Professor of Political Science at Panteion University of Athens
Political Culture in Greece
The significance of the study of Greek political culture does not consist in the direct statistical result which issues from the responses to the Asia-Europe Survey, but in the background of values that prescribe the approaches of Greek society to the questions concerning the nation, the state, politics, citizenship and globalization. Indeed, the responses of the sample to these basic questions do not have the same root as those of the other European and Asian countries. At the same time, as we shall see, the fundamental issues that make the difference in Greek political culture do not concern primarily or exclusively the effectiveness of the state, in its current relationship with the citizen or generally in its attachment to the nation. It is focused primarily on the nature of the state and consequently on the character of the relationship between society and politics or, even more, on the substance of the relationship that exists in the nation-state-citizen triangle.
Hence, to comprehend the result of the research concerning Greek society, we must see it within the framework of the value system which makes up its background. For instance, to understand the nationality-nationalism relationship it is not enough to determine how important the position of nationality is in the statistical sample but also to consider the nationality-state relationship. Or, the answer to the question of how interested one is in politics may concern the degree to which the state lives up to the expectations of society. It may, however, also be linked to other dimensions of politics, the type of politicization or with the nature of the political system. One could make similar remarks with relation to the nation-state and state-world system (cosmosystem) dipoles, among others.
The point that the basic societal values of Greek society ought first to be elucidated so that the responses to the survey – whether convergent or divergent – can be comprehended makes it necessary at the same time to clarify where this differentiation originates, given that Greece does not have any special position in the world system (cosmosystem) today nor does it have a different domestic sociopolitical structure that would justify its individuality.
Greece as a particular paradigm of political culture
The inherited foundations of political culture.
The position of Greece as a distinct paradigm – and not simply as a statistical category – is due fundamentally to its inherent historicity. I do not mean its long historical Ancient Greek heritage - but that which succeeded the nation-state or which coexisted with it, more or less, for a century, until the first decades of the 20th century.
It is obvious that this past will preoccupy us here only to the degree that it is considered that it can explain the modern Greek individuality. It is fundamental within this framework to acknowledge that the Greek pre-ethnocentric past was different from that of the other European countries and further, of the other countries of the planet.
The difference lies in the fact that Greek society is not registered in the typical model of transition of the modern world from feudalist despotism to anthropocentrism , which initially characterized Western Europe and gradually the rest of Europe and the entire world. The pre-ethnocentric Greek societies did not derive from, and consequently did not experience, the feudalist middle ages. The reversion of the western side of the Roman imperium to feudalist barbarity did not influence its eastern side, which was Hellenized and at the level of the state would continue to exist as the predominant cosmo-politeian pattern until the 15th century and as a socio-economic and political system until the 19th century.
This system was none other than the small-scale anthropocentric cosmosystem that the Greek societies created from the Cretan-Mycenean years – and which was politically administered by Rome from afar – with the city as the fundamental background.
Certain clarifications as to the nature of this cosmosystem are essential: firstly, it was, as mentioned, anthropocentric; it therefore had the free man as a background. The social and political vehicle of this is the city. Second, the Greek cosmosystem, just preceding the nation state, passed through its post-statocentric or ecumenical phase, which it entered with Alexander the Great. During this phase the city continues to constitute the basic socio-political context, to maintain the totality of domestic responsibilities that it had during the statocentric period. Included among these is the freedom of choice of its political system. The relationship of the city with the center, which also reproduces the concept of the city, the Metropolis, forms a sympoliteia. That is why the city would never become a simple self-administration. Cities and Metropolis make up the global political system, the cosmopoliteia. It would also undertake significant responsibilities of the Metropolis, such as the fiscal authority, applying the general principle of subsudiarity. Third, from the early Byzantine period the transition is completed from the merchandising of labor (or merchant slavery) to the corporate partner society, in which the relationship between labor and capital would be dissociated from the ownership and would be constructed as “politeia” (a partnership system). The non-dependence on the field of labor that this relationship implies confirms the cumulative experience of freedom – individual, social and political – within the framework of the ecumenical city which had already been completed during the 5th century BC. It is also interesting to note that in the Greek vital space the political systems of the city bear an astonishing relation with those of the classical period. Democracy, oligarchy or various mixed forms of them maintain a relationship of society and politics in which the citizen remains the central component. At the same time, until the fall of Byzantium, the ecumenical nature of the cosmosystem had as a consequence the citizen of the city also being rightfully recognized as citizen of the cosmopolis(cosmopolite or cosmocitizen).
The Ottoman conquest of the Greek vital space would create a compulsory cohabitation of the Greek or small-scale anthropocentric cosmosystem with Asian despotism. This cohabitation would not touch the foundations of the Greek cosmosystem and consequently its anthropocentric nature. Ottoman power would be restricted – as in Rome earlier – to its administration, nevertheless reducing the legitimizing foundation of the central system in its despotic roots. This explains why the project of national resurgence after the fall of Byzantium and until the final revolution of 1821, had as its basic content the restoration of the cosmopoliteian nature of the central political system and the overthrow of Ottoman dominance.
The failure of this project would not abash the revolutionary Greek societies, which would compose their Constitutions with the city as landmark, regional sympolitean unions and certainly at the base of an extremely loose central system of collegial representation. Even the republican experience of Ioannis Kapodistrias, which would follow, would be seen as extremely illiberal and would be fought.
The encounter of Greek societies with the modern state would be actualized under conditions of gradual abolition of the anthropocentric attainment which would be completed in about a century, in 1922. This development would create an interesting dualism between greater Hellenism, which would continue until then to experience the system of the city, and the society of the embryonic Greek state, which devolved to the regime of absolute monarchy which was imposed upon it by the Forces of the Holy Alliance.
Hence, the constitution of Greek society initially in terms of absolute monarchy (a sort of despotic state in transition) and finally as nation state, would ultimately materialize, not as the result of medieval feudalism but at the expense of an anthropocentric system which was experiencing its ecumenical phase. Regardless, therefore, of the scale that reflected every age, the modern which gave rise to the modern Greek state was not between the outgoing feudalist societies and the coming anthropocentric forces but between the early anthropocentric attainment which was in the process of construction and the final anthropocentric integration which the evolutionary process of the Greek cosmosystem accumulated in the environment of the city.
National Identity and the State
What remained, then, of the attainment of the Greek cosmosystem? Without doubt, its entire anthropocentric background (the system of cities, direct democracy, etc.) would break down. What would be maintained, however, were extremely strong mentalities, attitudes, behaviors, and values, which would now be called upon to adapt and to function in the environment of the new political system. The encounter of the anthropocentrically integrated – that is, democratic and ecumenical - culture, with the political system of the anthropocentric protogenesis, would lead at times to a functional cohesion of the society with politics and at other times with interesting deformations of the political system and the political forces or even of the political behavior of society.
Among the most interesting manifestations of the inherited political culture in the primary ethnocentric environment we retain the following:
As far as national identity is concerned. National identity had a cosmosystemic and even a ecumenical reference to Greek societies. Greeks were those who participated in Greek anthropocentric culture, regardless of racial, ethnic, or other cultural differentiation. The first painful encounter of this approach of the nation with the modern ethno-racial concept – which, it is pointed out, the Hellenic societies abandoned shortly before its transition to the ecumene, in the 4th century BC – would occur during the first decades of the Neohellenic state, in the 19th century.
This approach to the national identity is not simply cultural, as one might think. It is fundamentally political and is consistently expressed via the city system or from broader sympolitean unions or often via the cosmopoliteia, that is, as a global cosmopolis. Hence, in the inherited Greek political culture the nation has an autonomous political reference that is not linked in any way with the concept of the state. The nation is not forged via the state, its history is not the history of the state, and in any case does not express itself through it. I would, indeed, add that this concept of the nation sees the idea of its identification with one and only one state in a negative light as illiberal, particularly when this is constructed on the basis of the unified and sovereign political power. This state is in contrast to the Greek cosmosystemic principle of autoinstitutionalization as it introduces the idea of uniqueness of the nation which controls the state and functions in relation to something “different” in terms of integration, seeing it in the best case as a minority and not on the basis of the principle of autonomy. It is contrary, therefore, to the system which accepts the political expression of multi-culturality to the degree that it adopts, as we shall see, the strict dichotomy between society and politics and, subsequently, the approach of the social body as “private society.” The dogma “one state, one nation, one unified political system, one language for one republic, etc.” comes in fundamental contrast with the ecumenical approach of the nation.
The modern Greek state, then, found itself in opposition to this value system fully realizing that society not only did not regard it as the forger of the nation, as in the other European societies more or less, but, initially, as responsible for the dismemberment of the parameters of the Greek cosmosystem and later as entirely unable or indifferent to fulfill the project of national integration. The nation was not, from this point of view, provider of legitimization for the state; I would even say that it was a constant cause of its scorn. This scorn was gradually reinforced as the distance grew between the low performance of the state in the world of modernity in relation to the world influence of Greek culture that independently fed into the national pride of the Greeks.
The effort of the modern Greek state to alter the perception of the nation in society from an ecumenical to a statocentric one, and therefore to connect it with its proceedings, was systematic and laborious. This explains the strictness with which the ethnocentric principle was applied and which led to the exchange of populations, to policies of cultural homogeneity and, indeed, to the breakdown of every linguistic singularity. Before the start of the recent wave of immigration the national homogeneity approached 98.7%. Greece is perhaps the only country in which the “language issue” was a major socio-political problem for more than a century. Irrespective of differences in dialect that had to prevail and the language of the state, everyone was in agreement that the breakdown of the wealth of the Greek dialects comprised a historical necessity.
