Audit Cultures: Anthropological Studies in Accountability, Ethics, and the Academy

By Marilyn Strathern | Go to book overview

Chapter 10

Disciples, discipline and reflection

Anthropological encounters and trajectories

Dimitra Gefou-Madianou

Greece offers a pertinent case-study for reflection on current conditions of European intellectual production. This may sound ironic, in that Greece does not really have a centuries old academic tradition like the rest of Western Europe. As it is, social anthropology and other social science departments were established in Greek universities only in the early 1980s. That period was characterized by two main features: first, a democratization process following the end of a seven-year dictatorship in 1974; second, the country's increasingly prevailing European orientation. The introduction of the Reformative Law for Higher Education Institutions in 1982 sought to update and modernize the state-controlled system of higher education in line with the best intellectual traditions of the West. 1 Young foreign-trained academics, among others, now saw their political activities against the junta-often conducted from host countries in the West-bearing fruit. With the European civil social structures and their universities as prototypes, the prevailing intellectual, political climate in Greece was one of critical thinking and reflection.

At the same time, in the 1980s, Greece inherited from Europe another newer feature of the modernization process, that of an economistic bureaucracy: the audit culture of accountability and cost-efficiency (cf. Herzfeld 1992:149). This adversely influenced the reflective mood of academia and made successive governments rethink the nature and scope of higher education. The same Europe that had provided intellectual possibilities to a post-dictatorial Greece was now scurrying along in an attempt to muzzle them.

What this chapter intends to show is the advent and development of social anthropology in Greece within a wider historical framework covering the period between the mid-1970s and the

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