Table of Contents
A – STUDIES IN HISTORICAL SOCIOLOGY: GENERAL METHODOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE GREEK CASE
B – RESEARCH PLAN
C – THE CASE OF THE DOURIDAS FACTORY
D – SOME SAMPLES OF PAPERS
E - THE PRESENTATION OF THE PAPERS IN THE REVIEW
F – THE BASIC ARCHIVAL SOURCES
G – THE LANGUAGE USED
A – STUDIES IN HISTORICAL SOCIOLOGY: GENERAL METHODOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE GREEK CASE
Our research work pertaining to Greek social history has been, and shall continue to be, a veritable work-in-progress. Both the field research itself, as also the writing of papers – based on the accessible primary sources – commenced in 2008. This work has been systematically continuing ever since. The texts to be presented constitute studies in historical sociology focusing on the Greek social formation in the 1950’s and through to the early-1980’s. For whatever research work, this does seem to cover a rather unmanageably long time span: in fact, our key target period shall be the 1960’s and 1970’s. The years prior to those two decades obviously paved the way for the emergent milieu of the 1960’s, while the years succeeding the 1970’s constitute the aftermath of such milieu – if only for this reason, we have had little choice but also delve into the years which circumscribed the 1960’s-1970’s conjuncture.
Our specific object of research has itself been confined to only certain dimensions of Greek social history (the role of political parties, trade unions and other social institutions – such as the Greek Orthodox Church – is hardly touched on in any systematic manner). Our primary sources – although incredibly rich in terms of available data – are nonetheless limited, at least in terms of the time period and geographical area they refer to. Even our methodological approach comes down to a rather selective usage of the tools of historical sociology. But the choice of our object of research has not been at all “accidental”, so to speak. Similarly, our methodological approach has been selected to serve that particular object of research that we have very consciously chosen to work on.
More specifically, our papers constitute studies centered around the working people of Aliartos, a smallish town in the regional unit of Boeotia, Greece, located 109 kilometers from Athens. Even more concretely, our studies are basically centered on Aliartians who had at some time or another worked for a particular Flour Mill Factory located in the area, the Ε.Ε. Ι. ΑΜΠΑΤΖΟΓΛΟΥ-Ι. ΜΑΡΑΚΗ & ΣΙΑ Company (to be henceforth referred to as the “A&M” Flour Mill, Factory or Company). This was a small or medium-sized factory that had been established in the period of the late-1940’s and which would continue its operations up until the early-1980’s.
We have chosen this particular community of working people as our object of research for a number of reasons – these include our close familiarity with the area, as also easy access to data (whether through the interviewing of residents or through direct access to a variety of archival documents and collections). But such merely circumstantial factors cannot really justify the undertaking of whatever research project, let alone a long-term work-in-progress. The object of our research presupposes what we consider to be a vital need pertaining to all of Greek social history – viz. a) the need to understand that “deep” and “silent society” constituting the Greek popular masses; and b) the need to understand the real economic “backbone” of the Greek social formation, it being segments of Greek endogenous non-monopoly capital. The Aliartians we shall be examining constitute just such “deep society” (a reality well outside the high-flown myths of “class struggle” that has permeated much of Greek “intellectual” discourse, though this is not meant to ignore whatever conceptions of “struggle” for the period under discussion). Further, the case of the Flour Mill which we will be examining constitutes a truly classical case of that small or medium-sized endogenous non-monopoly capital that has played a strategic role in the economic history of Greece (again, a reality well outside the oversimplifications of a vulgar Greek “Marxism” that had wished to reduce the Greek case to a crude “Capital-Labour contradiction”). We wish to argue that it is precisely this combination of Greek “deep society” and the Greek small/medium-sized factory (itself a component part of “deep society”) that constitutes the dominant socio-economic reality of the Greek social formation, at least for the period we shall be examining. Thus, although we shall be examining the cases of a small number of people located in what may be seen as the “peripheral” backwaters of Greek society, and while we shall be focusing on a smallish company also located in such “periphery”, we shall in fact be dealing with what we consider to be the dominant reality of Greek social history. We shall try to show that the socio-cultural practices of these Aliartians – practices which were in a continual articulation with those of working people in urban areas such as Athens – constituted the “milieu” of the period. We shall further try to show that the structures and practices of a “Factory System” such as that of the A&M Flour Mill actually reflected, give or take, the realities of Greek local capital (and we need to keep in mind here that such Flour Mill was a component part of one of the key strategic industries of the Greek social formation – viz. the Food Industry).
