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From «Pax Ottomanica» to «Pax Europaea»

The growth and decline of a Greek village’s micro-economy

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Dimitrios Konstadakopulos

The macroeconomic development of south-eastern Europe has been profoundly affected not only by the region’s major historical events – for example, liberation from the Ottoman Empire, the outbreak of civil wars, and the birth of new nations – but also by global events, such as the world-wide conflicts of the twentieth century, and the recent transnational processes of globalisation and European integration. The rationale of this book is to employ a comprehensive micro-history – that is, the history of one particular community: in this case, the village of Tsamantas, in north-western Greece – as a means of providing a detailed picture that will permit extrapolation to a wider context. Situated in one of the most isolated parts of the region of Epirus, Tsamantas has a complex history and a rich folk culture. At times, it has been a textbook example of how decision-making within a community can impact upon the success of the local economy. Its inhabitants have been rational problem-solvers, with a sense of what is in their family’s best interests, rather than passive victims of circumstance, and their choices at critical points in the village’s history have resulted either in growth or decline. The author focuses his groundbreaking analysis on these choices, drawing upon publications, archived materials, and illuminating oral accounts of local events.
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Chapter 4: The Economy of Tsamantas during the First Half of the Twentieth Century

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The Economy of Tsamantas during the First Half of the Twentieth Century

In recent years there has been a growing trend amongst researchers specialising in regional and local economies to consider globalisation issues when investigating economic growth and decline. Katharine Rankin notes that most of these researchers are economic geographers, who are especially concerned with exploring ‘the social and institutional dimensions of production, consumption, value and exchange’. Their investigations into the spatial factors of capitalist accumulation and economic growth have added substantially to our understanding of the development of local economies (2003: 720). But what exactly is meant by globalisation? David Held (1999: 84–85) defines it as ‘a set of processes which shift the spatial form of human organisation and activity to transcontinental or interregional patterns of activity, interaction and the exercise of power’. He goes on to say that this involves ‘a stretching and deepening of social relations and institutions across space and time such that, on the one hand, day-to-day activities are increasingly influenced by events happening on the other side of the globe and, on the other, the practices and decisions of local groups or communities can have significant global reverberation’. According to William Robinson, a standpoint encompassing such processes has the potential to shed light on a region’s history. The concept of globalisation, he asserts, can facilitate scholars in developing a macro-historical perspective, necessary for a view of the ‘big picture’ (2002: 221–222).

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