Travel and the Greek migrant youth residing in West Germany in the 1960s-1970s

Nikolaos Papadogiannis

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Abstract

This article explores the travel patterns of young Greek migrants, both students and workers, who resided in the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. It draws on recent scholarly works that call into question a rigid distinction between migration and tourism. In this vein, the article claims that their joint examination contributes to a more nuanced understanding of both the migratory experience of Greeks who lived in West Germany and of the youth culture that emerged in Europe at that time. In particular, while a growing number of peer groups of young people from West Germany engaged in tourism, especially the cross-border variety, from the 1960s onwards, travel was hardly an age-specific pursuit for young Greek migrants at that point: by contrast, their travel revolved (or at least was expected to revolve) around visiting their natal areas and reinforcing their links with relatives. A diversification of their travel-related lifestyle norms, however, occured in the early 1970s as a result of the influx of Greek students at West German universities. Those youngsters, along with some young Greek migrant workers, began to travel as tourists beyond their country of origin as well as to acquaint themselves with aspects of the travel culture of local young people from West Germany, such as hitch-hiking. The article also challenges the argument that youth tourism in the second half of the 20th century helped forge a transnational European identity: for the young migrants in question, some of their tourism practices in the 1960s and 1970s reinforced the idea of a North–South divide.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComparativ
Volume2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2014

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