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Surplus Citizens: Struggles in the Greek Crisis, 2010-2014

Kotouza, Dimitra (2015) Surplus Citizens: Struggles in the Greek Crisis, 2010-2014. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:55614)

Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only until 6 December 2026.
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This thesis analyses the social struggles that occurred between 2010 and 2014 during the crisis in Greece: labour struggles, the movement of the squares, demonstrations and riots, neighbourhood assemblies, solidarity projects and economies, local environmental struggles, and anti-fascist and migrants' struggles. It discusses their internal and external limits in the historical specificity of the contemporary crisis and class relation.

Drawing critically on Théorie Communiste's periodising schema, these struggles are framed, first, through a shift in the dynamic of the class relation effected by the crisis and the restructuring, which is a continuation of the first phase of 'neoliberal' restructuring in the 1990s. This shift intensified a central capitalist contradiction: while the capital relation imposes most violently the absolute dependence of subsistence on the wage, the wage relation fails to guarantee subsistence and integrates proletarians as surplus to capitalist reproduction. Second, the struggles are framed through the deep political crisis of state sovereignty and the relation between state and civil society, caused by the relentless imposition of the restructuring in conjunction with supranational institutions. These historical transformations are traced through the mutual constitution of international tendencies and the development of class struggle in Greece, against theories of dependency and underdevelopment. Ideological responses to the financial crisis and the logic of the restructuring are interrogated by employing theories of value, fetishism, and the state influenced by the German 'value-form' debate. Foucault-influenced conceptions of governmentality and sovereignty are also deployed to examine the restructuring's forms of imposition and the biopolitical crisis-management strategies of the state, which reinforced the racialised and gendered constitution of civil society.

The thesis argues that these two elements, the changing dynamic of the class relation and the crisis of the state and civil society, defined the struggles of this period, in which two core characteristics can be identified. First, labour struggles confronted the dilemma between the necessity and inadequacy of the wage through an ambivalence between their attachment to work and their estrangement from it. This ambivalence did not question the terms of the dilemma posed, which were only questioned fleetingly in riots that interrupted the normality of commodity exchange. Second, the deep political crisis provoked struggles defending democracy, with the disempowered 'Greek citizen' as their central subject, which constitutively excluded migrants. The splitting of these struggles between leftwing anti-imperialist and rightwing anti-immigration nationalism, and into a struggle between fascism and anti-fascism, were not able to challenge this constitutive exclusion, which was only questioned by migrants' own struggles. Nationalism and the drive to reinforce unsettled social hierarchies played into the governmental effort to contain the political crisis, through the state's biopolitical management of the migrant and marginal, racialised and gendered surplus populations produced in the crisis.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: MacKenzie, Iain
Additional information: This thesis is now restricted. Please see the related resource link for details of the published book 27/09/19
Uncontrolled keywords: Greece crisis movements capitalism restructuring surplus-population state class nationalism immigrants racism gender indignados self-organisation anti-fascism fetishism value-form biopolitics finance
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DF Greece
J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 19 May 2016 13:00 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2023 13:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Kotouza, Dimitra.

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