It is absolutely important to note at this point that our general methodological approach steers clear of a restrictive “industrial sociology” (this of course does not mean to say that the specific tools of such discipline shall not be applied when examining certain specific aspects of our work as in, say, that of the Flour Mill’s “Factory System”). We have attempted to understand the Aliartian working people, not only as the employees of a company operating on a shop floor, but also as residents of a “peripheral” (or “semi-peripheral”) community as was Aliartos. To put it slightly otherwise, we shall be examining working people qua employees; and we shall be examining these working people qua residents – that constitutes, for us, a central methodological strategy. This calls for some explanation. The particular approach is not based on some personal whim. Rather, it is the consequence of field research undertaken years back (in the 1980’s) in South Africa. As a post-graduate student of the (definitely Marxian-inclined) Department of Industrial Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, one was expected to undertake research work with a specific focus on “the Black working class”. However, actual field research work undertaken in the 1980’s on the history of “the Black working class” located in an area called Alexandra Township would yield results that went well beyond the delimited field of whatever “industrial sociology”. Available data clearly showed that one had no choice but examine the community as such – i.e. as what had then be termed a “local structure” (cf. P. Tourikis, “The Political Economy of Alexandra Township, 1905-1958”, University of the Witwatersrand, Cambridge, Mass., 1981). Similarly, in research work undertaken to further understand the functioning of mine compounds in South Africa, one had no choice but to go beyond the industrial relations system pertaining to such compounds: willy-nilly, one had to examine (inter alia) the role of religion and religious belief systems operating within such compounds – a reality that the discipline of “industrial sociology” per se could not much deal with, it being a reality rooted in cultural practices well outside the confines of a work place such as the South African compound (cf. P. Tourikis, “Mine compound evangelism, 1902-1930”, University of the Witwatersrand, Navorsingsbulletin: Research bulletin, 1983; it being a three-year research project that remained incomplete).
Now, our overall methodological approach with respect to this work-in-progress may further be presented as follows: it is an attempt to explain the socio-economic practices of Aliartian employees-cum-residents by placing the Aliartian “periphery” (or “semi-periphery”) within the context of the wider socio-economic and cultural milieu of the period. Again, this articulation between “local structures” and “global structures” was a central object of research that had informed our work with respect to both South Africa’s Alexandra Township and the mine compounds of that social formation.
We may therefore summarize our general research framework as follows:
a) We shall be examining the “global” socio-cultural context with a basic focus on the 1960’s and 1970’s as a specific conjuncture;
b) We shall be examining the “local” context of Aliartos – the place and its residents shall be dealt with as a sample of “deep” and “silent society”;
c) We shall be examining the “local” context of an Aliartian Flour Mill (the practices of its owner; the practices of its supervisors; the practices of its White-Collar and Blue-Collar employees, etc.) – the factory and its headquarters shall be dealt with as a sample of the “backbone” of the Greek social formation;
d) Throughout, our examination of all these “levels” of reality shall be undertaken in a manner that will maintain some kind of balance between, on the one hand, the economic “life-forms” of the period and, on the other, the socio-cultural “life-forms” of that period. The implications of maintaining such a balance are obvious: we do not espouse the traditional – and rather vulgar – Marxist assumption that the field of “production” necessarily occupies a determining position vis-à-vis that of so-called “reproduction”. The socio-cultural practices of whatever Aliartian (whatever his “class position”) were determined by a combinatory of factors that cannot simply be reduced to his/her manner of earning a living. Of course, our refusal to espouse the dominance of the “economic moment” in the lives of people is not meant as some kind of credo – it remains to be verified by research work itself.
It goes without saying that all of our findings are tentative – these are subject to the new data being accumulated and interpreted as this work-in-progress continues. In fact, the raw data in themselves can – and should – dictate new methodological approaches in the attempt to organize and explain them. To paraphrase Nicanor Parra here, let us simply say that too much theoretical blood has run under the bridge to go on believing that only one road is right.
