Monday, December 29, 2008

Anthony D.Smith: the "ethnie model” and the Slav-speaking Greeks of Macedonia

Anthony D. Smith is one of most important worldwide contemporary scholars of ethnology, nationalim similar of Hobsbawm, Gellner and Anderson. He is Editor-in-Chief of the scholarly journal Nations and Nationalism (Cambridge University Press) and is the author of many books on the subject including his "classic" The Ethnic origins of Nations. He is a former student of the lnown philosopher and anthropologist Ernest Gellner, but did not share his view of nationalism in the long run. He created an approach of nationalism he called ethnosymbolism, which is a synthesis of modernist and traditional views on the subject.

According to Smith a
nation-state can be defined as “a state claming to be a nation”, while a nation, can be defined as “a named population sharing an historic territory, common myths and historical memories, a mass public culture, a common economy and common legal rights and duties for its members”. An ethnie is in turn defined as ”a named population sharing a collective proper name, a presumed common ancestry, shared historical memories, one or more differencing elements of common culture, an association with a specific ‘homeland’ and a sense of solidarity for significant sectors of the population”.

From the above you can realize that Smith theory fix in our argument that
modern Greeks are the descendants of all the peoples who have adopted and retained that language and that civilization from classical times to the present. I am not claim that genetic purity is an ideal for the Greek people and the others racist thinks. Even genetist Sforza put two others factors except the clusters and these are the language and the history. Modern Greek nation is not an entirely modern formation, for it is based on much older cultural groups (ethnies). Greek ethnies (like Arvanites, Vlachs, Ionians, Pontians, Slavophones Macedonians ,etc.) present "permanent cultural attributes" such as memory, value, myths and symbolisms. Greek ethnies present a common cultural origin descending from ancient Greece and Byzantium. Thus, as Smith points out, "the challenge for scholars is to represent more accurately and convincingly the relationship of ethnic, cultural (Greek) past to modern (Greek) nation".(I add the "Greek")

Let’s see what Smith said as about the Greek ethnies and the modern Greek national identity….

But his genetic and physical inference from cases of ethnic durability cannot account for the considerable variability, wide range and frequent absorptions and dissolutions of instances of ethnic affiliation, and the fact that many ethnies have undergone large-scale changes of culture and, in some cases, of demography. This is the case even in such a culturally long-lived example as the Greeks, where undoubted evidence of massive rupture of demographic continuity by the influx of Albanians and Slavs on the Greek mainland from the sixth to eighth centuries AD and of considerable, though not complete, culture change after the conversion to Orthodoxy, call into question the continuity and influence of a common ancient Greek biological and genetic inheritance on modern Greeks.
[Nationalism and Modernism, 2003, page 150]

Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Persians, Chinese and Japanese could be cited as examples of ethnic continuity, since, despite massive cultural changes over the centuries, certain key identifying components—name, language, customs, religious community and territorial association—were broadly maintained and reproduced for millennia.
[Nationalism and Modernism, 2003, page 191]

The problem of ethnic survival seemed particularly important for later nationalisms: the ability to call on a rich and well documented ‘ethno-history’ was to prove a major cultural resource for nationalists, and myths of origins, ethnic election and sacred territories, as well as memories of heroes and golden ages, were crucial to the formulation of a many-stranded ethno-history. All this points to the importance of social memory; as the example of the relationship between modern and ancient Greeks shows, ethnies are constituted, not by lines of physical descent, but by the sense of continuity, shared memory and collective destiny, i.e. by lines of cultural affinity embodied in myths, memories, symbols and values retained by a given cultural unit of population.
[Nationalism and Modernism, 2003, page 192]

This is not to deny for one moment cither the enormous cultural changes undergone by the Greeks despite a surviving sense of common ethnicity or the cultural influence of surrounding peoplesand civilizations over two thousand years. At the same time in terms of script and language, certain values, a particular environment and its nostalgia, continuous social interactions, and a sense of religious and cultural difference, even exclusion, a sense of Greek identity and common sentiments of ethnicity can be said to have persisted beneath the many social and political changes of the last two thousand years.
[National Identity, 1991, pages 29-30]

Macedonian cultural group or " ethnie" of the modern Greek nation are the Slav-speaking Greeks or “Grecomans” as identified in the 19th century by the Bulgarians as a derogatory term to define these Greeks. Bulgarians used at the past this term in those who remained firm to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and to Hellenism.
It is interesting to note that in 1883, despite the growth of the Bulgarian national and ecclessiastical movement, the situation in terms of ecclesiastical affiliation in the northern “border” bishoprics of the contested central zone presented the following picture Bishopric of Ohrid and Prespa, patriarchist families 3030, exarchist 6003, Bishopric of Pelagonia (Monastir), patriarchist 6459, exarchist 4988, Bishopric of Moglena (Florina), patriarchist 2433, exarchist 699. The majority of these patriarchists were Vlachophone and Slavophone “Grecomans”.

Today Slavmacedonists of the FYROM replaced the Bulgarians and call the billinguals Greeks with this derogatory term. Through their partiotic sentiments and their devotion to Greek traditions and Greek culture, the Slav-speaking Greeks of Macedonia express their vigorous determination to be Greeks.

Concluded this article , Anthony D. Smith is the perfect modern answer in those that deny the Greek continuity of the Greek nation thought centuries and specially the Slav-speaking Greeks of Macedonia.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Commentators have the exclusive responsibility of their writings, the material that they mention, as well as and the opinions that they express.