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Greek Whisky: The Localization of a Global Commodity

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Volume 1

Food, Nutrition, and Culture

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Greek Whisky

The Localization of a Global Commodity

Tryfon Bampilis

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268 pages, 21 illus., 3 tabs, 1 map, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-877-3 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (April 2013)

eISBN 978-0-85745-878-0 eBook

Hb   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“…a well-written and insightful ethnography of modern Greek culture—a good endeavor of ethnographic writing directed not only to students and academics but also to a more general public… I also like the way that the tradition of Greek ethnography blends with new methodological tools and current concerns.”  ·  Elia Petridou, University of the Aegean

This is an illuminating, compellingly narrated account of whisky as it has been appropriated and consumed in Greece. Drawing on fieldwork carried out in Athens and on the island of Skyros, the author takes the reader on a guided tour of Greek drinking habits as these take form in bars, bouzouki joints, shepherds’ huts, and private homes.”  ·  Charles Stewart, University College London

“…an interesting and timely book…The chapters are tied nicely together and the ethnographic material solid.  It is an inspired and well-founded study of a striking phenomenon: the rapid appropriation of whisky as a ‘local’ symbol by important groups of the population in two widely different regions of Greece. The study is based upon impressive command of the relevant general literature.”  ·  Dimitra Gefou-Madianou, Panteion University, Athens


In many contexts of Greek social life, Scotch whisky has coincidentally become a symbol of “Greekness,” national identity, modernity, and the middle class. This ethnographic study follows the social life of Scotch in Greece through three distinct trajectories in time and space in order to investigate how the meanings of the beverage are projected, negotiated, and acquired by various different networks. By examining the mediascapes of the Greek cultural industry, the Athenian nightlife and entertainment, and the North Aegean drinking habits, the study illustrates how Scotch became associated with modernity, popular music and culture, a lavish style, and an antidomestic masculine mentality.

Tryfon Bampilis has taught cultural anthropology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the University of Bayreuth, and he has served as scientific advisor of the Netherlands Institute in Athens (NIA). He is coeditor of Social Matter(s): Recent Approaches to Materiality (2013, in press) and is currently researching the rise of the far right in Greece in relation to the economic crisis, diversity, and immigration as a visiting fellow of the University of Oxford.

Subject: Food & Nutrition General Anthropology
Area: Southern Europe


List of Displayed Matter
Note on transliteration

Introduction: The social life of whisky

Chapter 1. The imported spirits industry in Greece
Chapter 2. Dreams of modernity: Imagining the consumption of whisky during the golden age of Greek cinema
Chapter 3. “Keep walking”: whisky marketing and the Imaginary of “scale making” in advertising
Chapter 4. The social life of whisky in Athens. Popular style, night entertainment and bouzoukia with live Greek popular music
Chapter 5. The location of whisky in the North Aegean

Conclusion: Trajectories of Scotch whisky, realms of localization


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