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The Nomads of Mykonos

Performing Liminalities in a 'Queer' Space

Pola Bousiou

322 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-426-5 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (April 2008)

ISBN  978-1-84545-466-1 $34.95/£24.00 Pb Published (April 2008)

eISBN 978-0-85745-068-5 eBook

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…an enticing and vibrant ethnographic text, full of insightful comments which follow diverse strands of theoretical discussion…a genuine piece of postmodern performative ethnography.  ·  JRAI

“…a thought-provoking exploration of ethnography, social theory…a unique and provocative intervention into the “status quo” of ethnographic writing and explanation. The book refuses and transgresses coherencies and dichotomies in ways that ultimately reveal our own desire for ‘neatly’ organized and compartmentalized theory and ethnography, and I think this is precisely what Bousiou set out to do: to ask where, in theory, a world of nomadic tourists, hedonists, and ‘extreme individuals’ leaves us.”  ·  H-Net Reviews

This is the ethnography of the Mykoniots d’élection, a ‘gang’ of romantic adventurers who have been visiting the island of Mykonos for the last thirty-five years and have formed a community of dispersed friends. Their constant return to and insistence on working, acting and creating in a tourist space, offers them an extreme identity, which in turn is aesthetically marked by the transient cultural properties of Mykonos. Drawing semiotically from its ancient counterpart Delos, whose myth of emergence entails a spatial restlessness, contemporary Mykonos also acquires an idiosyncratic fluidity. In mythology Delos, the island of Apollo, was condemned by the gods to be an island in constant movement. Mykonos, as a signifier of a new form of ontological nomadism, semiotically shares such assumptions. The Nomads of Mykonos keep returning to a series of alternative affective groups largely in order to heal a split: between their desire for autonomy, rebellion and aloneness and their need to affectively belong to a collectivity. Mykonos for the Mykoniots d’élection is their permanent ‘stopover’; their regular comings and goings discursively project onto Mykonos’ space an allegorical (discordant) notion of ‘home’.

Pola Bousiou was born and educated in Thessaloniki, Greece, and later at the London School of Economics where she received her PhD in social anthropology. Subsequently she has turned to film-making; in her current research she is exploring the relationship between anthropology and film by deconstructing her auto-ethnographic text into an experimental film narrative.

Series: Volume 29, New Directions in Anthropology
Subject: Gender Studies Travel & Tourism General Anthropology
Area: Southern Europe

LC: DF901.M9 B68 2008

BL: YK.2009.a.3588

BISAC: SOC032000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Gender Studies; TRV009080 TRAVEL/Europe/Greece; SOC002010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/Cultural

BIC: JFSJ Gender studies, gender groups; JHMC Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography


Note on transliteration


Chapter 1. Mykonos: the building of a liminal space-myth
Chapter 2. Narratives of belonging: the myth of an ‘indigenous’ otherness
Chapter 3. Narratives of the self: an eccentric myth of otherness
Chapter 4. Narratives of place: a spatial myth of otherness
Chapter 5. Narratives of difference: an aesthetic myth of otherness


Epilogue: A beach farewell

Appendix I: The problem of agency in the Greek ethnographic subject
Appendix II: The emergence of the sensual post-tourist: consuming ‘cultures’, multisubjective selves and (trans)local spaces


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