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Philanthropy or solidarity? Ethical dilemmas about humanitarianism in crisis afflicted Greece

Theodossopoulos, Dimitrios (2016) Philanthropy or solidarity? Ethical dilemmas about humanitarianism in crisis afflicted Greece. Social Anthropology (Journal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists), 24 (2). pp. 167-184. ISSN 0964-0282. (doi:10.1111/1469-8676.12304) (KAR id:52390)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1469-8676.12304

Abstract

That philanthropy perpetuates the conditions that cause inequality is an old argument shared by thinkers such as Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde and Slavoj Zizek. I recorded the same argument in conversations regarding a growing humanitarian concern in austerity-ridden Greece. At the local level a number of solidarity initiatives provide the most impoverished families with humanitarian help. Some citizens participate in such initiatives wholeheartedly, while some other citizens criticize solidarity movements drawing primarily from Marxist-inspired arguments, such as, for example, that humanitarianism rationalises state inaction. The local narratives presented in this article bring forward two parallel possibilities engendered by the humanitarian face of social solidarity: first, its empowering potential (where solidarity initiatives enhance local social awareness), and second, the de-politicisation of the crisis and the experience of suffering (a liability that stems from the effectiveness of humanitarianism in ameliorating only temporarily the superficial consequences of the crisis). These two overlapping possibilities can help us problematise the contextual specificity and strategic employment of humanitarian solidarity in times of austerity.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/1469-8676.12304
Uncontrolled keywords: Solidarity, Marxist critique of philanthropy, austerity, financial crisis, Greece
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Dimitrios Theodossopoulos
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2015 18:13 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:30 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/52390 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Theodossopoulos, Dimitrios: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8453-3450
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