chapter  3
14 Pages

Greek Americans and transnationalism

Religion, class and community
ByVictor Roudometof, Anna Karpathakis

Over the last decade, transnationalism has become a topic of extensive discussion in the scholarly community (Glick Schiller et al. 1995; Basch et al. 1994; Smith 1994; Smith and Guarnizo 1998; Ethnic and Racial Studies 1999). In this chapter, we will examine the dynamics of the Greek American community and, in particular, the recent post-1965 Greek immigrants’ situation.1 We argue that the recent post-1965 Greek immigrants can be viewed as a transnational national community, no different in this regard from the other well-publicized instances of transnationalism. However, this is only part of the story. These immigrants’ sense of belonging and understanding of who they are bring them into direct conflict with the older, more established generations of their fellow Greek Americans. These older immigrant generations have developed a more romantic or nostalgic attachment to Greece, and for them it is religion rather than ethnicity that forms the foundation of their identity. In this sense, transnationalism constitutes a bone of contention between older and recent immigrant cohorts. Just as with the Australian Croats (see Chapter 2), it is the (more recent) lower-class immigrants that display the stronger attachment to their homeland.