The rivalry between the ecumenical and the statocentric concept of the nation continued until 1922 and was expressed as an antagonistic tug-of-war between the two centers of Hellenism: Athens, which expressed the “nation state” and the idea of integration of all “Greek lands” within it, and Constantinople, which continued to consolidate the leadership of the Greek bourgeois class, the leadership of the orthodox church under Greek administration and an influential part of the Greek cultural creation.
The failure of these two projects would be attributed to the state; the political class, however, would broadly cultivate the argument of national encompassment and insecurity in order to counterbalance any dispute. The cultivation of national dangers, the systematic reduction of foreign matters to major issues of domestic politics, is in direct proportion to the high index of national sensitivity of Greek society and, at the same time, with the low esteem that the latter has for the national “intention” of the political class. The concept of “political cost” consists not in opening negotiations with international factors but by priority inciting Greek national sensibilities and later projecting them as positions of foreign policy. The example of the handling of the problem created over the name of FYROMacedonia is characteristic: the political class cultivated the historical argument to the utmost in order to serve legitimizing expediencies inside the country and to cover up opportune responsibilities concerning the handling of the matter of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Thus, at the same time, the conditions of the deadlock concerning its resolution were created and, by extension, a constant deception of public opinion.
Political identity and the state
Political culture vs. sovereign state
Regardless of the difficulties of the state to identify with the nation and to appear as its authentic representative, in Greek political culture the state also faces an inherent problem that is consistent with the nature of the political system. We established earlier that corresponding to the nation-state in the small-scale anthropocentric cosmosystem was the city. However, the resistances of the political culture which comes out of the small politeian scale, albeit strong in the past, was not the main source of controversy over the nation-state. The more significant controversy concerns the relationship it introduces between society and politics, which completely ignores the definition of politics in terms of freedom and therefore excludes a political system that expresses it. The contrast of the inherited political culture in the system of the nation-state is basically concentrated: First, on the principle of the unity of the political system in the whole state and, therefore, on its opposition to the principle of political auto-institutionalization of the “difference.” This explains the fact that Greece displays the largest resistance to the development of self-administration among the countries of the European Union, despite the fact that it does not have problems of cultural (ethnic, etc.) differentiation. Second, on the principle of the dichotomy between the social and the political, which means the exclusion of the society from the political system. This exclusion in modern societies was consistent with their a-political nature and consequently did not create problems of legitimization or controversy.
In the same sense, the focusing of politics on abstract purposes such as the “national” or the “general” interest, which are also left to their definition of the authentic will of the political power, does not appear to matter. The modern political culture accepts the coexistence of the private society and of the political society, identifying the latter with the state.
The Greek political culture, on the contrary, places this distinction in the protogenesis period of anthropocentrism, during which politics has a strictly operational content which is therefore left, as far as its management is concerned, to the experts. The phase of the Greek cosmosystem that succeeded the national-state discerned in the concept of the political society a complete anthropocentric development in which politics is detached from the state and is absorbed by the society. Hence, in this phase the society not only is not a-political but also registers politics as a constitutional element of its existence. Within this framework, politics does not comprise a simple right of the citizen or of intermediary groups to intervene in order to exert pressure on the possessor of power of the state in the direction of their interest. It is defined as an area for the exertion of freedom.
This approach of the political phenomenon minimally presupposes a political system of complete representation, the subordination of the political praxis and therefore of the political personnel in the law and the relevance of the purpose of politics with the social will. The above-mentioned principles imply that the citizen – the body of citizens – participates in politics as mandator and therefore exerts in a direct way the responsibilities that arise from it (control, reconciliation, revocation of the mandate, etc.). At the same time, the political class is subject to the control of justice, as much for its private life as, mainly, for the consequences of the policies it has chosen to exert in the interest of the mandator (the citizen). Finally, the political power of the state is called upon to reconcile its policies with the social will. This means that even if it is agreed that the purpose of politics is not the social interest, the competence to determine the content of state policies does not belong exclusively to the possessor of power.
The nation-state, having reserved for itself both the role of the mandatee and of the mandator, placed its managers – the political class – above the law, removing in this way the “legitimacy” of the citizen and of justice to control the result of the political praxis. The same purpose of modern politics projects as its guide not the “common” interest – as in the Greek political culture – but the clouding of the “national” or of the “general” or of the “public” interest, whose content only the power has the responsibility to determine.
The Greek society, ingrained with the political culture of partnership participation that belongs to a society with a high degree of political development, consequently found itself faced with a political system that had been formed guided by the acknowledgement of its apolitical nature. For this reason, the result of this encounter is of opportune significance in the understanding of its responses to the questions of the survey concerning its interest in politics or its attitude vis-a-vis the state. Therefore, the statistical result of the question “How important is politics?” is not sufficient. What is mainly significant is the content, the point of view from which one approaches politics and, in any case, the type of political participation.
Politics as a separate/autonomous identity
The first question that it projects, within this framework, is on what level the relationship of the Greek citizen with the politician is formed, and, by extension, that with the state, which embodies politics. The citizen will continue to project a high demand for politics that manifests itself as political discourse, as participation, as well as the breadth of issues that are included in the agenda of its interests. A particular feature that results from its high level of political development and which defines its politicization is that it disdains mass or pack political behavior, adopting an extremely individualistic approach to politics. It is underscored that individualistic politicization is not less inclined to collectivity or more self-seeking than mass politicization. It simply pertains to systems in which the political synthesis comes about from the social whole and not from the power to which the society gives its consensus.
However, before we are called upon to answer the question of what happens when society is politically individualistic while the system does not acknowledge its participation in the collective synthesis, it is essential to clarify that the measurements of politicization based on the statistical datum (the degree of adherence to the parties, to the unions, etc.) do not correctly convey the Greek society. The measurement of its political interest arises more from the real time that the citizen dedicates to politics (as political discourse, as political discussions, as following political events, etc.). In a study of the election period of 1993, it came out that Greek television had devoted twelve to fourteen times more time to the political showdown than France and Belgium. A commensurate demand for politics leads Greek television to dedicate a disproportionate amount of time to daily information and political debate in the period between two electoral contests. In this sense, one can accept that Greek society continues to be socialized equally or even more via politics than by the social institutions.
The above findings ascertain that the strict autonomy of the state does not ensure an analogous autonomy of the political forces from society. Indeed, the political forces demonstrate a high degree of dependence on the citizen. This dependence is not capable, however, of justifying on its own the great questioning of the institutions and of the forces that are involved in the management of politics. It must also be clarified how the relationship between the citizen and the politician is articulated.
We have already said that this articulation is not mass and cohesive but individualistic and dialectical. It is not meant for carte blanche roles, that is, those of inferred representation, but aspires to be achieved through a direct negotiation with the politician. However, the result of this relationship, although it derives from a high level of anthropocentric development of the individual, is subject to the conditions of the early, that is, politically underdeveloped, and therefore strictly autonomous, political system. The citizen does not negotiate with the politician, being within the system. He attempts to pressure the possessor of the political system by taking as a starting point the fact that he encounters it institutionally at the moment of its electoral legitimization. The relinquishment of the citizen’s vote occurs in return for the promise of an exchange, whereas in reality he cannot impose its realization institutionally. This constant extra-institutional political presence of the citizen creates the condition not of the dependence of the politician on him but on a particular orientation of his will, which is calculated to discover a way of incorporating the citizen in his legitimizing environment.
In this sense, the Greek political culture reveals a different cliental paradigm due to its adaptation to the modern political system. It is not a cliental relationship that is formed in the framework of the early or a-political society, where the dynamic of the class struggle dominates. In this case, the clientele is transformed into a system upon which the encounter of a politically overdeveloped society is formed, with a ‘pre-political’ political system. Hence, the cliental system, in contrast to the cliental relationship, is a ‘post-class’ phenomenon and corresponds to the phase of an anthropocentric maturity of society, which has not “swept along” the adaptation of the political system. The inherited particularity of the Greek society appears nowadays to be encountered with an analogous development of the modern societies during the last decades.
This system, a system of constant negotiation of the citizen with the politician, reveals why the political class obtains its legitimization in an environment of constant controversy, which is fed into, on one hand, by the distance between the promissory discourse and social expectation and, on the other hand, by the political praxis from the “natural” tendency on the part of the politicized society to register politics as a component part of the citizen’s everyday life and therefore to have a say in all of the issues of political life, and finally, by the political relationships at the level of the state.
Political culture, party system and political system
This fact makes more obvious the differentiation between the formal political system which embodies the state and which reserves the political rule and the real political system which arises from the nature of the relationship between the society and politics and is called upon to manage the party system (and the intermediary forces). The latter, equally if not stronger in the past than today, is conveyed clearly by a Greek leader in the second half the 19th century, a strong adversary to the high degree of politicization of the citizen, Harilaos Trikoupis, who noted that for the formal political system to function according to its specifications, the politician must “be liberated from the citizen.”
We have seen, however, that neither the appropriation by the state of the entire political function (of the qualities of the mandatee and of the mandator), nor the position of the political personnel above the law, nor, finally the projection of the purpose of politics to set aside the social will, were capable of adapting the political behavior of Greek society to the nature of the system.
The party system, in its turn, would be reconciled from the outset to the realities which were prescribed by the nature of society and the inherited political culture and would function as the point its encounter with the political system. Their stratified societal composition would be a constant without deviations, while their policies would never reflect class or ideological goals that would be consistent with the logical of the anthropocentric construction. The society of the Greek state, being, as we have seen, anthropocentric, aimed at improving the conditions of life (the redistribution premise), did not favor the return to purposes of politics which would reduce it to a mass instrument of the party system.
