Page 110 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
This form of memory encapsulation, put into effect by establishing a monopoly on the truth
about the past,
15
goes hand in hand with the de-capsulation of borders and identities, which is
one of the fundamental contradictions obstructing the process of inheriting. This is why it is so
difficult for the “20’s generation”, which is already a third and a fourth generation, to find meaning
and significance in“being-inheritor-to-Thracian-Bulgarians”outside situated interests (for instance,
when you would like to go on a trip with your friends or to sing in a folklore group in France, Italy,
Turkey, etc.).
What is more, in the situation of globalization, it is increasingly problematic for an ideology
which requires “upholding and realizing the Bulgarian national cause for Thrace” to unconditionally
interpellate
16
agents. Especially when this ideology boils down to upholding tradition, preserving
folklore heritage, conducting folklore festivals, participating in ritualistic visits to memorial places,
placing commemorative wreaths, opening churches and monuments, paying membership fees
and fundraising for all these activities.
17
The following topical effect occurs –
the more these activities are routinized, the more they
are emptied of their meaningful content; the more they are emptied of meaningful content, the more
conditional, rather than unconditional, the acceptance/transmission of inheritance of “Thracian
Bulgarian-ness” becomes
. As a result of this conditional interpellation in the Thracian idea, the
practices and strategies of the agents conducted by them with a view to retain (remembering and
recalling) inheritance are gradually transformed into practices and strategies for
taking advantage
of inheritance to some practical aims
.
18
In the course of our joint field work we identified a number of practices and strategies of this
kind: both on the institutional level – in the form of different cultural and social policies, and on the
everyday level – in the form of individual practical acts, oriented towards accomplishing one’s own
15 A process which is far from harmless since it is happening not only on the everyday level of “my grandma and
grandpa who are from there”, but also through constructions produced in the scholarly field. It is not co-incidental
that a whole institute was set up – the famous Thracian Institute, established in 1934 which aimed at producing the
“real” historical truth about the events “then”, superimposing scholarly over everyday constructions and acquiring in
the process the right to the monopoly over the production of official historical discourse with regard to the period of
re-settling Thracian Bulgarians from Edirne Thrace.
16 The problem of ideological interpellation is discussed by Mochnik (2005) who distinguishes between
conditional
and
unconditional
ideological interpellation in relation to the demand for meaning in interpretation. The
unconditional ideological interpellation in a certain ideology is the condition for the possibility of its symbolic efficacy
and in this case presupposes the formation of unconditional faith in the truth value of the ideological statement to
“uphold the Bulgarian national cause for Thrace”.
17 Such a displacement can be illustrated through the 26.03.2011 interviewwith the then President of the Union
of Thracian Societies in Bulgaria in which he described the goals of the Union in the following manner: “our core aims
lie in different directions… first – to defend, popularize and preserve the rich cultural and historical Thracian heritage.
Secondly, the contemporary ideology of the Thracian organization calls for “Thrace without borders” and Thracian
integration within the EU. Another important goal is the protection of Bulgarians abroad, the protection of Orthodox
Christianity abroad.” (See
Focus
newspaper, 26.03.2011). This discursive segment is indicative of the ways in which the
official discourse of the Union gradually transitions from the ideology calling for protection of human and property
rights of “Thracian refugees”
in particular
to a more general call for protecting “Bulgarians abroad”
altogether
the quantifier “all” Thracian Bulgarians from the beginning is gradually widened by an inductive quantifier and
becomes in the end “all” Bulgarians abroad. I don’t offer in the current study an analysis of the possible practical logic
interpretations entailed here.
18 How the “routine acts” of agents are subject to their practical aims is a core object of analysis in
ethnomethodology (Garfinkel 2005).