Open Seminar: What it means to be Greek: Ethnic identity construction among the third generation

By September 8, 2017Events
Date
Thursday 14 September 2017
Time
7:00pm
Website
Location
168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Enquiries
03 9662 2722

Thursday 14 September at The Greek Centre.

Free public lecture presented by Dr Pam Papadelos. Part of the Greek Community of Melbourne’s Greek History & Culture Seminars series.

Synopsis
People of Greek heritage have been part of Australia for more than a hundred years. This paper focuses on the ethnic identity formation of the grandchildren of Greeks who arrived in the period after the Second World War and before 1975. Initial findings from a survey of youth aged 18-30 years (third generation) will be presented with the purpose of gaining an understanding of what it means to be Greek for this cohort of Australians. Comparisons are drawn between their parent(s) (second generation) and grandparents (first generation) in relation to the continuing importance of identity markers such as language, religion, culture and cuisine (Smolicz, 2010; Tamis, 2005).

Survey data indicates that the third generation construct or embody their Greekness around culture, values and food, rather than language and religion. While most of this cohort (third gen) stated that they do not speak Greek well, or at all, or attend Greek Orthodox Church services the majority conveyed a pride in their Greek ancestry and either hyphenated their identity (Greek-Australian) or felt a distinct sense of ‘Greekness’ that separated them from the general population. Most respondents expressed their Greekness within their family setting with very few attending Greek social institutions or joining Greek organisations. Gans’ (1979) notion of ”symbolic” and ”optional” ethnicity is explored in relation to his suggestion that “ethnicity can survive without significant social or cultural participation” (Gans, 2009, p. 123). This paper presents the findings from my survey and then examines the implication for on-going group membership or mobilisation, which was previously based on language maintenance, religious observation and ethno-regional identity.

Bio
Pam Papadelos is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Criminology & Gender Studies at the University of Adelaide. Her teaching and research focus on the ways gender intersects with race, class and sexuality. Her current work examines the gendered dimensions of cross-cultural practices for second and third generation Australians. In particular, she engages with current debates in Australia on managing cultural diversity, strengthening social cohesion and widening concepts of national identity.

Sponsors
We’d like to thank the following donors: Ithacan Philanthropic Society.

During the course of the year considerable expenses are incurred in staging the seminars. In order to mitigate these costs individuals or organisations are invited to donate against a lecture of their choice.

You too can donate for one or more seminars and (optionally) let your name or brand be known as a patron of culture to our members, visitors and followers, as well as the broader artistic and cultural community of Melbourne.  Please email: info@greekcommunity.com.au or call 03 9662 2722.