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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
CONTRADICITONS OF INHERITANCE ON BOTH SIDES
OF THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER:
SOCIO-ANALYSIS AND DISCURSIVE PRACTICES
Stoyka Penkova
The present text is positioned within
socio-analysis
1
and as such attempts to present a
possible approach to the study of heritage and memory in the context of our contemporary, in the
words of Christopher Lacsh,“societyofmobility”inwhicheverything is“on themove”– images, ideas,
people, social knowledge, and information. Essentially, such a vision of mobility presupposes both
transfers of cultural models and interpretations, and at the same time their contradictory clashes
as a result of which there emerge strange assimilated combinations and hybrid forms, different
institutional models are transferred to other contexts, a number of people change their cultural and
social environment. All this leads to forefronting multiple boundaries (both on an everyday level
and on the level of scholarly analysis) and provokes an increasing dynamic in research concepts
and reflections, as well as formations of new theoretical viewpoints with which to render the types
of
contradictory inheritance
resulting from such questioning of boundaries.
Along these lines, my research focused on the socioanalytical explication of themechanisms
of inheriting and memory with the inheritors of two core migrant groups – that of the so-called
Thracian Bulgarians from Edirne Thrace and of the Bulgarian out-migrants to Turkey, in particular,
of the representatives of those two groups in two border towns – Tzarevo and Edirne, where I
conducted field research together with Meglena Zlatkova in the period 2009–2011. Our joint
field and analytical work within the framework of “contradictions of inheritance” (Bourdieu 1999)
whereby we studied the successors of the two migrant groups
2
(Zlatkova, Penkova, 2011, 2012)
allowed me to identify several important areas worthy of analysis and related to the discursive
space surrounding the fields of production and usage of the discourse of inheritance with these
two groups.
The first sphere of emerging analytical issues is related to explicating those
forms of
contradictory inheritance
evident in empirical terms on both sides of the border. In my view, the
metaphor offered by Bourdieu fits perfectly a study which focuses on the ways in which heritage
is “used” on behalf of the successors of Bulgarian Turks who settled in Edirne and of the Thracian
1 In the sense attributed to socio-analysis by Bourdieu which entails explication of
social conditions of
production and use
by agents and their practices, as well as the positions they occupy in the social world.
2 This study discusses some of the results of the larger project “Re-settlers and migrants on both sides of the
Bulgarian-Turkish border: heritage, identity, intercultural interaction” supported by the National Science Fund. In
particular, what underlies the present study are the results of our joint field work with Meglena Zlatkova conducted
in the sub-project ““Contradicitons of inheritance” and the children of Bulgarian out-migrants to Turkey (‘the 20’s
generation’ and ‘the 30’s generation’)” rendered in Zlatkova, Penkova 2011, 2012; Zlatkova 2011; Penkova 2011. The
“contradictory inheritors” are not homogeneous but heterogenous in complex and particular ways, which gave us
grounds to offer a differentiation between “the generation in their 20’s” and “the generation in their 30’s” among
the successors to Bulgarian out-migrants on the grounds of ‘social generation’, i.e. a social group revealing of close
“neighbouring”, to employ the vocabulary of Pierre Bourdieu, social and biographical life chances.