B – RESEARCH PLAN
The general research plan of this work-in-progress itself remains fairly tentative – it has often been adjusted and revised according to our findings. And yet we may, at this point, present the overall structure of the project as follows:
THE CASE OF THE ALIARTIAN COMMUNITY:
● A historical sociology of the place as a “regional segment”
● The development of Aliartian local authorities and other local
institutions; the role of elite groups
● The socio-cultural subdivisions (or “subsegments”) of the Aliartian community – their respective socio-cultural practices
● The emergence and establishment of modern Aliartos as a cohesive community (studies on the “moral” and “material density” of the community; processes of assimilation, etc.)
THE SOCIO-CULTURAL MILIEU OF THE 1960’s-1970’s:
● The “Amalia-type”, as a generic sociological category – the young, female working person (based on a real person, the then Miss Amalia E., “Clerk” at the A&M Flour Mill Headquarters, 1960’s)
● The general socio-economic and cultural conjuncture of the “Amalia-type”: the period of the Military Dictatorship, and the emergence of so-called “consumerism”
● The function of nation-wide channels of cultural diffusion
● The sexual revolution (vis-à-vis “romanticism”)
● Socio-cultural practices – the question of young female “beauty”
● Social-cultural practices with respect to different aspects of female “beauty”: hair; face; eyes; nose; lips; body; hands; dress and other beauty accessories
● Socio-cultural practices and the formal institution of schooling
● Socio-cultural practices and informal networks organized around partying, outings, etc.
● Socio-cultural practices organized through the medium of music
● Socio-cultural practices and the function of the radio
● Socio-cultural practices and the role of the cinema
● The impact of tourism
● Socio-cultural practices and the question of advertizing
discourse – the emergence of the middle class milieu, cross-cutting “class position”
THE ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE
● The “political economy” of the Greek social formation – the economic conjuncture from the post-war period to the 1960’s-1970’s, and repercussions with respect to the early-1980’s
● The Greek Food Industry
● The Greek Flour Mill Industry
● Flour Mills since the 1950’s
● The A&M Flour Mill Factory: its establishment, development and demise, within the specific context of the Food and Flour Mill Industry
● The A&M Flour Mill Factory per se: company profile – its capital structure; developments in the company’s flour milling technology; productivity trends; the operations of the Flour Mill in the context of Greek company law and labour law; relations with State organs; relations with competitors; the company’s trade networks – its maze of flour distribution networks within Greece and the export market; the company in the new context of the EEC (crisis of the Flour Industry – the ultimate destruction of the A&M Flour Mill Company)
THE A&M FLOUR MILL COMPANY – THE WORKFORCE
● The Greek “industrial relations” system generally; Greek labour law (for the period under discussion)
● The A&M Flour Mill “Factory System” – the specific form of “labour relations” within the shop floor and at Headquarters: relations pertaining to White-Collar employees and Blue-Collar employees; the highly flexible division of labour
● The A&M Flour Mill “Factory System” – structures and practices on the shop floor and in the company’s Headquarters: factory hierarchical organizations (different forms of hierarchies – both formal and informal – and their complementary and/or contradictory interactions); internal “wage wars”; dimensions of employee “docility” and/or informal “resistance”, etc.
● The A&M Flour Mill Workforce: the number of employees through the years (subdivided in terms of job categories), and the implications of this – factors impacting on the company’s employment trends
● The A&M Flour Mill Workforce: wage-scale analyses according to job category, work experience, gender and other more subjective factors, and the implications of such analyses (e.g. “wage wars” within the specifically flexible division of labour of the A&M “Factory System”)
● The A&M Flour Mill Workforce: wage-scale analyses – comparisons between actual cash wages and official minimum wages based on Greek wage legislation
● The A&M Headquarters: the Chief Accountant and his Office; Assistant Accountants
● The A&M Headquarters: White-Collar employees – Clerks, Clerk typists, etc.
