Ethnic Groups on the Move: Acculturation Dance Strategies of the Greek Gagauz

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Ethnography, dance, identity, acculturation, ethnic group


The field of this research is the area of Thrace in Greece, in which people from various ethnic groups coexist for almost a century. Most of these ethnic groups moved to the area, after voluntary migrations in 1923. The newcomers were classified as "refugees" and were treated hostilely by the locals. One of these ethnic groups that was treated hostilely was the Gagauz, a Turkish-speaking ethnic group. The aim of this research is to study the acculturation strategies of the Gagauz in their attempt to be accepted in Greek society. This study attempts to investigate the way in which the Gagauz construct and reconstruct their ethnic identity through dance. Data was gathered through the ethnographic method as this is applied to the study of dance. The interpretation of the research data in order to approach the ethnic identity of the Gagauz was based on the theoretical perspective of cultural and social construction or constructivism. This theory, in order to highlight the ethnic identity of the Gagauz, is used under the analytical terms of "acculturation" according to the multicultural model proposed by Berry. From the analysis and interpretation of the ethnographic data, it was found that the construction of the ethnic identity of the Gagauz in Greece is a fluid process, in the reconstruction of which an important factor is the degree of its acculturation. The Gagauz, experiencing a social reality that seeks to have multiple identities at the same time, change the meanings of their actions always in relation to their social environment. Thus, on the one hand, they choose to have a Greek Thracian ethnic identity, on the other Gagauz ethnic identity, and on a third level they self-identify as Greek Gagauz. So, depending on their circumstances and feelings, they choose a different ethnic identity.


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Author Biography

Eleni Filippidou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Eleni Filippidou is a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Physical Education and Sport Science of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens with a scholarship from the Hellenic State Scholarship Foundation and Lecturer in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences and Techniques of the French College Idef-Universite Paris13. She is a graduate of the Department of Physical Education and Sport Science of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and holds a Postgraduate and Doctoral Degree in Folklore-Anthropology of Dance at the same university.


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How to Cite

Filippidou, E. (2022). Ethnic Groups on the Move: Acculturation Dance Strategies of the Greek Gagauz. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 9(4), 139–155.



Original Manuscript
Received 2022-07-22
Accepted 2022-11-19
Published 2022-11-29