Page 104 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
1) of the
position
which the agent occupies in social space;
2) of the
practical experience of inheriting
, acquired in the form of practical schemata (i.e. in
the form of “embodied forms of the fundamental structures of a social universe”).
Such a methodological choice is justified for several reasons. On the one hand, it allows
for a praxeological understanding of the ways in which a certain social essence is ascribed to the
inheritors and “they become what they are”. “Become what you are” is “the formula underlying the
performative magic of all acts of instituting” (Bourdieu 1991: 122). A very important aspect, in view
of the fact that attributing social essence presupposes instituting identity, i.e. affirming a name,
and name-giving as an act of instituting means providing a social definition, i.e.
signification
of
“what” somebody is (“a refugee from Edirne Thrace”, a “Thracian”, an “out-migrant to the Republic
of Turkey”, a “Balkan Turk”
6
) and “how” he
is to behave as a result from this
(to “not forget”, to
“remember”, to “look forward”, etc.). Secondly, insofar as the attributed through mechanisms of
instituting and inheriting social essences “enclose those whom they characterize within the limits
that are assigned to them and that they are made to recognize” (Bourdieu 1991: 135), they gain
importance when we discuss
boundary
issues from a socioanalytical perspective. Consecrating
the boundary, that “durable difference”, entails vesting it with social meaning, i.e. recognizing and
affirming it as such. In this way difference becomes
social
difference, the border acquires seemingly
“real” (natural) dimensions, while the instituted individual (“authorized person”) is dressed in the
symbolic efficacy of her
instituted identity
. Last but not least, the problem of the “border” and by
extension the border position of the groups studied here acquires a different dimension in the
context of the formation of particular border zones – as I call them – “living on the border”. These
zones are filled with agents, objects, discourses and discursive practices, which are to be
leveled
in the course of their social interactions (so that “the self-respecting heir will behave like an heir
and […] will be inherited by the heritage” (Bourdieu 1991: 135), i.e. “will become what he is”). But
they resist leveling practices insofar as there is a particular phenomenon of otherness in them,
of difference and/or strangeness, which leads to different forms of contradictions of inheriting (in
the words of Bourdieu, “This, of course, is barring accidents. There are exceptions: the unworthy
heir, the priest who abandons his calling, the nobleman who demeans himself and the bourgeois
who turns common.” (1991: 135). As a result, there appears a methodological necessity – when we
are to study the contradictions of inheriting – to begin a discussion of the border case, which the
chosen by me representatives of the two migrant groups constitute, through the methods and
instruments of
socio-analysis
7
, whereby in the stories of the most personal hardships, of the
6 All these being“names”and social essences which are by far not innocent from the viewpoint of their everyday
interpretation on behalf of one or the other migrant group, and which names provoke certain theoretical “arguments”
in view of their scholarly interpretation. Our project team dedicated particular attention to the discussion of the
issue of name-attribution both at its internal seminars and at the academic conference conducted within the project
and entitled “Migration on both sides of the Bulgarian-Turkish border: heritage, identities, intercultural interactions”,
organized by IEFEM of the Bulgarian Academy of Science, together with New Bulgarian Universaity and The Paisii
Hilendarski University of Plovdiv, in Sofia 1-2 December 2011.
7 Here I would insist on introducing an additional praxeological perspective in such a socio-analysis – that
of the endogenic level of practices. My insistence is prompted by the fact that even if Bourdieu’s socio-analysis is
sensitized to their microscopic dimensions, because of the chosen social space model, Bourdieu’s socio-analysis is
inclined to neglect the
ecstatic
of ontological complicity between biographical and social
illusio
.