● The A&M Laboratory: Chemists and practical assistants
● The A&M shop floor reality: the Practical Mechanics and other technicians
● The A&M shop floor reality, and the flour distribution itineraries – the Drivers and their assistants
● The A&M shop floor reality: Watchmen
● The A&M shop floor reality: the Manual Workers in general
● Evidence of strike activity and trade union presence on the A&M shop floor – the relative absence of so-called “class struggle” (as symptomatic of the Greek case, especially with reference to small/medium-sized companies); the case of the A&M workforce with respect to trade union activity as compared to the rest of the workforce in the Flour Mill Industry; the role of the Pan-Hellenic Federation of Mill Workers and its presence/absence on specific shop floors
● Brief biographical samples of A&M Company employees, and implications: cases of “docility”, “passive resistance”, “open disobedience”, etc.
● Detailed biographical analyses of A&M Company employees, and implications: mapping the contradictory “nous”, belief systems, and practices of various categories of working people (based on specific individuals belonging to White-Collar and Blue-Collar job categories; biographical studies of males and females)
● The special case of female employees – the sexual division of labour: a series of papers on White- Collar females and Blue-Collar females generally, and at the A&M Company specifically – the emergence of the “Amalia-type” as a generic sociological category
● The A&M Company workforce: general observations towards the raising of more “theoretical” questions regarding the Greek case. Such questions would include the following: a) Do Greek working people constitute a self-conscious “working class” (of the type one finds in countries such as Britain or Italy?); b) What has been the role of social mobility as regards the socio-cultural formation of Greek civil society?; c) To what extent may one observe that a specifically “middle class milieu” has permeated all of the Greek social strata across the board, and what is the socio-cultural and ideological content of such “milieu”?; d) To what extent may one argue that social conflict in Greece has not in fact taken the form of “class struggle” as such? Would it not be more accurate to speak of conflictual relationships centered around party political conflicts, and as such conflicts have determined the role of trade unions? May one ultimately speak of the “myth of the Greek working class”?; and finally e) Wherein lies the problem of Greek historiography and Greek social history?
C – THE CASE OF THE DOURIDAS FACTORY
Our research work on the Aliartian community and the A&M Flour Mill Factory may be complemented – as it is, here and there – by yet another case study, that of the Ν. Γ. ΔΟΥΡΙΔΑΣ (henceforth N.G. DOURIDAS) textile factory. The case of this textile factory is of interest to us, and certainly complements our work, for a number of important reasons – some of these include the following:
● The N.G. DOURIDAS plant is located in Thiva (or Thebes) of Boeotia, the latter being the geographical region to which Aliartos belongs as well – there have been a variety of interconnections between the two communities dating back, at least, to the 1830’s (in fact, historical links go back to ancient times).
● The distance between Aliartos and Thiva is merely 20 km. The residents of Thiva and Aliartos had often intermingled in the period under examination; segments of their respective populations have spoken the same dialects; members of the nuclear or extended family unit could be found residing in either of the two communities; Aliartians had seen Thiva (as in the case of Livadeia) as the place where they could experience the “bright lights” of its shops and entertainment centers, etc.
● As importantly, one finds many cases of Aliartians who commuted to Thiva so as to sell their labour power – more specifically, one even has cases of A&M Company employees – or their next of kin – working in the N.G. DOURIDAS textile factory at some time or other.
● More generally, the case of the N.G. DOURIDAS factory allows us to undertake a comparative study between a somewhat largish Greek factory (for instance, with 359 employees in the 1987) and a small/medium-sized factory as was the A&M Flour Mill (never exceeding 50 employees in its heyday).
● The comparative study allows us to draw a variety of conclusions regarding the respective “labour relations” operating on the shop floor of these two factories, as also regarding the collective/individual behaviour of the two groups of employees – specifically in the case of the N.G. DOURIDAS shop floor, the majority of employees were organized in a “Factory Union” which had been founded in 1975 and was to finally join a federation of industrial workers’ unions (“Ο.Β.Ε.Σ.”) in 1983.
● Further, both plants were operating in a period of time which more or less overlapped (the N.G. DOURIDAS Company – initially “ΑΦΟΙ ΔΟΥΡΙΔΑ Ο.Ε.” – was established in 1961 and continued operating through to the early-1990’s).
● Both companies were to finally wither away and disappear (the A&M Company would stop its production in the early-1980’s; the N.G. DOURIDAS Company would stop its production in the early-1990’s). The destruction of both companies may be related to the period of Greek deindustrialization in the 1980’s, and which may itself be related to the loss of “protectionism” and the open competition ushered in the context of the EEC.
