Battles over how we remember the past are not just battles about the past. They also structure the political space of the present. The Generations of Transition investigates how distinct generations experienced and remember the transition from authoritarianism to democracy in Greece, known as Metapolitefsi, since the “long 1970s”. It begins by telling the oral (hi)stories of transition and its legacy across time, beyond institutional achievements and setbacks, and from the standpoint of multiple political generations. It then incorporates these histories into its central claim that the 2008-2012 economic and social crisis triggered a radical re-evaluation of the success story of democratisation by turning the conflicting generational recollections of these events into pivotal components of present political contestation. As such, it introduces to the literature the crucial role of generational memory in shaping the political, social and cultural developments of the entire post-authoritarian period. The paper relies on in-depth interviews and a close analysis of a number of memoryscapes (texts, images, and music) of the 1970s to make sense on the different generational ways in which the past is being remembered and contested at present.
Kostis Kornetis studied history in Munich, London and Florence. He taught at Brown University and New York University and was Marie Skłodowska Curie Experienced Fellow at the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid. His book Children of the Dictatorship: Student Resistance, Cultural Politics and the “Long 1960s” in Greece (Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, 2013) received the Edmund Keeley Book Prize of the Modern Greek Studies Association in 2015. He has co-edited Metapolitefsi. Greece at the Crossroads of Two Centuries (Athens: Themelio, 2015, in Greek) and Consumption and Gender in Southern Europe since the “late 1960s” (London: Bloomsbury, 2016). He has published extensively on the history and memory of social movements in the European South and is currently working on a manuscript on the generational memory of the transitions to democracy in Spain, Portugal and Greece.