Hence, the different purpose of politics which the parties transfer to political power, the different political relationship which they interweave with the society finally alter the nature and the function of the state. The adaptation of the state, however, to the pronouncement of the politically developed society does not connote that it makes the latter politically emancipated. Its encounter with the party system, which possesses the state, in an extra-institutional environment, changes the relative advantage of the high level of politicization to a factor in its dependence on it. In this way, the party system is legitimized, on the one hand, as a necessary intermediary of society with the state, while at the same time its inability to transfer its political claim to the relationships that are formed in the environment of the political system, and the thereby nonresponsiveness of the latter to social expectations, functions as a fundamental source of delegitimization of the political personnel.
To better understand the particularity of the party system in Greece, it is essential to consider that it was established from the beginning under conditions of universal vote. As we have said, during the Revolution of 1821, the liberated regions were vested with political systems based on the cities with an extremely loose representative central power. The special republican system of presidency that was introduced by Ioannis Kapodistrias (1828- ) would not only maintain the universal vote but would oppose its rivals, who claimed that in order to modernize the country the censitary system would have to be introduced, as in the rest of Europe, that this was an inherent constant of Greek society. Even the laborious effort of the Absolute Monarchy imposed on Greece by the Holy Alliance would not manage to abolish the universal vote. Thereinafter, however, the breadth of its application would be restricted to the simple election of the political personnel.
Despite this, the preservation of the universal vote facilitated from the beginning the stratified formation of the party system, its encounter with the citizen on the basis of the cliental system and the articulation of a political discourse adapted to the everyday priorities of society. This system did not deviate only the purpose of the state and its relationship with society from the logic of the age of anthropocentric protogenesis (the demand for universal vote, the institution of the individual in terms of freedom, the transfer of political power to the elected authorities, the search for an anthropocentric, liberal or socialist way, of modern society, etc). It placed the relevance created by the engagement of the forces of strength with the agents of political power as a central issue on the political scene, and reduced the “operational” side of politics as a priority.
The reasoning behind these two constants of the Greek political system is different. It has as a common denominator the disharmony of the Greek political culture with the early political system of the modern state. The non-ideological commitment of the political power and its focalization on the issue of the management of the public sector (the everyday political redistribution, etc) brings the political class closer to the temptation of its appropriation and to its functioning as an agent of the forces of strength rather than as a representative agent. At the same time, the powerful politicization of society and the concentration of its interests in the essence of the representative correspondence of the political class, more actively turns the attention of the citizen to the issue of the clearness of his relationship with the public good. The corruption and the engagement of politics with the forces of strength or the subsequent disadvantageous position of the citizen in the priorities of the power, have been the constants in the critical discourse of society. For the same reason, practices such as the financing of the parties by the private business sphere (and for different reasons by public resources) have never been considered compatible with the representative nature of the political system. Indeed, it is a deeply rooted certainty that the party system, in that it needs enormous funds which it does not have, is obliged to exchange them with the corresponding concession of the public sector to its patrons or the appropriation of public resources. Behind this refusal is concealed the transformation of the political parties from “institutions of subscribers” to “institutions of sponsors” and the exaggerated inflation of the costs of political life. This refusal, therefore, turns directly against the established party system, and in general, the political system.
This uncompromising approach to the relationship that is formed in the triangle of political forces-political power-interest groups reminds us, first of all, of the non-adaptation of Greek society to the fact of deficit representation (which does not acknowledge the principle of mandator), and secondly, the low legitimization of the identification of the concept of the “public” area with the state. Just as politics has never been defined as the tautology of the state’s power, so the “public” refers to the concept of the “common”, that is, the matters of the “demos”. Hence, the state of the early anthropocentric age, as a third, independent body with its own sovereign will, ownership and interest find themselves facing the society after excluding it from the political system.
Political culture and legitimacy of state capacity. The new role of mass media
Similar observations also concern the low legitimization that is given to the state with reference to its effectiveness (the “operational” side of politics). The low level of attention given by the state to the production of work has been attributed to the cliental system, that is, the political class’s dependence on the politicized society. This acceptance is partly untrue and only with the clarification that the cliental system is the dysmorphic product of the political system of the nation-state which does not answer to the “politeia” of the cities. Because in this direction, the particularity of the Greek bourgeois class was equally weighty. This particularity has to do with the fact that not only did the state simply pre-exist, as did the nation, but also that it possessed a dominant position in southeastern Europe before that, and in Asia Minor (mainly in the Ottoman Empire and a large part of the Mediterranean) and a strong presence in Russia and Austro-Hungary, with the result that it has seen with scorn the modern Greek state for a long time. It also has to do with the nature of the Greek bourgeoisie, which was, post-statocentric or ecumenical and therefore viewed the idea of the nation-state, and particularly the capitalistic genesis within the state through a hostile prism. Hence, while it was not part of the state, it did not have reasons to pressure the political power to follow an “operational” policy (e.g. for economic development), whereas at the same time it distinguished in every form of protectionism in favor of a “domestic” bourgeois class, a major handicap for it. In every case, the modern Greek state possessed an extremely small space in which to support the development of a domestic bourgeois class capable of counterbalancing the political power.
The period of reconstitution within the state that began after 1922 and was completed with the development of a strong domestic bourgeois class, particularly after the 1960s, did not cease to be characterized by this duality. Indeed, only the class of Greek shipowners at this time controls % of the European merchant shipping and it is broadly the largest in the world, possessing 16.5% of the merchant fleet. It is worth underscoring at this point that the political discourse of PASOK during its “ethnocentric” period was characterized by intense hostile rhetoric against the international Greek capital and the diaspora, in an attempt to incriminate them as “saboteurs” of the rule of the state. This international image of a part of the Greek bourgeois class appears to acquire, over the last decades, new qualitative characteristics, owing not only to the country’s entry into the European Union, but also to the retransformation of the Balkans into its vital space, following the collapse of socialism. This character of the Greek bourgeois class would be incomplete if one did not take into consideration the significant role played by the “familiarity” of Greek society with international events and its close relationship with the diaspora and, at the same time, its universal encounter with the world due to its touristic development.
Two new parameters that have catalytically affected the formation of the relationship between the citizen and politics over the last decades is, on the one hand, the development of the media, and, on the other hand, the mass presence of economic immigrants.
The media are perceivable in modern societies as vehicle of information: they are regarded as responsible for conveying to society, among other things, the political dynamic that is produced around the centers of power. That is why their discharge to the private business sphere is not considered to matter; on the contrary, it is considered that they bolster the civil society. What is different in the case of Greece is that the heavy demand for politics transforms the media into a field of politics. In this way, the political forces and the political power are faced with the agents of the media, which decide in its place on the issues of political discourse, on the priorities of political information, on the politicians who will appear as representatives in discussions, etc. From dealer of political information, the media become its producer. The politician becomes a hostage to the media and the policies of the state are called upon to subject themselves to the priorities that increase ratings and the interests of ownership.
The question hereafter, beyond corruption focuses on the holding hostage of politics itself. The political class is turned from orchestrator of the cliental system into the client of the forces of the economy, particularly those that associate with the public sector and primarily those of the media. The “protection” becomes a condition of every political ambition. Hence, the transformation of the media into a field which produces policy makes the weaknesses of politics more obvious. At the same time it sets off, next to the natural communicative citizen-politician relationship, which serves the cliental system, the virtual communication between them, which, by its very nature, is also individualistic. In contrast, however, to the natural communication, the virtual discourse concerns the more general problems of society, particularly those that touch the citizen’s everyday life (e.g. unemployment, security, etc.). Within this framework, the effectiveness of the cliental system is not simply impoverished. The political class is publicly charged with its inability to deal with the problems that are attached to the dynamic of evolution and they essentially overstep it.
The case of economic immigration is of particular interest in tracing the satisfaction and the confidence of Greek society in the political class. Greece has received a large number of economic immigrants within a short time, which come to approximately 10% of the population. One would expect that the difficulties of integration, their effect on the labor of the citizens, the problems of security would cultivate feelings of xenophobia and the genesis of extreme right behaviors in the electoral body. However, we discover that, while some of these problems (such as unemployment) are charged to the ineffectiveness of the state, economic immigration is in a balanced way, indeed often in a positive way as to its effects on the national economy.
Religion in Greek political culture
Concluding the general outline of Greek political culture which makes it a particular paradigm, it is imperative to mention the position of religion and the Church in it. The case of the Greek Church presents a distinct interest from many points of view. As a worldview, the concept of orthodoxy was the Greek (i.e. anthropocentric) version of Christianity. The Christian religion remained, as did the ancient religion, under the responsibility of the city’s social body. The institution of the church was not transformed into a system. This concept of the church refers to the “ekklesia of demos” of the believers. Even the clergy is elected, is controlled and from the beginning recalled by the demos. This explains both its adaptation to the concept of the free individual and its orientation to the logic of auto-institutionalization on a local, regional, or generally cultural level. At the same time, while it developed in the environment of the late Greek cosmosystem, it embodied and authentically rendered its ecumenical dimension.
The constitution of the modern Greek state and the resulting demolition of the system of cities would lead, on the one hand, to the transformation of the Church into a clerical body, that is, an institution of the clergy with divine legitimization, and, on the other hand, to its nationalization. In this way, an often-conflicting duality would be created between the national Church and the Patriarchy of Constantinople, which would preserve its dual character as head of the orthodox Christian ecumene and as Hellenic institution with a distinct interest in the Church of Greece and the Greek Diaspora.
