Research Overview (1990-2010)


In the first decade of my academic career (roughly from the 1990s and up until 2003) I have been mostly preoccupied with researching the topic of nationalism in Southeastern Europe. The wars of Yugoslav successor states and the post-1991 dispute between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia (the infamous "name issue") were hot international issues that attracted my attention. This led to several articles and book chapters and eventually to the publication of two edited volumes on Macedonia (2000) & the Balkans (2002) as well as two sole-authored monographs.

The fist of these monographs was Nationalism, Globalization and Orthodoxy (2001), which was largely based on my 1996 doctoral dissertation. In that book, I argue that world-historical globalization is connected with the historical trajectory of the Eastern Mediterranean. While prior to 1820, nationalism emerged as an ideology strongly colored by Enlightenment ideology, it came later to be developed on an ethno-national basis. This tendency was the result of the regional pattern of nation building. The different perception and adaptation of two global discourses shaping the meaning of the "nation" were crucial to the local routes toward modernity. Within the discourse of citizenship, membership of a "nation" is fundamentally political and pertains to the rights and obligations of a citizen to his/her political community. In contrast, the discourse of nationhood employs particularistic criteria - derived from a local culture - as the basis of the "nation". Within this discourse, the "nation" is constructed in terms of the genealogical or cultural ties of an ethnic community. Lack of acculturation into the legitimate national culture provides a justification for a person's exclusion from the "imagined community". This argument suggests that the ethnic conflict in the Balkans is historically recent and is a result of the region's path to modernity.

My second monograph, National Identity, Collective Memory and Ethnic Conflict (2002), is an application of this broad interpretation to the study of an on-going contemporary controversy, that of the Macedonian Question. It is the culmination of several publications analyzing the post-1991 conflict between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR - Macedonia) and Greece over the "name issue", as well as additional publications on minority-majority relations in the southern Balkans. In the monograph, historical research and interpretation are intertwined with the analysis of the contemporary, post-1991 contest between Greece (and to a lesser extent Bulgaria), on the one hand, and FYR - Macedonia, on the other hand, over the heritage of Macedonian culture and history. It also covers the post-1945 evolution of Albanian nationalism in Kosovo and FYR-Macedonia - up until the conclusion of the 2001 civil strife between Macedonians and Albanians. To this day, it remains the only sociological monograph on these political & cultural disputes.

With the conclusion of work on these two monographs, my research interests focused more on the relationship among culture, transnationalism and globalization. The relationship between globalization and Americanization was the subject of my first edited volume American Culture in Europe (1998). The construction of new transnational ties was further explored in another volume on Communities Across Borders (2002). This volume employs a broad definition that makes it possible to examine not only the movement of peoples from one country to another, but also the migration of cultural practices (such as pop music or soccer) across borders. In addition to my theoretical engagement with these topics, qualitative and historical methods have been used in several articles and chapters on the Hellenic Diaspora & the Greek American community in particular (Roudometof and Karpathakis, 2002; Karpathakis and Roudometof, 2004; Roudometof, 2000; 2010).

After 2003, as I moved to the University of Cyprus, my research agenda focused on:

A. Globalization & Cultural Sociology (inclusive of the themes of transnationalism, cosmopolitanism & glocalization).

B. The Sociology of Religion (and specifically on Eastern Orthodox Christianity).

(A) Globalization & Cultural Sociology

With regard to globalization, my work focused on the theoretical and to a degree, empirical investigation of the key concepts of cosmopolitanism, globalization and transnationalism. Of special significance for my work has been the relatively recent concept of glocalization. In my 2003 European Legacy article, I explore the relationship among glocalization, modernity and space, while in my 2005 Current Sociology article I interrogate the relationship among glocalization, transnationalism, and cosmopolitanism. I argue that transnationalism and cosmopolitanism should not be blended; for they are analytically distinct from each other. The article put forth the notion of a cosmopolitan-local continuum as a novel means for assessing the relationship between cosmopolitanism and localism. Following up on this article, and jointly with William Haller (Clemson University) we have operationalized the cosmopolitan-local continuum & published a book chapter in 2007 & an article consisting of a cross-national analysis of quantitative data in the Journal of Sociology (2010). This article analyses the data from advanced industrialized countries, using the 1995 and 2003 ISSP National Identity module data in order to detect whether the turn of the 21st century has brought increased or decreased levels of cosmopolitanism around the globe.

My work on cultural sociology has focused on the sociology of collective memory. My interest in this field was sparked by the writing of my 2nd monograph and continues to this day. I edited two special issues on collective memory for the Journal of Political and Military Sociology [JPMS] (2003; 2007). The Introduction to the 2007 special issue summarizes my own reading and conceptualization of the sociology of memory. Pursuing this research agenda led to its application into Cyprus' contemporary predicament. Jointly with Miranda Christou (Dept. of Education, University of Cyprus) we have applied cultural trauma theory into Cyprus' post-1974 situation. This project included my participation in the activities of the Yale-based Center for Cultural Sociology and has yielded a book chapter published in the edited volume Narrating Trauma (Boulder, Colo.: Paradigm, 2011) and an article published in the 2011/2012 issue of the Greek language journal Science and Society. That issue was co-edited with Prof. N. Demertzis (Univ. of Athens, Greece) and includes a selection of articles aimed to introduce cultural trauma theory to the Greek-speaking audience.

(B) Sociology of Religion

My interest in Eastern Orthodox Christianity grew out of the close connections between religious and national identities in Eastern Europe. My publications have addressed both regional as well as general facets of this religious tradition. Editing the volume Eastern Orthodoxy in a Global Age (Alta Mira Press, 2005) offered me the opportunity to present an overview of the state of post-1989 Eastern Orthodoxy. The volume includes descriptions of religious responses by several Eastern European churches (Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Serbia and Greece) to the challenges of post-1989 integration into the common European home as well as explorations of the transnational dimension of Eastern Orthodoxy, including recent developments in the Eastern Orthodox churches of North America. This project led to an additional volume Orthodox Christianity in 21st Century Greece (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010). That volume's objective is to allow scholars to gain a better knowledge of an Eastern Orthodox country that has never experienced communism - and hence to offer a point of comparison vis-a-vis the post-communist Orthodox societies of Eastern Europe. In this manner, scholars can differentiate the institutional and cultural characteristics of Eastern Orthodoxy from those features related to the post-communist legacy.

Living in Cyprus has offered me the opportunity to use the island's contemporary events and historical record to further inquire into the relationship between Orthodox Christianity and the local society & culture. In 2009, I edited the first-ever special issue of a major international journal (Social Compass) focusing on religion in Cyprus. The special issue covers a variety of topics. These range from analyses of the 2006 World Values Survey to an examination of the role of minority religions in Cyprus to historical analyses of the role of Orthodoxy and Islam in the island's political and cultural life.

Moreover, I have authored two general overviews of the Church of Cyprus which appear in Eastern Christianity and the Cold War (2010) & Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century (2013). These volumes represent the current state of the art in the field of Eastern Christianity.

Additional work includes a series of articles and chapters whose their themes vary from analysis of the 2006 Archiepiscopal elections of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus to the evolution of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus during the colonial (1878-1960) and post-colonial periods to an examination of the socio-economic functions of monastic institutions on the island.

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