Immigrant Activism in Greece before and during the Crisis (2000-2015)
: Organisation, Alliances, and Litigation

  • Konstantinos Gousis

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Μigration, in mainstream discourses, is mainly framed as a ‘threat’, a ‘risk’, or an ‘opportunity’ for capitalist growth and development. In contrast, this thesis sees immigrants and refugees as an integral part of the contemporary working class and explores its multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, and multi-gendered character. Thus, it points towards a potential new ‘We’ in the making, based on
solidarity and cross-fertilisation of ideas and practices between immigrant and native workers.
Linking critical migration studies to political philosophy, and social movement approaches to critical legal studies, this thesis explores a wide variety of immigrant activism cases that illustrate their militant, innovative and impactful political engagements. Notably, the research sheds light on the
impact of the Greek crisis on immigrant and refugee communities and relates their collective responses in the post-2008 period to immigrant militancy during the 2000s. Although Greece is the central focus of this research, these distinctive stories of labour and feminist organising, citizenship struggles and justice campaigns, are situated within the European context and a broader internationalist perspective.
To this end, it draws attention to transnational identities and solidarities connecting stories from Africa, Asia, the Balkans, and Western Europe. As opposed to post-hegemonic approaches, this thesis proposes a collaborative strategising research and explains its distinctive features as a mutual learning process based on dialogue, trust, and solidarity. Using 14 life history interviews with immigrant activists and 6 semi-structured interviews with lawyers, this research brings focus into various aspects related to the question of organisation, as well as social alliances and litigation. By highlighting past victories, drawing lessons from defeats, and identifying ‘best practice’ activism, this thesis shows how immigrant activists contributed to a deeper understanding of the stakes of the crisis and a way out of it.
Date of Award31 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SponsorsTECHNE AHRC Doctoral Training Programme
SupervisorProfessor Aisha K. Gill Ph.D. CBE (Director of Studies) & Nina Power (Co-Supervisor)


  • immigrant activism
  • organisation
  • alliances
  • litigation
  • Greece
  • crisis

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