Despite its shift to clerical body, the Greek Church would preserve in many ways its traditional functions. It would continue to belong to the responsibility of politics, but this time as an autonomous but public institution, and it would continue not to be recognized as to its exclusive responsibility in a major and therefore socially interesting question such as religion. At the same time, it would remain within the Temple, meaning that the strength of the inherited dogma of discreet roles, the Church, is not permitted to develop secular responsibilities. This explains why an ecclesiastical education system, Christian parties and syndicates or Christian organizations with socioeconomic activities would never be developed in Greece.
On the other hand, the relative cutting off of the Greek Church from society due to its transformation into a clerical body, and particularly the nationalization of its “clientele,” in connection with its dependence on the state , would cultivate strong fears and a conservatism that would seek to become entrenched behind a national rhetoric. The “nation”, that is, “orthodoxy”, and more specifically the influence of the Church, are in jeopardy as the transition from the sovereign to the relatively sovereign state that “globalization” professes to be, threatens the established relationships that its introversion vested it with. It is noted, however, that this rhetoric of the Greek Church, which attempted to take on a specific content in the recent “dispute” over “identity cards,” confronted the universal reaction of the ruling class including that of the Ecumenical Patriarchy and ultimately was obliged to turn back. This explains the adaptation, and indeed the double meaning, of the discourse of the leadership, which, on the one hand, often expresses its sympathy for the economic immigrants and, on the other, stands not as a whole against “globalization,” but against its imperialistic version which threatens the national particularity and widens the gulf between rich and poor in the world. In every case, the confidence shown by the Greek society in the Church must be seen under the prism of the place reserved for it by its political culture.
We conclude that the inherited political culture of Greek society inevitably created a dual patriotism that is reduced, on the one hand, to the autonomous identity function of the nation, and, on the other, to the high degree of political development of the citizen. The state, pressed between the national and the political patriotism that originates in the society, finds itself facing a field of politics whose breadth of issues and depth of intensity escapes it. The political class, diverging between the “patriotisms” of society and the conflicts that are shaped in the environment of power, is unable to process, and particularly to manage, policies that lead to the synthesis of contrasts. Within this framework, not only does it not obtain legitimization from the authority of power of the state, but it also charges it with its constant care of acquiring legitimacy in a climate of multidimensional and enduring contestation.
A study of the Asia-Europe survey shows the two parameters that focalize an extremely high priority and in a way shape the identity of Greek society, the nation and politics. On the opposite side we find the extremely low esteem for the state (its institutions and functions), and for the political class. “Globalization” is seen in a relatively balanced way, whereas the international institutions follow the state in low esteem, at the same time indicating a strong preference in favor of strengthening their interventionary role and the development of synergies of the states for the solution or promotion of modern problems.
1. National identity appears as an extremely significant parameter for the Greek people. It defines itself by virtue of its national particularity (Ql: 96 vs. 89.3 average, though lower than Portugal: 98.1 and Ireland: 96.8). They consider being Greek as extremely important (Q2: 74.7 vs. 46.6 average and higher than all of the Europeans) and feel Greek (Q12c: 81 vs. 51.5). At the same time they do not relativize this general attitude with particular identities, regional, religious, etc (Q8: 80.2 with the average 69.6, with highest being the Italian people with 89.2). Finally, they are very proud to be Greek (Q13: 74.2 with the average 42.8), although if one also adds ‘somewhat proud,’ they come behind the Irish people (64.7 + 31=95.7).
Judging by the established view of organic relationship between the nation and the state, we have to conclude that Greek society is dominated by an unadulterated nationalism, which indeed ought to reflect the programs of the parties and, in any case, in the policies of the state. In every case, the national patriotism appears to dominate in the Greek political culture to the degree that it apparently erases every other partial identifying variation.
However, a closer look at the results of the Asia-Europe survey in combination with the other answers concerning the foundations of nationality, the state’s approach and politics, or even the supranational institutions, lead to different and perhaps diametrically opposing conclusions.
Indeed, as we have already noted, the Greek national identity existed before the state, recalling a multidimensional historical road of which a constant has been, in the last centuries, its cosmosystemic and ecumenical or post-statocentric constitution. The result of this national reference, which the Asia-Europe survey confirms, is the autonomous development and, by extension, its non-attachment to the state. The Greek national identity does not draw its content from the state and its proceedings do not identify with its own. The state, more simply, does not embody the nation. On the contrary, the Asia-Europe survey confirms that the nation finds itself in perpetual rivalry with the state given that its political expression, though it is now ethnocentric, comes from the field of the political praxis, is not left to the discretion of the state. The state is not authorized to define authentically the “national” policies.
This fundamental finding of the autonomous expression of the nation and of its rivalry with the state testifies that national identity also seeks other ways aside from the state in order to demonstrate its national patriotism. To the degree, however, that this is so, the “national pride” is not translated into nationalism. This approach of the nation does not offer itself in principle for the legitimization of nationalistic issues or for the cultivation of nationalistic political discourse.
At the same time, the Greek people’s scornful attitude towards the state (Q14c, Q14d, Q101, etc.) combines with an equally significant focusing of interest on politics (see below) and with an equally significant option in favor of the strengthening of supranational institutions and of the development of intrastate synergies (see below) on a planetary or regional level. The coexistence of these identities of the national and the political removes the state’s ability to embody the nation and political responsibility, according to the logic of the modern system, and exclusively to express two explosive mixtures of authoritative power. This fundamental discovery explains why in Greece no fascist movement has flourished in the past and why there are no nationalistic parties, nor is any expansive ideology or nationalistic rhetoric contained in the political discourse of the party system. This very acknowledgement explains the peaceful determination of the Greek people and why they demonstrate the lowest level of adhesion and indeed the greatest resistance to military intervention on the part of the hegemonic complex (as in Yugoslavia, in the Caucasus, in the Middle East, etc.).
2.What are the sources that feed into the national pride of the Greek people? Clearly it is not the state and its proceedings. The national pride draws from the history of Greek civilization, which does not refer only to antiquity but equally to the later period which reached its peak in Byzantium and, in a different sense, the Ottoman domination. It also draws from the position of Greek civilization in the modern world, including the testimonial to its place in the Greek cosmosystem (antiquities, religious monuments, and others). Today the control of the historical patriarchies of Alexandria and of Jerusalem as well as of the leaders of the orthodox churches by the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople echo the traces of this presence. In surveys the Ecumenical Patriarchy concentrate extraordinary popularity (+- %), close behind the President of the Republic.
The state is acknowledged as a national focal point as a sanctuary for a population of which nearly half maintain the memory of being refugees, and the concept of a homeland is reduced to the place of origin, outside the country. At the same time, the overwhelming distance that separates the presence of the modern Greek state in the world with relation to history and the position of Hellenism strengthens the tendency to attach the idea of the nation to Greek civilization and, by extension, to its autonomous approach.
3. What are the data that give weight to the constitution of Greek identity? Remaining within the framework of the questions of the Asia-Europe survey, we can appreciate the weightiness of five of them: the question of religion, that of origin, that of citizenship, of language, and of conscience.
Religion is recorded as important, with (Q12d) 73.2 (extremely important) and (somewhat important) 13.9 points vs. 25.5 and 22.5 of the average (Europe) or 33.3 and 8.7 of the average (Asia). However, this does not make for separate identity. Only 4.4 feel part of a religious community as opposed to 3.9 in the U.K., 6.9 in Ireland, 4.5 in France, 7.9 in Germany, and 5.1 in Portugal. It is, indeed, observed that the countries that show a high level of national reference (Q1) have the lowest points for religion as an autonomous community (e.g. Italy).
In the case of Greece, this implies that religion is absorbed in the national identity, which confirms the fact – which has been ascertained in other surveys – that religion is seen more as a culture that pertains to the Greek cultural circle and covers a ceremonial style of life, despite the metaphysical concern. Likewise, in the results of the Asia-Europe survey we have to consider that the Greek people continue to approach the Church as an institution of society that operates the “Temple” and not as a system to which the authentic administration of the religious questions belongs, and within this framework, the administration of the life of the individual that is associated with it. The surveys show Greek society to be consistently negative toward the potential development of worldly activities by the Church (such as in the education system, the creation of Christian parties, syndicates, social organizations, etc.). As an institution of society it continues to be subject to the authority of the collective will, that is, to politics.
To have been born Greek is registered as an important factor in one’s Hellenicity (76.2 ‘extremely important’ + 15.7 ‘somewhat important’ vs. 73.2 + 13.9 for religion) and greatly the average not only of other European (38.4 + 28.5) but of Asian (57.2 + 22.2) countries.
Two points are, I believe, necessary in order to comprehend the high position of origin in Greek identity. Firstly, origin is a self-inclusive prerequisite in Greek legislation in order for someone to be considered Greek and to be given citizenship. This variation is due to the large number of members of the Diaspora, who are not required to fulfill the other conditions such as residence for a certain period in the country, etc. The Greek by origin rightfully acquires citizenship even if he does not reside in the country. Secondly, the high score that origin receives conveys an opportune shift on the concept of nationality which came about in the nation-state, with relationship to the past, when a participant in the Greek anthropocentric or cultural education was considered to be Greek, that is a member of the Greek cosmosystem, regardless of his ethnicity. In every case, the emphasis on origin – on birth – does not refer to bloodline, but, as we shall see, to conscience.
Language is an equally strong element of Greek identity, higher than religion and origin (average: 78.9 + 16.6). However, as far as this is concerned, it is closer to the other European (60.7 + 26.4 average) and Asian (65 + 24.7) countries. Indeed, compared to the other European countries, Greece is seen to be at the same rates, such as Portugal (79 + 18.1), Italy (66.1 + 27.4), Sweden (73.3 + 22), Germany (66.9 + 26.8), France (64.3 + 30.2), the United Kingdom (73.6 + 19.5) and, paradoxically not with Ireland (13.8 + 32.4).
