The Mediterranean diaspora in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, provides an excellent vantage point for the examination of solidarity economies that challenge inequalities and nexuses of power relations on both local and international levels. Despite its sociopolitical and cultural significance for the study of diasporic negotiations of nationalism and the constitution of transnational bonds, however, Chapel Hill’s Mediterranean communities are unrepresented in the literature. Combining participant observation with anecdotal cross-cultural encounters and oral histories, this article demonstrates that Chapel Hill’s Mediterranean diaspora creates alliances in ways that exceed the nation-state. Once uprooted from their geopolitical context, Chapel Hill’s Mediterranean communities, which consist of first-generation immigrants, refer to their shared Mediterraneanness in order to enhance and make sense of their bottom-up world-making practices and their subversive capacities. Performance, both as formally aestheticized cultural practices and as everyday expressive acts, is of key significance for the ways in which these communities negotiate the politics of solidarity and develop alliances within and beyond the nation-state. Therefore, the author draws upon the “performative turn” in ethnography and proposes a methodology that utilizes performance as both research content and a way of knowing.

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