Page 11 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
religion.ThechoiceofTsarevocanbe justified inmore thanoneway. It is thecentreof a largeBulgarian
municipality in the South-Eastern part of the country, close to the border withTurkey. Tsarevo, Kiten,
Ahtopol, Varvara, Sinemorets, and the villages in their area in the Strandzha mountains abound in
refugees from Eastern and Western Thrace. The region offers excellent opportunities to research
different generations of migrants, which goes hand in hand with the specificity of constructing
one’s legacy and expressing one’s identity.
Svilengrad is a singular case, defined by its residents as a town of three states, ‘within hearing
distance’ from Edirne. This determines the peculiarities of its development, the standard of life,
its social stratification, the striking contrasts, the mobility of its population in view of crossing the
border, and therefore is of interest to researchers.
Research interests exemplified by teammembers’ publications
For the sake of brevity, these will be outlined in a summary.
Themechanismsofinheritingandcontinuityfromgenerationtogenerationofmigrants
.
Analyses of inheriting lean towards three modalities: a complete reproduction of tradition, i.e. ‘full
inheritance’; a new perception of what is inherited that allows the new generation to identify things
previously obscured; and, finally, a complete breachwith one’s heritage. Bourdieu’smetaphor, which
describes the possible modifications of the “contradictions of inheritance,” has been employed in
our researchwhen it comes to the ways of utilising heritage – here we refer to the two target groups:
emigrants and their descendants in Edirne, as well as the ancestors of the refugees from Thrace in
Tsarevo and the Strandzha area. Case studies highlight the specificity of bequeathing and inheriting
at a personal level in people’s everyday practices, but also at the level of institutions.
The project has made a contribution by targeting the younger generation and researching
migration in the context of the‘society of knowledge’and the mobile individuals. Facilitated by their
own methodology and detailed questionnaires, Stoyka Penkova and Meglena Zlatkova research
the specificity of inheriting revealed by the descendants of Turks from Bulgaria, now students at
universities in Plovdiv, Varna or Edirne. The two scholars point to the noticeable differences between
generations. In order to research the young people, who were born in Bulgaria or in Turkey and
chose to relocate themselves as an expression of their life strategy with reference to education,
career, marriage, etc., they employ the analytical figure ‘going back across the border’ and thus
outline the existing tendencies.
The observation of the Thracian youth clubs traces the specificity of inheriting and tags their
leaders the ‘contradictory descendants’.
Policies and practices of constructingmemory and heritage. Institutions thatmake the
community legitimate and its authorised speakers
. The study of the institutions of the two target
groups points to a number of similarities. One can notice a certain ‘encapsulation’, or ‘hardening’ of
perceptions and this refers to both heritage and memory. For objective reasons, the organisations
of Bulgarians fromThrace have been observed in greater detail. The analyses focus on constructing
Thracian sites of memory and linking them to the national tale, creating social networks that activate
different resources by means of the symbolic capital of Thracian Bulgarians, and resorting to the