Πάντειο Πανεπιστήμιο Κοινωνικών και Πολιτικών Επιστημών
This exploratory study examined the extent to which a population of Greek Americans hold attitudes and behaviors for the conservation and intergenerational transmission of their ethnic culture. In particular, six core value domains were considered for their impact on the preservation of ethnic identity: the Greek language, Greek Orthodox Church, family cultural orientation and values, Greek cultural activities and organization membership, continuing contact with Greece and/or Cyprus, and political activity. Data was obtained through a questionnaire administered to 229 self-identified Greek Americans in 11 parishes of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey. The collected data was analyzed quantitatively and the differences in behaviors and attitudes among the first, second, and third and beyond generations were statistically compared. At least four patterns of intergenerational changes emerged. The first pattern was observed within the Greek language domain and demonstrated the steady diminishment of this as a core value from one generation to the next. The second pattern was observed for the domains of the Greek Orthodox Church and Greek cultural activities; here, the core values reflected the least degree of reduction in the subject population. The third pattern was observed mostly in behavior – rather than in expressions of attitude – regarding the domains of family cultural orientation and values and continuing contact with Greece and/or Cyprus. These domains reflected more similarities exist between the first and second generations while a significant deviation was seen for the third and beyond generational cohort. The fourth pattern was observed in the core values of organization membership and political activity which showed similar responses for the second and third and beyond generational groups, and greater distance from the results for the first generation. This study provides new insights into the acculturation and assimilation process that has taken place among Greek Americans within the boundaries of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey. Overall, a shift from Greek culture values to shared Greek American values has occurred with each successive generation. Greek language loss is occurring at a precipitous rate and may essentially cease to meaningfully exist in the Greek American community after one or two more generations. However, the evidence suggests that the Greek heritage can be maintained although the Greek language may be lost. This might be achieved by providing a more comprehensive Greek heritage education to children of future generations. In addition, the present study discussed the impact of the increasing rate of intermarriage on Greek culture preservation. Finally, six major factors were recognized to play a major role in maintaining the Greek heritage in America: the Greek Orthodox Church; multiculturalism; Chairs of Hellenic Studies in American Universities; issues of mutual concern and political involvement; influence through prominent Greek American leaders and executives in politics, academia, religious and cultural organization and business; and inspiration through learning the Classical Greek Civilization and Greek history. This study might also be used as a model for future studies in other ethnic groups in the U.S. as well as in populations of Greeks throughout the diaspora.
Διατριβή (διδακτορική) - Πάντειο Πανεπιστήμιο. Τμήμα Κοινωνιολογίας, 2012