It is interesting to note here that the emphasis on language is consistent with the national identity, while with the other countries in the Europe-Asia survey, the high priority given to language in contrast with the low position that national identity holds reveals that language seems to convey their attachment to the nation-state and to its integration in it.
Citizenship (‘extremely important’ 70.3 + ‘somewhat important’ 21.8) is also a significant parameter in national identity, which, while it is not far behind the average among the countries of Asia (68.7 + 23.2) and of Europe (52.4 + 34.2) – in fact, some countries such as Ireland and Portugal surpass it – its causal base could be different. It admits that the connection of citizenship with the nation is combined, as we shall see, not with an attachment to the state, but with the other equally significant parameter of Greek identity, politics.
Conscience (‘feeling’ Greek) is the strongest parameter that constitutes the attachment to the nation (81 + 14.9 points) and this parameter falls behind the average, not only of Europe (51.5 + 31.7 points), but also of Asia (62.6 + 25.1).
The placing of conscience at the highest determinative point of national identity implies that the other parameters (language, etc.) are significant; however, they all function as constitutive elements, but operate under the condition of conscience. In this sense, conscience projects as the denominator of national identity and the determinant of the nation. As far as this is concerned, the case of Greece is closely related – among the European countries – to Italy (56.5 + 35.1), Ireland (49.4 + 37.9) and Portugal (73.2 + 21.7).
Political identity projects as equally significant as national identity and also constitutes an autonomous component in Greek society.
Political identity and political behavior
As we have already determined, this identity does not comprise a consequence of a particularity in the evolution of Greek society under the nation-state, but the product of a legacy that is reduced to the nature of the Greek cosmosystem and specifically its ecumenical phase, which it experienced until before the accession of the modern state. The compulsory adaptation of the political behavior of the Greek people to the system of this state did not erase their political identity, but altered its constitutive content.
Within the framework of the city, political culture expresses the cumulative or organic coexistence of individual, social, and political freedom. The experience particularly of political freedom varied according to the type of politeia – of political system – from city to city. As far as this is concerned, the most common types of political system appear to be the full representative – in which the statue of mandator is preserved from the social body – and the (direct) democracy, in which the universal political responsibility belongs to the demos.
The abolition of the cities system – and this means their political systems – and the reconstitution of Greek societies under the nation-state, would turn the citizen from “citizen of the politeia (of the political system” into a simple “citizen of the state.” Politics as freedom would disappear from the political scene and in its place the corpus of political rights would gradually develop. The project of the modern society would focus on the simple individual freedom and on the institutional or actual measures that would ensure its unobstructed exercise and development.
Within this framework, the political identity of Greek society would manifest itself as the expression of a high level of political conscience or development with strict individualistic characteristics, which would be formulated as a requirement on the part of the citizen to comprise a part of the field of politics and subsequently, to preserve a status of privileged conversants (interlocutors) with the political class. The citizen, however, would continue to define himself as a political animal and not simply as a social animal.
The state faced with this political patriotism shows itself, more than the nation, to be a fundamental rival. This is justifiable since, having chosen to embody the political system and the concept of the public sector, it identified with politics and monopolized its field. In this way, however, the individual or citizen was limited to the status of “private society.”
The surveys consistently show that even if today the Greek society has not really accepted the dichotomy between society and politics, that is, its exclusion from the political system and the state’s persistence in defining the “national” and the “political” priorities authentically. At the same time, its members vest the state with a high level of disdain as for its will and its ability to manage society’s interests. Finally, the issues of political interests and of political interference in society include an extremely broad field, not only as far as what concerns the personal choices of each of its members, but also as far as the whole of the policies of the state.
Although during the last decades similar developments which concern the emancipation of societies in the countries of western Europe – but also more generally in the world – have diminished their divergence in relation to the past; however, the difference in development and content of politicization in favor of Greek society remains significant. The political patriotism of the Greek people explains the strength of the political conflict that divides the political forces and generally the civil society, which doesn’t spare even the nation, and often its interests are sacrificed on the altar of political controversy.
Political patriotism, national patriotism and the state
The particular political identity of the Greek people as it is formulated in the Asia-Europe survey, reveals, from a first point of view, a contradiction. To the question “How interested are you in politics?” (Q402), they respond positively with relatively low percentages (very interested, 14.8, fairly interested, 28.5) that approach the average of Europeans (11 + 34.5) and of Asians (12.1 + 35). Similarly with respect to anything concerning the demonstration of negative interest. But it arises from the combination of the following answers that this position should be interpreted as a distancing of the system that manages politics and of its policies and not as a lack of interest in politics.
Expressions of political patriotism
This political patriotism is expressed, in a general sense, either positively as a choice, or negatively as a rejection.
The Greek sample believes that the “citizens have a duty to vote in elections” with a percentage that is explicitly higher than the average (in Europe 50.8 + 31.7, in Asia 48.7 + 34.7). Specifically “Strongly Agree” with 61.4 and “Agree” with 24.8 points, tying in the highest positions with Italy, Sweden, France and Portugal. However, in comparison with all the countries of the Asia-Europe survey, the Greek sample connects nearly uni-dimensionally the nation with citizenship (as above) and obviously not with the state.
They appear also to participate massively in national elections with 85 points (Q406: average: 70.7 + 14.6, as much as the Italian sample), at a distance from the other European countries, in local elections (Q407: 83.4 with the average: 66.7 + 16.7), in Euroelections (Q408: 81.8 with the average: 56.8 + 14.2). Their participation in the latter takes on particular significance when it underscores the interest in politics, in contrast to the other European societies, which although they declare a higher level of feeling European, participate with a much lower percentage in European elections (Q408: average 56.8 + 14.2, except for Italy, which has 83.7 points).
At the same time, it accepts that its vote, that is, its participation in the institutionalized political procedure, bears particular weight (Q201e: 46.7 + 24.3 points vs. average 34.6 + 34.6 for Europeans and 39.5 + 22.9 for Asians), relating as far as this is concerned with the United Kingdom (48.2 + 23.2 points) and that “the vote of the people is a basic factor that determines how things operate in a country (Q201h: 29.1 + 31.2 vs. 20 + 37.7 average Europe and 22.8 + 39.7 Asia). Agreeing with the general climate of the whole Asia-Europe survey, it is at a distance from the traditional right-left divisions (Q403, 404), which in any case never acquired in Greek political life the content that they had in the countries of the post-feudalist transition.
On the other hand, the Greek people do not demonstrate organic collectivity: together with Germany and Portugal they have the smallest percentage that would “sign a petition” (Q405a: 5.6 + 20.3 points vs. 15.5 and 31.2 of the average of other European countries). In contrast, there is significant interest in participation in demonstrations (Q405f: 17.7 + 20.7 points vs. average Europe 10 + 20.5 and 1.6 + 5 Asia), comparable only with that of the French sample (20.4 + 26.9). “Personal contact with a politician” about a personal or local problem of the Greek sample is one of the highest among the European people (Q405e: 10.2 + 18.1 vs. average 6.6 + 16.1), comparable with those of France and of Ireland, while it surpasses by far the average of Asian countries (2.4 + 7.7). However, together with Italy it also shows the highest percentage of abstention of this form of political participation (“would never do”) with 45.9 (Greece) vs. 46.2 (Italy).
TABLES (1,2,3,4) 10
The difference, nevertheless, that ultimately shows the particular political identity and, within this framework, the individualistic politicization of the Greek people arises from Q405c of the Asia-Europe survey and focuses on the encounter of politics with the everyday private life of the citizens. As it turns out, in all three cases (Talk about problems facing Greece, Talk about Greece’s party politics, Talk about international problems), Greek society appears to surpass by approximately 20 to 30 points the average of Europeans and by about 56 to 62.5 points the average of Asian societies.
This score reveals the particular attitude which shows not only the high level of political development but also the individual character of the politicization of Greek society: indeed, it appears to be personally preoccupied with a broad range of political issues (with international politics holding a vital position), so that one could claim that politics is a component part of everyday life.
What are the general priorities that prescribe the political behavior of the Greek people? Emphasis is given to more equal distribution of resources (Q412a: 57.6 + 30.5) vs. average 43.1 + 34 (Europe) and 18.2 + 31.4 (Asia), being at the same level as Italy, Sweden, and France. The environment appears firmly to attract their interest (Q412b: 30.6 + 34.6) vs. average 21.4 + 36.6 (Europe) and 17.2 + 41.3 (Asia), slightly lower than Italy, but with the same fate as Sweden. In addition, human rights, care of labor and welfare, the problem of refugees and asylum, peace and democracy are among the highest priorities.
It must be noted that the formulation of this question on the Asia-Europe survey seems to create some confusion that is visible in the responses of the Greek sample. Indeed, it appears to demonstrate extraordinary concern about problems (such as religious or minority problems) which in the country are nonexistent due to its religious and ethnological homogeneity. I believe that in essence the responses to these questions (Q303, 304), at least as far as Greece is concerned, ought to be interpreted as a demonstration of the high priority given to these particular issues. This approach is confirmed by the comparison of the Asia-Europe survey with other surveys on the same questions, where, however, the question focuses on the amount of interest in them.
The supremacy of politics: Common problems require political synergies
However, that which makes the difference with the other European and Asian countries of the Asia-Europe survey is the intense attachment of the problems with politics, that is, the focusing of attention on their resolution in the collective synergies that define the political phenomenon. This attachment, which is included in the syllogism that we developed above on the particular political identity of the Greek people, truly confirms that in this case they do not behave either as a “private society” or as a “state society” but as a “political society.” They think on a daily basis in political terms and for this reason consider that dealing with common problems is linked by collective synergism and, by extension, would not think of leaving them to relationships of forces.