● Finally, both companies were operating in sectors of primary importance for the Greek economy – viz. the Food and Clothing industries.
Of course, the case of the Thiva-based N.G. DOURIDAS Company – with branches in Patra and Agrinio (and central Headquarters in Athens) – constitutes a research project all of its own. Here, one would have to focus exclusively on the Greek textile industry. Thus far at least, such work has proven beyond our means – we have simply tapped the company’s voluminous archives to complement and further inform our project proper, as delineated in the research plan.
D – SOME SAMPLES OF PAPERS
A series of papers has been produced since the commencement of this project some nine years back. The chronological order of their production has followed a logic of its own, in keeping with the work-in-progress nature of the project. Most of these papers are in fact complete or almost complete; some require further work; yet others remain extremely tentative in their findings (and may ultimately be rejected). Perhaps we should clarify here that much of what shall be presented below may at times amount to a repetition of aspects of the research plan as delineated above. On the other hand, and quite obviously so, the research plan needs to be differentiated from the samples of papers presented. While such samples comprise work actually completed (or in the process of being completed), the plan itself maps all the potential areas of the work-in-progress that remain to be covered.
Papers that are either complete or almost complete include the following:
● “The young Amalia E. at Aliartos, the “Amalia-type” as a generic type, and the general context of the socio-cultural milieu of youth: industrialization, consumerism, and the question of free-time activities, 1960’s-1970’s.”
● “The period of the Military Dictatorship, 1967-1974: the emerging milieu of consumerism.”
● “Nationwide channels of cultural diffusion in the post-war period.”
● “The socio-cultural revolution of the 1960’s-1970’s youth as a predominantly sexual revolution.”
● “The so-called dominant ideology of romanticism, 1960’s.”
● “The socio-cultural mood of the young popular masses in the period of the 1960’s-1970’s: from skepticism to cynicism.”
● “The socio-cultural revolution of Greek youth and the ‘political moment’ of the 1960’s.”
● “Young female taste, and the question of physical beauty in the 1960’s-1970’s.”
● “Young female taste: a comprehensive review of the issue of Greek female beauty, and the issue of early sexual socialization, 1960’s-1970’s.”
● “The sexual revolution, and the Greek schooling experience, 1960’s-1970’s.”
● “The sexual revolution: from schooling to partying, 1960’s-1970’s.”
● “The sexual revolution: youth outings at Aliartos, 1960’s-1970’s.”
● “Music as a socio-cultural practice amongst Greek youth: from the λαϊκό to Greek pop and rock music, 1960’s-1970’s.”
● “The radio and the ‘transistor revolution’, as socio-cultural practices amongst Greek youth, 1960’s-1970’s.”
● “Advertizing discourse, and the “Amalia-type”, 1950’s-1970’s.”
● “The Varvaresos Experiment, 1940’s.”
● “The Greek State, and the Flour Manufacturing Industry, 1960’s.”
● “The Fiscal Policy of the Military Dictatorship, ideological practices, and the case of the Flour Manufacturing industry.”
● “Trade, Technology, and Capital Structure in the case of the Flour Manufacturing Industry, early-1970’s.”
● “The A&M Company: a profile of its owner, and relations with the Aliartian community.”
● “Relations between the A&M Company and various central State organs in the decade of the 1970’s.”
● “State bread and flour regulations, and the responses of local capital with specific reference to the A&M Company, 1950’s-1970’s.”
● “State tax policy, practices of tax evasion, and the A&M Company, 1970’s.”
● “Relations between the A&M Company and various local State organs in the decade of the 1970’s.”
● “Relations between the A&M Company and its clients in the decade of the 1970’s.”
● “Relations between the A&M Company and its competitors in the decade of the 1970’s.”
● “The A&M Company and its flour milling technology in the decade of the 1970’s.”
● “The Greek State, the EEC, and the case of the A&M Company up to the early-1980’s.”
● “The economic crisis of the 1970’s, and the case of the A&M Company.”
● “Deindustrialization in the Theban industrial zone, 1980’s.”
● “The A&M Company in the context of a generalized deindustrialization: material obstacles to the growth of local manufacturing, the ideological discourse of the State, and the ideological discourse of the Federation of Greek Industries, late-1970’s.”
