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Palgrave Macmillan

Myth, Representation, and Identity

An Ethnography of Memory in Lipsi, Greece

ISBN 9781137362735
Publication Date December 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Lipsi is a small Greek island in the southeast Aegean Sea. There, the local oral tradition weaves the island's history from the mythical Calypso to this day, relating stories of people from a distant past and of those who are still leaving their mark, until the day they become memories and stories as well. This eternal time of an endless repetition, as perceived by today's inhabitants, is projected onto space making a narrative landscape through material constructions, collective bodily movements, and supernatural apparitions. The result of long-term ethnographic fieldwork, this book refers to the community of Lipsi as an example of the correlations between popular cosmologies, official religion, and the development of a symbolic landscape, along with the formation of collective identities and representations in the context of a "cultural and social experience of the world."

Marilena Papachristophorou is Assistant Professor of Folklore at the University of Ioannina, Greece, and former Researcher at the Hellenic Folklore Research Centre of the Academy of Athens (1997-2009). She obtained her PhD in Social Anthropology and Ethnology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France.

Introduction: Lipsi 2000-2010: History and Storytelling
1. On the Island of Goddess Calypso
2. About Origins (A Story to be Continued)
3. Demons and Sancta
4. Hierophanies and Miracles
5. Fertility and Death
6. Ordinary Days and Talks
7. The Narrative Construction of the Community
Postface: Reflections on Fieldwork


"Papachristophorou is one of a small but growing number of anthropologists who have identified the value of popular cosmologies, the linkages between these cosmologies and official religion, and the symbolic construction of landscape. In this book, we not only attain a sense of how communities generate moral values but also the boundaries between good and evil, the past and present." - Nick Doumanis, author of Before the Nation and Myth and Memory in the Mediterranean
"This exceptional book offers one of the richest accounts of a village Greek cosmology ever assembled. Papachristophorou captures a local orientation to the landscape and the past which weaves together stories about figures such as Calypso, Ulysses, the devil, saints, and recent historical figures. This portrait of Lipsi disrupts the assumption that 'myth', 'legend', 'religion', and 'history' are necessarily discrete categories." - Charles Stewart, author of Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece
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