That is how, in our opinion, we must interpret the responses to the questions of the Asia-Europe survey that charge the political power with the responsibility for their confrontation (Q306b,f, 401a,b,d,e) with a percentage that significantly surpasses the average of the countries of Europe and of Asia. Politics ought to care for the procurement of social welfare (Q306b: 68.4 vs. average Europe 46.3 + 37.7 and Asia 41.5 + 44.6) or for the resolution of economic problems (Q306f: 33 points, vs. average Europe 20.2 and Asia 23.5, but lower on this score than Italy and Sweden), although particularly on the question (Q306g: Society is better off when business are free to make as much profit as possible), it seems to approach the average of European countries.
In general, political power significantly influences our lives. Indeed, on the question “How much effect on life” (Q401) the various institutions – domestic and international – that possess politics, the Greek sample gives the highest percentage of all the countries in the Asia-Europe survey. The government (the political power of the state) influences our lives with 51.3 + 28.8 points (average Europe 32.6 + 42.8; Asia 38.9 + 39.4), the European Union with 36.5 points (average Europe 21), even the United Nations with 24.3 points (average 9.4 Europe, 9.8 Asia) or the multinational corporations with 33.6 points (average 19.7 Europe, 10.1 Asia).
Similar to the above focus of attention on politics but also with the strong political divisions that accompany it is the persistence in the need for consensus (Q412d: 26.4 + 38 vs. average Europe 10.9 + 34.4 – 11.4 + 40.3 Asia). The above must be combined with the question of “individuals should strive most for their own good” (Q412g) but also with a relatively low priority of public interest vs. the family obligation which, however, with the exception of France, is higher (11.9) than the average for Europe (6.4) and Asia (9.8).
Citizenship, state, political system
Political development and low confidence in the state
We have seen that the high level of political development of Greek society and the subsequent perception of politics as a collective process of which it is a component part, is combined with an extremely low esteem of the state, of the political class and their policies. The comparison, as far as this is concerned, with the other countries in the Asia-Europe survey takes on particular significance to the degree that in these countries the divergence between the interest in politics and the rejection of the institutions that embody it and of their policies is much smaller.
At the same time, the low esteem of the state and of its policies does not reflect a proportional dissatisfaction with life in general. This is implicit in the response of the Greek sample to the question, “How satisfied are you with you life as a whole?” which approaches the European average (Q502: 13.2 + 25 + 39.8 vs. average Europe 15.3 + 36.9 + 34.2), surpasses Portugal (3.3 + 26.2 + 49.8) and, on the point of intensity (very satisfied), Italy (12.5), Germany (12.9), and France (12.7). (Average for Asian countries: 10.4 + 34.7).
The fundamental outcome of this particularity is that the low esteem of the state and its policies does not express a disappointment that is associated with the high position of the nation – as the ethnocentric approach of the state believes – but with the high position of politics in the Greek mentality and its autonomous perception vis-a vis the state. The state is not legitimized to embody and exclusively to express concepts or values such as the nation or politics, transmuted to a political system, and subsequently, to put the society in the position of private individual.
The Greek society, not accepting the status of private individual (‘idiot’) or, in other words, the identification of politics with the state, rejects the dichotomous principle between the “social” and the “political.” Demanding of the political class to come out of the institution of the state and to encounter with it, transfers the field of politics to the space of the real society, even beyond the space in which the relationship between the “civil society” and the political power is articulated. This, however, cancels its role not only as manager of political sovereignty of the state but also as ideological-political expresser of its expectations.
It is interesting to note, in order to comprehend this argument, that the Greek people show low confidence not only in the “national” institutions but also in the international institutions. This low confidence in the political institutions - if it is combined with the full responsibilities offered to some of them in order to activate synergies, and also the high position held by politics in their priorities - shows that they reject not primarily the effectiveness of the nation-state or even of the political personnel but the system itself.
Political culture vs. political sovereignty. In search of democracy
In addition, the equally low esteem for the international institutions reveals that the “globalization and state capacity” dilemma is clearly foreign to the Greek political culture. The question on this focuses more on the issue of the democratic or non-democratic nature of the political institutions. More specifically, this position of the Greek sample reveals a contestation of the politically sovereign institutions or of the relationships of power that allow the uncontrolled autonomy of the political class and groups and the appropriation of politics.
It would be interesting, from this point of view, if in the Asia-Europe survey, together with the questions about the function or the effectiveness of the institutions, the question was asked whether they agreed with the political system or whether they would like a different one (or changes in the existing one) and which one (or what changes).
However, the combination of questions permits us to draw useful conclusions. Concerning the international institutions, we have already seen that the low esteem for the current situation is in line with the agreement of the Greek sample with their becoming stronger by assuming more initiatives in important international matters, and indeed with the synergy of the nation-members. This means that the Greek people perceive in the International Institutions a possible substitute for the present international system, in view of anything it sees as either incapable of acting or subject to the will of the forces of power.
More particularly, as far as the institutions of the state are concerned, we observe that there is a clear distinction made between political and non-political institutions.
The non-political institutions focalize a higher degree of confidence since they are not charged with the appropriation of politics, which varies from situation to situation, with relation to the average of the survey. These institutions are:
a) The law and the courts, which place close to the European average (Q101d: 9.6 + 37, vs. 6.4 + 38.1 average Europe and 11.6 + 32 Asia)
b) The police, which also place within the European average (Q101f: 11.2 + 36.6 vs. average Europe: 10.5 + 50.1 and 10.2 + 35.2 Asia)
c) The civil service, also with 4.5 + 19.2 vs. average Europe 5.4 + 37.6 and 10.2 + 41 Asia. This result should be combined with the strong percentage of low or negative assessment (36 + 36.7 – close to that of Italy and Germany) which is associated with its relevance to politics (corruption, etc.)
d) The military, which gets a high percentage of esteem (Q101h: 32.5 + 44.7 vs. average 14.9 + 45.1 Europe and 15.3 + 41.6 Asia), commensurate to that of the United Kingdom (29.5 + 47.2) and must be attributed to the significant position it holds in the questions of national security that the country faces.
The political institutions and their possessors (as is true for the institutions that depend more directly on them, e.g. the civil service, as above) are placed at the lowest level of confidence, compared with the totality of European and Asian countries in the survey.
TABLE (Q101a,b,c,e,i,j) 20
a) The Parliament receives on the first two questions(A great deal, Quite a lot) 6.7 + 19.5 points vs. 4.1 + 31.5 of the average of Europe and 6.5 + 26.6 Asia, but also the highest negative percentage (Not at all) 30.7 points vs. 17.9 average Europe and 18.6 Asia.
b) The political parties receive 2.6 + 12.3 positive points vs. 1.8 + 18.6 average Europe and 6.3 + 23.9 Asia, and 44.7 negative points with 31 average Europe and 17.2 Asia.
c) The government receives 6 + 23.9 positive points (average 3.6 + 29.2 Europe, 10.8 + 31.5 Asia), and 32.9 negative points (average 22.2 Europe and 13.6 Asia).
d) The political personnel (the “main political leaders”) are accepted with 2.3 + 13.7 points (average 2 + 22.9 Europe and 9.8 + 27.4 Asia) and are rejected with 42.3 points (average 28 Europe and 15.9 Asia).
e) Big business receives 6.6 + 28.6 positive points (average 7.4 + 41.6 Europe and 8.8 + 32 Asia) and 20.8 negative points (average 11.9 Europe and 9 Asia).
f) The mass media are accepted with 5.1 + 21.9 points (average 4.9 + 34.6 Europe and 9.8 + 37 Asia).
The assessments of the Greek sample and the comparison with the position of the other countries in the Asia-Europe survey lead to certain useful conclusions that confirm the general evaluation concerning the particular nature of Greek political culture. More specifically:
They bear a noteworthy relation, the only one in the entire Asia-Europe survey, to Italy: as to the rejection of the Parliament, of the Political Parties, of the government, and of the political leaders. They differentiate only as to Big Business and in part the mass media.
A greater propinquity with other European countries appears with relation to the political parties (especially with Germany and France), the government (as for the positive assessment it is in a better position than Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, while it surpasses all of them in terms of negative judgements), the political leaders (close to the United Kingdom), the big business (it concurs with Germany not only as to the negative but also as to the positive judgements), while on the mass media its assessments are close to those of Sweden, but are better than those of the United Kingdom and Germany.
In contrast, as concerns the Asian countries in the Asia-Europe survey, the comparison presents bigger deviations as they appear as a whole to have a positive assessment of the political institutions. A general finding that could be deduced is that the greatest relevance appears with Japan and at a distance from South Korea, while the largest deviation is from countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Representative deficit and appropriation of political institutions
What is imputed to these institutions by the Greek sample?
From the Asia-Europe survey it arises that the Greek sample reproach the political personnel for the absence of representative conscience its distance vis-a-vis the social will and the appropriation of politics and the public good. On the question of whether “people elected stop thinking about public interest” (Q201f) 30.6% strongly agree and 31.5% agree, while only 10.2% disagree and 1% strongly disagree (average 20.5 + 32.8 Europe and 16.2 + 27.8 Asia). As far as this is concerned, the assessment basically concurs with that of Italy (29.9 + 34.3) and of Sweden (33.2 + 27.7). Likewise, on the question “Officials don’t care what people think” (Q201g) 29.1% strongly agree and 32.2% of the Greek sample agree (average 21.8 + 36.4 Europe and 14.1 + 33.9 Asia), in harmony on this point only with Italy (33.8 + 34.9).
