Nationalism and the lost homeland: The case of Greece
As evidenced by the radical changes to state organisation, legitimacy and the international order in the past couple of centuries with the development of nationalist ideology, nationalism inherently carries a spatial dimension that translates into an assertion for control of land. This way, it transforms the land to an ancestral national homeland rightfully belonging to ‘the nation’. But what if that land was lost to another nation? Embarking from Anthony Smith's ethno-symbolist approach on the construction of national homelands, this article will attempt a theoretical approach on the construction of the lost national homelands. These are usually cases where military defeats led to mass expulsions of populations from their ancestral lands, while nationalist ideologies appropriated them as lost national homelands. The main argument is that the idea of the lost homelands has turned into a symbol of these nationalist ideologies and a constituent element of the respective national identities. Drawing from Greek perceptions of their lost homelands, this article will explore the mechanisms of the nationalisation of space process that elaborated the nationalisation of those homelands even after they became ‘lost’ for the Greek nation. This article contributes to the studies of the spatial dimensions of national identities, the effects of forced population transfers in identity politics and the creation of national myths and symbols.