Spyridon TSOUTSOUMPIS

Academic Year:
2020/2021

Research Program:
N+N

Affiliation:
Independent scholar

Country:
Greece

Research project: Lords of the Border marches: Paramilitarism and State-Making in 20th Century Northern Greece (1912-1967)

The project explores the origins, articulation and legacies of paramilitary violence in 20th century Greece with a particular reference to the northern borderlands of Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace. The project discusses the motivation of rank and file paramilitaries, their role in the perpetration of violence and ethnic cleansing policies and the long term impact of their activities in the nation-building process. Yet, my purpose is not to simply recount the story of a violent subset of men or discuss the history of a marginal border area. My intention is to use the story of the development and activities of local paramilitaries as a vantage point that would allow to question and reassess central assumptions about the relationship between paramilitary mobilization and nation–building and address issues which are at the heart of ongoing debates about paramilitarism in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe; recruitment and motivation of rank and file members, variations and patterns of violence, the relationship between the state and the militias, and the role of paramilitary actors in formulating new political practices and constellations of governance. The project will therefore bring new insights both to current discussions about paramilitarism and shed new light on the tortuous inception of the nation-state within and beyond South-Eastern Europe.