Collective memory and blood fleud -the case of mountainous Crete

University of Plymouth

By Aris Tsantiropoulos

Drawing upon ethnographic data from mountainous central Crete, a feuding society up to the present moment, this article will focus on cases of retaliatory crimes where men avenge a relative who was killed before they were born. In these cases, what is interesting is that there do not seem to be any factors in the present to fuel the fire of a past animosity between the two kinship groups. Instead, these men seek revenge looking either for the murderer himself or for one of his male relatives in the places where they were forced to emigrate after the commitment of crime in order to avoid the perpetuation of violent actions. Reflecting upon crime in a feuding society as a ‘cultural trauma’ for the identity of the victim’s kinship group, and elaborating upon the ideas that Freud has exposed in his article ‘Mourning and Melancholia’, the ways by which a memory of a past crime triggers another crime are explored here.

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