Dr. Foteini Kalantzi has a PhD in International Relations (2017) from University of Macedonia, Greece. She conducted part of her PhD research at the Freie Universität Berlin. She has an MA in International Political Economy from Warwick University, a BSc in Economics from University of La Verne, California and a BA in International and European Relations from Panteion University, Athens. She has been the A.G. Leventis Researcher at the South East European Studies at the University of Oxford since 2018. She is the convenor of International Politics of Migration, Refugees and Diasporas BISA working group. Her research interests include securitisation of migration, European borders, diaspora politics, Greek political affairs, and European integration.
Research Keywords: Greek diaspora; Political engagement; Diasporic vote.
I have been one of the core members of the Greek Diaspora Project at South East European Studies at the University of Oxford (SEESOX). The project aimed to investigate the impact of the most recent economic crisis in Greece on the homeland—diaspora relations, and to explore how the diaspora could have a positive impact to Greece, while in turmoil. The main thematic areas of the project have been the new migration and brain drain, diasporic philanthropy, political engagement and survey work on the Greeks in the United Kingdom and Germany. Apart from conducting research and offering new insightful analysis on the Greek diaspora and its interrelationship with the homeland, the Greek Diaspora Project created an invaluable network of research associates and diaspora scholars. Through brainstorming meetings, expert workshops, surveys, research, publications, reports, conferences, a digital map, we produced sound analytical work with policy relevance, having a clearer understanding of diaspora’s role and providing a method of study for other comparable cases.
The project has also built strong partnerships with several other institutions in Greece and across the world, enhancing in a sense the transnational space of Hellenism. The assumption of our analytical work is based upon the fact that the economic crisis has reconfigured diaspora and homeland ties. Through multi-level analysis and through interdisciplinary lenses, and in comparative contexts, we have proved in our work, that crises can challenge the resilience of earlier patterns of engagement. Also, that crises can play a significant role to the emergence of new spaces of engagement between the homeland and the diaspora (e.g. transnational diaspora philanthropy), and to the emergence of new actors in the Greek transnational diasporic terrain.
During this time, we have worked on political, social, philanthropic axes of the Greek diaspora. More specifically, we produced a survey on the Greeks in the UK, shedding light on several political, social, and economic characteristics of their engagement with the homeland. We have also built the Greek Diaspora Digital Map, now including more than 4,000 diasporic organisations and associations. It constitutes a dynamic tool that can be used in different ways to depict and connect Hellenism across the world. We have produced reports on the impact of diaspora and transnational philanthropy during the economic crisis. Also, we published the e-book entitled, The Diaspora and the Homeland in the Time of the Pandemic, composed of contributions evaluating the coronavirus pandemic effect on new terms of interaction between the diaspora and the homeland.
My research concentrates on the political engagement of the Greek diaspora, digital diasporas, and the growing role of diasporic networks. I have been particularly interested in the facilitation of the Greek diasporic vote by tracing the party-political and societal discursive and mobilizational dynamics, and also analyzing the issue in the context of the European normative framework. My investigation focussed on the adoption of the new law in 2019 facilitating the vote of the Greek diaspora, which constituted a pivotal moment in the political engagement of the Greek diaspora with the homeland. One of the main aspects in the theoretical framework was the significance of the crisis as critical juncture for the re-evaluation of the diasporic vote facilitation. The primary research included the analysis of Parliamentary Hansards, reports of the Special Permanent Committee on Greeks Abroad, and online media.
My motivation for engaging with the topic was the significant 2019 turning point of the facilitation of the diasporic vote. I wanted to understand what brought this major change and in what ways could it potentially reconfigure the relations between Greece and its diaspora.
I have also been the coordinator of the Greek Diaspora Digital Map, a global map depicting diasporic organisations and communities. In this capacity, I have organized and analyzed the digital map’s underlying data, from which I prepared quantitative and qualitative reports, useful to policy-makers.
I am proud of being one of the editors of the book Diaspora Engagement in Times of Severe Economic Crisis: Greece and Beyond (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), which has been the outcome of several years of research, brainstorming, discussions, conferences and partnerships, and an important milestone for the Greek Diaspora Project at SEESOX. Part of the research that I have conducted is presented in the chapter Crisis and Change: The Right of Greek Citizens to Vote Abroad (co-authored with Othon Anastasakis).
An early career researcher many a times faces the obstacles of funding. In the last few years, as a researcher at SEESOX, I am grateful to have been supported by the Leventis Foundation to carry out my research.
January 15, 2024