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'They became big in the shadow of the crisis': The Greek success story and the rise of the far right

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/07/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Discourse and Society
Issue number4
Volume25
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)540-565
<mark>State</mark>Published
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Greece has been in ‘crisis’ for six consecutive years now and during this time living standards have dropped considerably for the majority of the population, strict austerity measures have been implemented and unemployment has reached a record figure of 27.8% (with a Eurozone average of 12%). At the same time, a ‘success story’ is prominent in dominant discourses where Greece is portrayed to have achieved a primary budget surplus and according to which the ‘worst has passed’. The dire consequences of austerity, the political polarisation of Greek society and the rise of the far-right party Golden Dawn (GD), however, indicate a much less positive picture. In this context, the article aims to problematise the complex nexus of relationships between the financial crisis and the re-emergence of the extreme right-wing party, GD. The discussion draws on an analysis of 1497 postings from the online website of the British newspaper, The Guardian. We focus on discourse strategies for attributing/resisting blame emerging from the analysis of the postings, but also as negotiated in two popular threads on the online discussion board. The article takes a critical stance and combines the discourse-historical approach with a micro analysis of the interaction. This allows us to pay special attention to the multiple layers of context and to combine the macro and the micro in the constructions of blame and sense making of the crisis. Analysis of the data shows that a range of actors is held responsible for the current situation, while the rise of GD is constructed both as a ‘product of’ and ‘movement against’ the crisis. We close the article with the implications of our study and areas for further research.