonetheless regarded as co-nationals. It is an ethnography of the relationship between two categories of residents in a neighbourhood in Thessaloniki, Greece – one comprising Greeks born and raised in the country, the other also being of Greek descent, but having immigrated from countries formerly belonging to the Soviet Union and lacking any roots within the borders of the Greek state. Breaking with those theoretical perspectives that either assume the nationalistic standpoint or ignore it as if it did not matter, it aims to uncover, analyse and problematize the hegemonic power of ideologies of national belonging in structuring immigrant-native relations in everyday life.
Below you can find the concluding chapter of the book
From 2008 onwards several neighborhoods in central Athens became the scene of an ideological battle often culminating in street confrontations between neo-fascists on the one hand and radical left and anarchist groups on the other. The former group, led by the neo-Nazi organization Golden Dawn, acted as a self-proclaimed protector of the native populations living in those areas. The latter groups acted as de facto protectors of immigrants. At the symbolic level, this battle was staged over defining who is the victim and who is the perpetrator in a relationship framed as antipodal: immigrants against natives and vice versa. The incidents attracted extensive media coverage and triggered a moral panic about what was seen as the ghettoization of central Athens. Popular media represented the multiple degradation of certain areas in central Athens as a new phenomenon; one imported by the immigrants living there. In the 2010 Municipal elections, Golden Dawn, representing itself as an organization which assists the Greek people, fights against the immigrants and substitutes for the increasingly absent Greek state, wins one seat in the Athens city council. Two years later, campaigning on the slogan “so we can rid this land of filth” and symbolically using the case of central Athens as an example of how it will act at the national level, Golden Dawn manages a twenty-fold electorate growth in the parliamentary elections. In that period the financial crisis in Greece has deepened and an extensive area of the centre of Athens, including the Amity (Omónia) square -the central square of Athens- is represented as a no-go area and ‘the dump’ (Skoupidótopos) of Athens and Greece in general.
Despite the symbolic significance attributed on the relationship between immigrants and natives living in the centre of Athens by different actors, no research has yet enquired into the subject by involving the residents of those areas themselves. What are the actual experiences of everyday coexistence in the centre of Athens and how do those experiences relate to the politicized master narratives that have dominated public discussion on this issue? Are immigrant-native relations really as polarized as represented by popular media? This research aims to look into this issue by recounting the experiences, fears and hopes of people, both immigrants and natives, living in a deprived area of central Athens focusin on one polykatikía next to Amity Square.
In the period 2008-2011 I worked as researcher in the FP7 project GEITONIES [ http://geitonies.fl.ul.pt ], employed by the University of Macedonia, Greece. The project focuses on the development of relationships between immigrants and natives at the neighbourhood level. A survey was conducted in 18 neighbourhoods in 6 European cities among a randomly selected sample of 200 respondents (100 immigrants and 100 natives) in each neighbourhood. Bellow you may find links to two reports drafted at earlier stages of the research. The first presents the social geography of Thessaloniki and the second a priliminary analysis of the survey's results in the same city. Currently we are working on a paper drawing on the complete data set. It explores the factors influencing the development of immigrants' intimate interethnic relations. We look at variables pertaining both to respondent characteristics and to the localities within which our respondents are nested.