Particular sensitivity is demonstrated by the Greek sample on the question of appropriation of politics and, more specifically, of corruption. The matter of corruption is, as we have seen, a constant in Greek political life not only because the period after the anthropocentric proto-genesis (of non-ideological or class commitment, etc.) is offered for a more “personal” approach to politics, but also because the relative sensitivity and attention of the society is more highly developed. Thus, even though nowadays the European average (Q201b: 25.8 + 37.6) but also the Asian average (23.6 and 32.5) – and especially the opinion of some countries such as Italy (41.9 + 39.4) and France (39.4 + 38), share the view of the Greek sample (40.2 + 38.8), the qualitative differentiation of the latter continues to show more intensely the points of contestation. It is more intensely concerned about political corruption (56.4 + 31.9, vs. average 33.3 + 42.8 Europe, at a distance from Italy, France, and 39.7 + 30.9 Asia) and considers that the government falls conspicuously behind in dealing with it (Q206b: very positively and positively just 2.5 + 14 points vs. 41.8 not so well, and 35.2 not well at all). The corresponding average for Europe is 2.8 and 20.3 – 41.5 + 25 (average Asia: 6.2 + 18.9 – 35.6 + 22.3) with Italy, Germany and France closest to the Greek sample.
To the above rejecting approach to politics, it should be added that it is the assessment of Greek opinion that the political power does not assume the responsibilities that pertain to it, in politics; at the same time, it shows extraordinary ineffectiveness with regard to the management of the matters that come under its sphere of responsibility. (Q206…)
This inmost predisposition on the part of the Greek sample to incriminate the political power (the institutional environment and the political personnel) becomes clear when one compares it with the balanced sobriety with which the Greek sample allocates the causes of the problems that are faced by societies in light of “globalization.” To the question on the causes of the these problems (in the economy, unemployment, the environment), they attribute the causes in a moderate way to domestic and international developments:
Economy: Domestic causes: 25 points (aver. Europe 28.3 – Asia 34.7)
International causes: 21.1 points (aver. Europe 26.7 - Asia 18.2)
Both equally: 48.8 points (aver. Europe 39 – Asia 42.3)
Unemployment: Domestic causes: 42 points (aver. Europe 53 – Asia 57.2)
International causes: 15 points (aver. Europe 15.3 – Asia 11.2)
Both equally : 38.2 points (aver. Europe 27.3 – Asia 27.3)
Environment: Domestic causes: 37.7 points(aver. Europe 35.4 - Asia 50.7)
International causes : 14.4 points (aver. Europe 21.3 – Asia 11.9)
Both equally : 41 points (Aver. Europe 37.7 – Asia 32.6)
Risking an evaluation of these different assessments of the countries of the Asia-Europe survey, we would say that the view of the Greek sample is clearly closes to the developments that are prescribed by the dynamic of “globalization.” Indeed, this proximity concerns all three issues of the questionnaire: the economy, unemployment, and the environment.
The political culture of satisfaction in democracy
The most interesting are, however, the answers to the question about the function of democracy in the countries of the Asia-Europe survey. The Greek sample considers that democracy, as it functions in its country, is completely satisfactory (it makes them very proud) with only 15.1%, somewhat proud with 28.3%, not so proud with 39%, and not proud at all with 14.9%. The average of Europeans is respectively 13.8% – 41.7% – 28.9% – 11.8% and of Asians: 18.1 – 37.1 – 23.8 – 54%.
The Greek score for democracy is in complete harmony with the low esteem in which it holds the political institutions which are supposed to define it (the Parliament, the parties, etc.). As far as this is concerned, countries like Italy are also consistent, as are, in part, Sweden, Germany, and France. In other words, most of the rest of the countries appear to declare themselves proud of their democracy, while they blame basically the same inabilities as the Greek sample, such as the non-representative function of its institutions, corruption, etc.
At the same time, we observe that for the countries that present higher esteem for their democracy, the consensus substantially focuses on the acceptance of the existing system and not on a more advanced democratic phase of their institutions. A typical example is the United Kingdom, which is a country with the highest degree of pride in its democracy. However, a careful approach to the British system shows that it still maintains the most institutions with a feudalist legitimization (and not democratic), such as the monarchy (one of the two branches of the executive power) and the House of Lords (one of the two branches of the legislative power), while the government appears still to act in the name of the king and not of the people that elected it.
These remarks make it obvious that the assessment of the statistical sample presupposes the clarification of the starting point which the respondent takes as a base in order to answer, rather in spite of drawing the conclusion that the non-confidence in the system indeed indicates its poor operation. In other words, each time one must examine whether the evaluative attitude of the sample towards the institutions has to do more with its increased political demand – and, by extension, its democratic sensitivity – or with their quality.
In addition to the British political system, we would like to evoke two other examples revealed in the Asia-Europe survey. The first concerns corruption. Corruption as a “political category” appears in the modern world just after the decade of the 1980s, that is, after the “end of ideologies” of the anthropocentric construction (the liberal and the socialist) within the state. In Greek political life, we have already seen that corruption has been a constant since the beginning of the 19th century, and has been attributed to the different behaviors imposed on the political system by a different anthropocentric character of Greek society.
Therefore, the non-projection of corruption on the political scene of the modern European world does not imply that this did not exist before the 80s, but that the concept of corruption was different and that, in any case, the safety valves of the system did not allow it to register among the issues of politics.
This qualitative difference is confirmed by the refusal on the part of Greek society to exclude the question of financing of the parties by the private business world from the category of corruption. For Greek society, financing is done, by definition, in exchange for the granting of public resources to the sponsor, and in any case, shifts the purpose of politics from the field of “general interest.” However, the financing of the parties by the state is also seen negatively as it is interpreted as a appropriation of public resources .
The second example focuses on the starting point of Greek society which derives from the positions in the survey’s questions. This dimension has already been noted often during the attempts to interpret the results of the sample. Typically representative, however, is the example of unemployment. Unemployment in Greece is slightly above the average for the countries of the European Union (Euro-Zone: 8.5%, Greece: 9.9%) . However, Greek concern about the work situation (Q202a) or about unemployment (Q205d) clearly surpasses the average of the European countries (Q202a: 47.5 + 28.7 vs. average 18.6 + 29.1 or Q 205d: 84.2 + 13.3 vs. average 44 + 38) and particularly that of the Spanish sample (Q202a: 27.8 + 38; Q205d: 51.9 + 39.6), where unemployment is clearly higher (12%) in relation to Greece.
These different starting points thus reveal to the outside observer a bit of exaggeration that under other conditions would be difficult to interpret. Thus, the Greek society appears to be more concerned than any other society in the Asia-Europe survey about issues of minority or religious conflict at the moment that for objective reasons do not exist for the country due to its nearly complete homogeneity. The expression of concern, therefore, must be interpreted as a more general attitude towards the developments in the broader geopolitical region, which is extremely unstable and full of nationalist and religious conflicts.
According to this the responses of the Greek sample to these questions should be interpreted rather as an expression of a high degree of sensitivity about the issues to which they refer and not as a real concern. Indeed, differently formulated these questions (“What are the issues that are registered among your priorities today?”) they demonstrate the same range of answers as those that come out of the survey.
TABLES (of METRON ANALYSIS) 30
Globalization and Greek Society
Globalization and cosmosystem. Definitional clarifications
I consider it necessary to proceed to certain definitional clarifications that are connected with this question. The concept of “globalization” implies, in my opinion, two things: the definitive extension of the anthropocentric cosmosystem to the whole planet and the development of certain parameters (the economy, communication, the political dynamic, etc.) beyond the state, which previously functioned essentially as its preferential space. In this sense, “globalization” remains a strict statocentric process that signals the transition from state sovereignty to a relatively independent power constitution of the state. “Globalization,” therefore, is substantially different from the so-called “cosmopolitanism” that expresses a post-statocentric phase of the anthropocentric cosmosystem, which was defined as “ecumene.” In the Greek anthropocentric cosmosystem that gave birth to these concepts, the “ecumene” (in this case the anthropocentric societies as a whole) is composed as a “cosmopolis” (the whole world as one state) whose political system, the “cosmopoliteia,” is composed of the totality of cities (states) with the “metropolis” as head, which projects as the central political system. Within the framework of the “ecumene,” the citizen of the city (state) automatically becomes a citizen of the “cosmopolis,” that is a “cosmopolite”/”cosmocitizen.”
Thus, the terms “cosmopolis,” “cosmopoliteia,” cosmopolite and certainly “cosmopolitanism,” convey a specific – the post-statocentric – phase of anthropocentric development of the whole cosmosystem and not the early phenomena of a relative transgression of the strict state sovereignty (the just statocentric phase).
Globalization as a phase of the whole cosmosystem. International politics in the Greek political culture.
From the above findings it ensues that the high national priority of pride (national identity), to the degree that it is combined with an equally strong political conscience of the society (political identity) but not with a proportionate dedication to the state, does not translated into formal nationalism. Quite the contrary. We also determined that the non-confidence in the state is not associated simply with its ineffectiveness (e.g. vis-a-vis the nation or the everyday life of society). It is part of an overall political attitude which opposes the political field to the state, refuses the embodiment of the political process in it and finally the logic of sovereignty politics. It expresses an attitude minimally endosystemic, which should be interpreted as a negative appraisal of the political system, to the degree that this keeps the citizen in a position of weakness in face of the holders of power. Being sovereign, they are left free to appropriate the common “good” and to misuse their political function. This contestation of the autonomy of power is extended to the totality of mediation forces – the civil society – and not simply to the political forces.
