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Modernity as Cure and Poison: Photo-Ethnography and Ambiguous Stillness in Therasia, Greece

Kalantzis, Konstantinos; (2020) Modernity as Cure and Poison: Photo-Ethnography and Ambiguous Stillness in Therasia, Greece. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie (ZfE) = Journal of Social and Cultural Anthropology (JSCA) , 145 (2) pp. 343-370. Green open access

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Abstract

As Therasiotes – residents of Therasia, a sparsely populated island sitting to the west of the globally iconic tourist destination of Santorini – engage with their landscape, they are haunted by a sense of stillness, which contrasts with Santorini’s reverberating modernity. By combining text with photographic imagery, this essay explores how Therasiotes experience quietness and its perceived antithesis, modernity, as well as the ways in which both are entangled in conflicting dynamics of pleasure and aversion, a condition invoking Derrida’s discussion of Plato’s pharmakon, with its inherent vacillation between the categories of cure and poison. The article examines peoples’ material practices and modes of looking in order to understand how they experience time and place and how they rework the island’s position in national and global hierarchies of value. It also proposes a peripatetic narrative structure that mirrors my own physical movements on the island in pursuit of photos and thus explores the ethnographic role of photography as a narrative strategy, an object of study and a research method.

Type: Article
Title: Modernity as Cure and Poison: Photo-Ethnography and Ambiguous Stillness in Therasia, Greece
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.jstor.org/journal/zeitethn
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: modernity, ethnography, photography, tourism, material culture, landscape
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10154316
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