● “The Greek post-war “industrial relations” system in the Flour Manufacturing Industry: job categorization; collective bargaining procedures, and the role of the relevant actors (the Ministry of Labour, the Federation of Greek Industries, and the Trade Union Federations), esp. 1970’s-early-1980’s”.
● “The number of employees at the A&M Company, 1964-1977: a descriptive analysis.”
● “Gross daily wages & gross daily/monthly average earnings (in drachmas) at the A&M Company, 1965-1973: an analysis.”
● “A comparison of official wage scales and A&M Company actual wage scales, 1961-1983: an analysis.”
● “The A&M Company shop floor: an industrial sociological description and analysis of all job categories (bar that of Blue-Collar manual workers) – based on interviews and company records, 1960’s-early-1980’s.”
● “The A&M Company shop floor: the Blue-Collar manual workers – samples and analyses of employees’ biographical work histories (11 cases)”.
● “Women workers in Greece, 1960’s-early-1980’s: some general introductory observations.”
● “Women workers in Greece, 1960’s-early-1980’s: the question of “protectionism” («Προστασία Προσωπικότητος Μισθωτού») as State measure and as ideological discourse – the case of the A&M Company shop floor reality.”
● “Women workers in Greece, 1960’s-early-1980’s: the sex-based division of labour – some general observations.”
● “Women workers in Greece, 1960’s-early-1980’s: women workers’ function as an industrial reserve army of labour.”
● “Women workers in Greece, 1960’s-early-1980’s: the case of Mill workers generally – the male-female interface.”
● “The male-female interface on the A&M Mill shop floor and at the company’s Aliartos Headquarters – some implications.”
● “The case of female Chemists, 1960’s-early-1980’s.”
● “The special case of Aikaterini D., Chemist at the A&M Company Laboratory, 1961- 1962.”
● “The case of female Clerks, 1960’s-early-1980’s.”
● “Female Clerks, and the devaluation of White-Collar skills, 1960’s-1970’s.”
● “The special case of Georgia M., Cashier-Clerk at the A&M Company Headquarters, 1954-1968.”
● “The case of Amalia E., Clerk, Cashier, and Assistant to the Accountant at the A&M Company Headquarters, 1966-1972.”
E - THE PRESENTATION OF THE PAPERS IN THE REVIEW
It goes without saying that each completed paper to be presented in this Review belongs to the loose structure of the work-in-progress as described in the research plan above. On the other hand, each of these papers does constitute a relatively independent study in itself.
The order of presentation of each paper will be determined by the extent to which the particular paper (or at times the set of papers) has reached some degree of finalization. We speak of degree of finalization because, as alluded to above, all of our findings remain tentative and subject to whatever new, raw data that we may come to locate in the available archives (and which could mean a concomitant change in our interpretative approaches).
As regards the presentation of the papers, therefore, the practical implication is obvious: while each paper certainly belongs to some specific stage of the research plan, papers will not be presented in accordance with the order of that plan.
F – THE BASIC ARCHIVAL SOURCES
The archival and other sources at our disposal, some of which have been used extensively though not at all exhaustively, include the following:
● The A&M Company Archives (of more than 150 files).
● The N.G. DOURIDAS Company Archives (of more than 285 files).
● The MIHAILIDIS Company Archives (a very limited number of files).
● Popular periodicals of the period, such asΡομάντσο(Romantso), Βεντέτα(Vendeta), Ντόμινο(Domino), Επίκαιρα(Epikaira), and others.
● National daily newspapers of the period (public but also various private collections of these).
● Local newspapers of Boeotia, including Theban and Aliartian publications of the period.
● The Official Government Gazette of the Hellenic Republic.
● Interviews of Boeotian and especially Aliartian residents (as also others who had lived in the period of the 1960’s and 1970’s).
● Selected resources available at the Municipal Library of Thiva.
● Selected resources available at the Municipal Library of Athens.
● Greek literature of the period (prose and poetry), including popular literature.
