Have you called your mum yet today? If Professor Demetrios Georgas’ research is anything to go by, the chances are fairly strong.

The University of Athens professor spoke at the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne, Victoria (GOCMV) last Wednesday about the changing role of the Greek family.

Professor Georgas revealed results from an international thirty year study, which found that Greeks and Cypriots maintained stronger bonds with their family members compared to other countries.

“Although people have moved from the villages to Athens or Thessaloniki or other areas, they buy houses that are nearby their families and they visit them very often,” he told Neos Kosmos.

“Greece and Cyprus are also number one and two in terms of telephone frequency amongst family members,” he said.

Despite the maintenance of strong family ties, Professor Georgas pointed out that economic and educational developments in Greece have led to the abandonment of traditional family values.

The biggest changed he said, was the decrease of authority of the father figure. “In the past when a father or grandfather was speaking, his word was law but that’s not the case anymore,” he said.

“Education has increased and women now work independently and provide economically in the family which is related to the lack of authority of the father and grandfather when Greece was primarily an agricultural society.”
Professor Georgas pointed out that younger Greek and Cypriot fathers tended to be more involved in childcare when compared to fathers in other countries.

Also in transition was the stigma associated with de-facto relationships and homosexuality.

“Everyone is on the Internet and there are plenty of programs which explore these issues and they are explored openly,” he said. “Greece has always been a very traditional family but homosexuality is certainly much more in the open now.”

Professor Georgas will take his research one step further by collaborating with Professor Michael Kyrios of Swinburne University to investigate how the Greek family differs from the Greek-Australian family.