The reactions of the Greek sample to the question associated with “globalization” move in the same direction. The Greek people show an extraordinary interest in international politics and do not consider that the national realizations come exclusively from their own state.
‘Globalization’ and the state. The low confidence in international institutions
However, it does not seem to entrench itself behind the national state, falls in with the strengthening of international institutions (Q208e) and synergies, claims to be extremely peace-loving (Q303h,i and Q304h,i) and is convinced of the positive consequences of opening to the world.
At the same time, as we have seen, the Greek sample holds the existing international institutions in low esteem – equally low as that for the state – considering that, while they significantly influence our lives, they present a deficit of politics. Indeed, they believe that the institutions are incapable of playing a more active role in contributing to the limiting phenomena of political and economic hegemony in the world.
It is interesting to note that the responses of the Greek sample on the causes of important problems that concern our times are allocated, as we have already noted, in a balanced way to domestic and international developments. However, a “demonizing” of globalization does not arise, nor is the state projected – the return of state sovereignty – as an alternative. In addition, issues such as the quality of goods and services (Q301a,b), the standard of living (Q301f), entertainment (Q301g), are considered to receive an positive effect which is favorable to the citizen with “globalization”.
A relative reservation is expressed about the “quality” of the news that brings the development of world communication networks. Thus, on the question of the “kind of things reported in the news on TV,” the Greek sample considers that it has a good effect with 19.2 points, has a bad effect with 38 points, and neither good nor bad with 26.5 points vs. an average for Europe of 31.9 + 19.6 + 30.3 and for Asia 44.6 + 9.9 + 30.1 respectively, with the nearest score to Greece being France (21.8 + 15.9 + 36.3).
The problem of ‘globalization’ is democracy.
The above confirm the assessment that we noted previously that the problem as far as “globalization” is concerned, just as in relation with the national state, is political. The Greek sample appears to choose the critical questioning of the system based on the logic of a relative democratization – which, as we have seen, is focused within the country on the question of the exclusion of the society from the political process and of the nonattachment of the political class to the social will – which on the international scene translates into a clear position in favor of the collective synergies.
Indeed, Table Q102 gives a low degree of confidence of the Greek sample to the international institutions. The United Nations receives just 3.1 + 18.5 points, the lowest among all the countries in the Asia-Europe survey (average Europe: 9.1 + 41.8, Asia 10.5 + 35.6). The same is true for the WTO with 1.8 + 12.8 points vs. average Europe: 2.8 + 24.5, Asia: 7.7 + 30.7; NATO with 1.9 + 10.2 vs. average Europe: 7.1 + 35.8, Asia: 4.3 + 20.2; the World Bank with 2.5 + 14.6 vs. average Europe: 3.9 + 26.7, Asia: 8.7 + 29.5 and multinationals with 3.4 + 19.2 vs. average Europe: 3.7 + 31, Asia: 8.3 + 35.3.
One could suppose that some of these institutions are charged more with the open international problems of the country such as the Cyprus issue and the Greek-Turkish differences. However, a closer observation confirms the point of view that this approach is expressed in its general attitude and refers to the whole of political power.
The case of the European Union presents, particular interest. The confidence in it is the highest expressed by the Greek sample, comparing with its position with relation to the other inter-state institutions and, indeed, at a distance higher than all the “national” political institutions. However, even in this case, the Greek score is slightly lower than the average of the other European countries (Q 102g: 5.2 + 30.6 vs. average 7 + 37.9 of the other European countries). It is, nevertheless, much better than that of Sweden (1.4 + 17.2) and of the United Kingdom (1.9 + 19.8) and nearly equal to that of Germany.
On the other hand, the Greek sample, consistent with an approach of politics that places it in a regulatory environment, in order not to degenerate into a simple relationship of forces, falls in line with the strengthening of power and the effectiveness of the international institutions. On the question “International bodies should have the right to enforce solutions” (Q208e), it votes in favor with a percentage of 35.6 (strongly agree) + 37.4 (agree) vs. an average for Europeans 27 + 38.9 and for Asians 17.8 + 39.4, nearly tying with France and Sweden. This result confirms, in every case, that its distrust of the international institutions does not have an ‘anti-globalization’ motivation but is consistent with their, in its opinion, inability to assume roles in accord with their principles (e.g. the United Nations) capable of balancing the unilateral strength of the Great Forces and of the multinational corporations.
Consistent with this evaluation is the point of view of the Greek sample that certain timely issues on life “have become more important” over the last few years, obviously due to the worsening of planetary relationships brought on by the acceleration of the cosmosystemic development (Q303). It is the problem of unemployment, of the developing countries, of refugees and asylum seekers and of military conflict in Europe and in the world which are rated with a score above the average for the European countries. In contrast, human rights and the environment are considered to have worsened over the last few years, but with a percentage less than the European average.
‘Globalization’ should be a cosmosystemic transition, not ‘Americanization’. The question of pluralism.
In general terms, with reference to the particular questions that are linked to ‘globalization’, the attitude of the Greek sample is, as we have just seen, positive (see above). However, a closer study of the responses reveals a hesitancy or rather, an ambivalence. On the question of whether the mobility of products, capital, people and information influences their lives positively or negatively, the Greek sample also expresses certain reservations. It comes out in favor of restricting imports with a percentage higher than the average (Q208: 35.3 + 33.4 vs. 16.1 + 28.5 of the average of European countries). It is not enthusiastic about the idea of greater use of the English language among the Greek people (Q301e: 22.7 + 36.4) or of the alteration of the Greek language by English influences, although it does not seem to differentiate from the other countries in the Asia-Europe survey. This position acquires particular significance, to the degree that the performance of the Greek people in languages is among the highest in Europe, because it implies that it mistakes “globalization” for a phase in the development of the cosmosystem, and not as a “form of Americanization.” Despite this, the Greek sample finds that the process of “globalization,” as it is developing today, is “a form of Americanization” (Q302: with 69.4 vs. 17.3 points vs. average 50.5 vs. 29.2 Europe and 38 vs. 37.6 Asia). This acceptance which certainly conceals its objection to the identification of globalization with “Americanization,” that is, to culture homogenization, finds a European ally only in France (60.5 vs. 29.5 points) and at a relative distance from Sweden (56.7 vs. 23.6).
The Greek example makes it clear, more perhaps than any other, that the statistical result is extremely interesting for the comparative appraisal of the political culture of modern societies. Nevertheless, it is not sufficient by itself to lead to certain conclusions.
In fact, the Greek example is guided by the particularity of the inherited political culture which is attributed to the different nature of Greek societies in the pre-ethnocentric period. These societies indeed lived under the anthropocentric cosmosystem of cities until the 19th century and a significant number of the Greek societies until the second decade of the 20th century. This last period is distinguished from the deeply democratic nature of the societies of cities and their ecumenical constitution.
The final “harmonization” of Greek society with the socio-political project of the transition of modern societies from feudalism to anthropocentrism would, however, legate certain particularities concerning values and the behaviors, the consideration of which offers the drawing of interesting conclusions ensuing from the study of the Asia-Europe survey.
These conclusions are, just to mention a few, the following: First, the Greek political culture approaches the concepts of nation and politics as autonomous as well as component parameters of the identity of the society. The nation is defined self-inclusively based on a series of data that supply the conscience of the individual, among which the state is not necessarily included. Politics functions in the conscience of the Greek citizen just as individual freedom to modern societies, as a component feature of his identity. He is defined as a political animal and not simply as a social animal, with the meaning that political life is included among the fundamental causes of his everyday life.
The self-determinative factor of the Greek people by virtue of their national and political identity and not primarily as a member of the state, brings them face to face with the latter, that is, its political system, its managers (the political class) and its policies. The modern Greek state is incompatible with a concept of the nation that still preserves significant elements from cosmosystemic and, indeed, its ecumenical nature. At the same time, it is considered to be too small and ineffective to be compared with the size of the Greek civilization which is the source of national pride.
The political development of the Greek people, on its part, comes into direct conflict with the state to the degree that it introduces the alienation of society from the political process and the complete absorption of politics by it. The citizen’s identification with the state presupposes that he is, on the one hand, indebted to it for his national conscience and, on the other hand, non-competitive with its political functions. The “operational” approach of politics (its effectiveness) is evaluated by the purpose of politics, but is defined by the more general relationship between society and politics. However, in the case of Greece, not only do we find a differentiation between the purpose of politics projected by society and the nature of the state, but also especially a incompatibility of the political system (the state) with the political nature of society.
The state capacity is not opposed to “globalization” but to its inability to respond to social standards, to the appropriation of politics by the political personnel and interest groups and its deficiency in relation to the political development of society.
These same reasons lead the Greek sample to hold in equally low esteem the international institutions, which it ascribes with ineffectiveness, a low ability to intervene in international events, so that the power relationships dominate instead of inter-state synergies.
As far as “globalization” is concerned, the Greek sample maintains an ambivalent position. It accepts its positive effects on the quality of life, on the development of competitiveness and consistent with its high level of political development, demonstrates a high level of interest – the greatest in the Asia-Europe survey – in international affairs. At the same time, however, it expresses serious concern about the deterioration over the last few years of world peace and of the security of citizens (human rights, asylum, etc.) and, emphatically, its objections to the development of “globalization” into a vehicle of “Americanization” of the world.
Being extremely proud of its culture and relatively satisfied with its life, Greek society falls in with a multi-cultural development of the world in which different politics, cultural or economic hegemonies will be counterbalanced by a regulating environment of peace and synergy. Its choice in favor of strengthening the international institutions and its particular favor of the European Union reveal that it sees its national integration and its prosperity beyond the nation-state, as an integral part of the general developments at a cosmosystemic level.