As to the use of the company archives listed above, we are obliged to highlight an issue that is highly symptomatic of the state of social research in Greece, and especially symptomatic of the role of Greek universities. In what way, might one ask, did we attain access to the archives of factories such as the A&M Company and the DOURIDAS Company? Very simply, such invaluable files had been available to whoever was prepared to search through dustbins arrayed outside factory gates. Of course, this tells us much about the scandalously absent role of Greek universities in the nitty-gritty work of field research. Literally speaking, social science departments have relegated the stories of factories and their employees to the dustbin of history. That, above all, testifies to the generalized and permanent crisis of social research in Greece. It is certainly not the first time that one has to salvage materials of historical importance from Greek dustbins. Take, for instance, the small collection of various historical artifacts displayed at the Aliartian police station. How did these get there? Quite simply, the local Police Chief, rummaging through dustbins in the area, was able to recover just such items. Similarly, and according to The Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive (E.L.I.A.), handwritten manuscripts of the important Greek writer, Alexandros Papadiamandis, were ultimately salvaged after being found in a dustbin along Kallidromiou Street, Athens (cf. www.elia.org.gr, March, 2001).
To understand the state of affairs within Greek universities, one would need to undertake research work on such institutions themselves – interestingly, Nicos Poulantzas has described these as “almost feudal” in their structure (cf. his The crisis of the dictatorships – Portugal, Greece, Spain, NLB, 1976, p. 122). It is precisely within these “almost feudal” structures that Left-Liberal academics have asserted their ideological hegemony within most Greek universities, and especially so following the fall of the Military Dictatorship in 1974. Such academics would ultimately come to lose all contact with – and would hardly take any serious interest in – the Greek popular masses and their real history. Perched in their ivory towers, such “intellectuals” would spin grandiose theories promoting postmodern humanism and multiculturalism, and would thereby bypass what we have referred to above as the “deep” and “silent society” constituting the Greek popular masses. To add insult to injury, we cannot but mention that Greek universities have been producing postgraduate dissertations that are usually badly researched and as badly written: their language has been warped by a deconstructionist jargon that is almost indecipherable. Hence the need for independent researchers to resort to dustbins – and to interpret their data via sociological models predating the onslaught of deconstructionist theories of society.
Having said that much about the fate of Greek universities, it would nonetheless only be fair to point to the rather happier state of affairs regarding certain local libraries. For one, the Municipal Library of Thiva houses various collections of local Boeotian newspapers and periodicals that are absolutely necessary materials for any social researcher. Available resources therein include publications such as the ΑλλαγήτηςΒοιωτίας (Allagi tis Voiotias, 1960’s), the Aliartian-based ΒοιωτικήΦλόγα (Voiotike Floga, 1960’s), theΗΦωνήτωνΘηβών (I Foni ton Thivon,1970’s), and so on. The Municipal Library of Athens houses, inter alia, copies of the Official Government Gazette, and especially with respect to the early postwar period.
But it has not only been formal institutions such as the Municipal Libraries that have provided us with access to vital research resources. For instance, numerous copies of popular periodicals such as that of the Ρομάντσο have been salvaged from an old, dilapidated house located in the village of Old Viniani, at Evritania. Copies of national daily newspapers have been salvaged from private collections heading for the dustbin. Yet another access to various publications of the early postwar years has of course been the flea market of Monastiraki (surely the paradise of any field researcher).
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of our work has been our interviews with the local residents of Aliartos, and especially interviews conducted with ex-employees of the A&M Company.
We note, finally, that it remains our intention to publish (in due course) samples of documents belonging to the company archives, as also samples of the interviews conducted.
G – THE LANGUAGE USED
The main body of the text as a whole is in English. The primary sources quoted are in Greek, and therefore remain untranslated. We have chosen such an approach for a very simple reason: whatever translation of an original primary source could potentially distort its authenticity as to what exactly is being said but also – and especially – as to how that is being said. Of course, this could mean that understanding the text as a whole would presuppose a basic knowledge of both English and Greek. For the English reader, however, a knowledge of the Greek language would not necessarily be a prerequisite. All or most primary sources quoted are further discussed and explained in the main body of the text itself.
In most cases, the titles of Greek secondary sources cited shall also be translated into English (at least when quoted for the first time). The translation of titles is based on www.biblionet.gr, of the National Book Centre of Greece. This does not necessarily mean that the source has actually been translated.
P.N. Tourikis (“Nikos Vlachos”)