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Karakatsouli, Anna. “Conflicting Claims over the Legacy of 1821: The Case of the Far Right in Greece.” Journal of Modern Greek Studies 39, no. 1 (May 2021): 71–91.


As the founding event of the modern Greek State, the 1821 War of Independence is a reference point for the political left and right. Both sides have claimed its memory, defending diverging readings of the national past that reflect contemporary challenges and political beliefs. On the eve of the Bicentenary of the Greek Revolution, radical ultranationalist and authoritarian interpretations of 1821 tend to dominate the public space. After a brief survey of key twentieth century milestones, I shall probe contemporary uses and appropriations of 1821 by the far right as a means to ensure political legitimacy and moral authority. The far-right approach implicates an “issue ownership” strategy that casts the right as the only authentic heir and vindicator of national history and identity. Our argument focuses on lay representations of history and its use by politicians and opinion leaders, i.e., on the kind of historical knowledge that circumvents academia and addresses the wider public.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.