Troubled Inheritance: Enforcing And Evading Muslim Minority Citizenship In Greece
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CitationSamara, Jasmine. 2018. Troubled Inheritance: Enforcing And Evading Muslim Minority Citizenship In Greece. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractIn Thrace, a northeastern region of Greece, law is invoked to regulate the limits and possibilities of citizenship for Muslim minority citizens. These communities were exempted from the 1923 Greece-Turkey population exchange that deported “Christians” to Greece and “Muslims” to Turkey. They retain a special minority status, interpreted to include access to a controversial, state-administered Islamic family law system. In this study, based on fieldwork with Greek lawyers, legal scholars, and activists, I show how law takes on a central role in mediating minority belonging. As law is invoked to govern subjectivities and identity expressions, legal “choices” acquire symbolic political significance as well as administrative consequences.
I use the notion of a troubled inheritance to explore debates on how Greece and Europe are to manage and represent their longstanding Islamic cultural and political heritage. As Greece is “audited” for compliance with human rights standards, legal reform serves as a measure of Greece’s disputed claims to Europeanness, even as the European political project appears threatened by economic crisis. I track “afterlives” of Ottoman-era religious classifications, officially discarded yet producing legal effects, including distinct gendered and ethnicized forms of minority citizenship. I focus on a Greek Supreme Court ruling mandating that Islamic inheritance law should regulate “Muslim” citizens’ property transmission. Debate on this case – and on agency and choice in the state-administered Islamic family law system – reveals a range of minority and majority stakes, anxieties, incentives, attachments, and social practices that converge to maintain “Muslim” as a legally relevant category, even as some sought to elude this classification. In managing “Islamic” legal mechanisms, the state re-allocates family and community authority, while discourses attributing agency variably include or exclude minority members from the Greek community. This study illustrates the role law plays in diagnosing and managing Muslim minority “problems” and “solutions” in Europe.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41129183
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