Unwed pregnancy and adoption in postwar Greece (1950–1983)

Eirini Papadaki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the mid-1990s, more and more stories about reunions of adoptees with birth families in Greece are being made public via the media (mostly television). These stories have brought to the fore, for the first time, past violence that had been inflicted by the state, by close relatives, and by local communities upon poor unmarried mothers. This article focuses on the birthmothers’ social and precarious economic position, the violence of the normative values of “honor and shame” and the total lack of state and affiliation networks to support these vulnerable women, whose only available legitimate choice was to relinquish their child for adoption. Years after they had relinquished their newborn children for adoption, and when attitudes within Greek society towards the status of women had changed, these birthmothers had found various ways to keep their memories alive and to claim their position as mothers of their relinquished infants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-293
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Modern Greek Studies
Issue number2
Early online date11 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


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