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Archaeology and Residential Activism: Reclaiming Philopappou Hill and Plato’s Academy, Athens

Archaeology and Residential Activism: Reclaiming Philopappou Hill and Plato’s Academy, Athens
Archaeology and Residential Activism: Reclaiming Philopappou Hill and Plato’s Academy, Athens
The Athens 2004 Olympic Games was seen as an opportunity to “Europeanise” and modernise the Greek capital. However, the works materialised for their preparation significantly altered the urban geography of the city, whilst also enabling for the gradual imposition of neoliberal governance and schemes that still affect Athens today. The reconfigurations enforced upon the urban landscape and its population saw the rise of residential activism and the persistent reclamation of public spaces, significantly increase with the eruption of the economic crisis in 2008 and the 2011 Syntagma Square Occupation.

The archaeological sites of Philopappou Hill and Plato’s Academy have featured prominently in these reclamations by residential movements, as the ripples of neoliberal policies continue to threaten residents’ uses of and engagements with these spaces. The particular archaeological sites maintain a dual function; they are considered spaces of archaeological significance whilst also operating as parks for recreational uses. They thus present unique cases of open, public spaces within the Athenian urban environment containing archaeological remnants, fully integrated into the daily lives of local communities.

An additional issue affecting the communities’ interaction with the archaeological sites are the efforts to monumentalise spaces and limit their use by local communities—such as in the case of Philopappou—or the lack of attention due to the location of sites in ‘degraded’ areas, as in the case of Plato’s Academy. As such, residential activists most prominently fight for the protection of these spaces from capitalist endeavours as well as the archaeological practices still catalysed by colonialist modes of operation.

Through the use of archaeological ethnography, this research explores the modern cultural biographies of the spaces of interest through the extra-official activities of the local residents, their ‘unofficial’ heritage discourses, and their residential activism in their efforts to claim their right to be a part of the decision-making processes which affect the protection and future of the spaces. It reveals the modern significations and meanings attributed to archaeological sites by the people experiencing them in their daily lives, the ways in which they have redefined the spaces in the present, and the need to decolonise and re-evaluate archaeological practices.
University of Southampton
Stefanopoulou, Eleni Charis
5b1c1b9e-f809-4603-9240-7ea635bd09c7
Stefanopoulou, Eleni Charis
5b1c1b9e-f809-4603-9240-7ea635bd09c7
Marshall, Yvonne
98cd3726-90d1-4e6f-9669-07b4c08ff1df
Hamilakis, Yannis
e40e6a1a-e416-4561-bf0d-e9e3337ede6a

Stefanopoulou, Eleni Charis (2019) Archaeology and Residential Activism: Reclaiming Philopappou Hill and Plato’s Academy, Athens. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 309pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The Athens 2004 Olympic Games was seen as an opportunity to “Europeanise” and modernise the Greek capital. However, the works materialised for their preparation significantly altered the urban geography of the city, whilst also enabling for the gradual imposition of neoliberal governance and schemes that still affect Athens today. The reconfigurations enforced upon the urban landscape and its population saw the rise of residential activism and the persistent reclamation of public spaces, significantly increase with the eruption of the economic crisis in 2008 and the 2011 Syntagma Square Occupation.

The archaeological sites of Philopappou Hill and Plato’s Academy have featured prominently in these reclamations by residential movements, as the ripples of neoliberal policies continue to threaten residents’ uses of and engagements with these spaces. The particular archaeological sites maintain a dual function; they are considered spaces of archaeological significance whilst also operating as parks for recreational uses. They thus present unique cases of open, public spaces within the Athenian urban environment containing archaeological remnants, fully integrated into the daily lives of local communities.

An additional issue affecting the communities’ interaction with the archaeological sites are the efforts to monumentalise spaces and limit their use by local communities—such as in the case of Philopappou—or the lack of attention due to the location of sites in ‘degraded’ areas, as in the case of Plato’s Academy. As such, residential activists most prominently fight for the protection of these spaces from capitalist endeavours as well as the archaeological practices still catalysed by colonialist modes of operation.

Through the use of archaeological ethnography, this research explores the modern cultural biographies of the spaces of interest through the extra-official activities of the local residents, their ‘unofficial’ heritage discourses, and their residential activism in their efforts to claim their right to be a part of the decision-making processes which affect the protection and future of the spaces. It reveals the modern significations and meanings attributed to archaeological sites by the people experiencing them in their daily lives, the ways in which they have redefined the spaces in the present, and the need to decolonise and re-evaluate archaeological practices.

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Eleni Stefanopoulou Final Thesis - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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Published date: February 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 433259
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/433259
PURE UUID: 9d7147be-11cb-45dc-8bb0-dcaa28b985e2

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 Aug 2019 16:30
Last modified: 21 Aug 2019 16:30

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Contributors

Author: Eleni Charis Stefanopoulou
Thesis advisor: Yvonne Marshall
Thesis advisor: Yannis Hamilakis

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