“Are Greeks Desperate for Heroes?” A Corpus-based Investigation of Colonial Discourses





Joining previous research on the discourses that have been produced on Greece by the Western press during recent years—particularly related to the economic crisis—the present article examines the British media narratives which covered the archaeological excavation of the mound of Kasta in Amphipolis, Greece, in order to trace any possible colonial discourses. By deploying corpus linguistics in the form of word lists and concordance tables, a total of 324 articles from 108 British publications were investigated. In this study, I argue that Michael Hertzfeld’s concept of ‘crypto-colonialism’ is an ongoing situation that Greece finds itself in and has been greatly perpetuated due to Western colonial discourses that manifest themselves both explicitly and implicitly. These discourses present the ancient past as a kind of cultural example that modern Greeks should somehow follow. Consequently, a cycle of self-colonisation where colonial discourses abroad inform self-colonising discourses domestically emerges, highlighting the dynamic and complex character of crypto-colonialism and the power relationship between the West and Greece that still exists. Finally, I advocate the benefits of using corpus linguistics in cultural research, as a tool for wide-reaching empirical research.

Author Biography

Dimitrios Chaidas, Faculty of Medieval & Modern languages, Kellogg College, University of Oxford

The author recently completed a master’s degree (M.St.) in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford. Being a holder of a master’s degree (M.Sc.) in Applied Linguistics (University of Edinburgh) and a B.A. in Greek Philology (University of Athens), he is interested in the fields of Critical Discourse Studies, Social Semiotics and Corpus Linguistics. His research so far has centred around the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods for the exploration of the ways in which power, dominance and social inequality are (re)produced, performed and disseminated through discourse.