Page 12 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
political usage of memory and heritage. The initiative for a Thrace with no borders, also known as
the Thrace Euroregion, has been duly examined too.
Emphases in the research on BulgarianTurks, migrants toTurkey.
The novelty here is the
focus on the transborder experienceandstyleof lifeof the resettlers since1989.Migrationandborder
crossing are considered a factor, which has recast their understanding of such categories as kinship,
ethnic or religious belonging. There is a process of strengthening relations of kinship and locality
among the first generation of resettlers, and restructuring family roles and relations in migration.
The border is considered interiorised space and a component actively transforming the notion of
local community and belonging. In spite of the remoteness of the Bulgarian-Turkish border for some
local communities with considerable emigration to Turkey, life there is directed and structured
by the border. Discussing and narrating the ‘Revivalist process’, or resettling, are the objects of an
analysis that highlights several specific traits of the personal narratives about the experience across
the border: the current objectives and concerns of the story-tellers are foremost in the interpretation
of events past; the endeavour to represent resettling as ‘a success story’ dominates the discourse
with references to victimisation being avoided; representing resettlers as victims seems to be the
emphasis of public commemorative and political discourses; a process of standardising the stories
of emigration and resettlement is taking place, which is an instrument for constructing a positive
group image of the resettlers in Bulgarian society and in Turkish society. These issues have been
central in Magdalena Elchinova’s publications, which also address the following research topics:
categorising resettlers and migrants on both sides of the Bulgarian-Turkish border and in a variety
of social contexts and public discourses; the border as a category of time and psyche, shaping up
the perception of experience from the past and the different ‘Others’; religion as an instrument of
adaptation in a different social setting and for constructing group identity; social stratification of the
resettlers and the impact of the place of resettlement.
Ayse Parla’s publications add to our knowledge of migration to Turkey and the community
of Turks with a Bulgarian origin. She has studied labour migration from Bulgaria after the 1990s, the
impact of Bulgaria’s joining the EU on the migration flow from Bulgaria to Turkey, etc.
Migration and music
is the field of the expert in ethnomusicology in our team, namely N.
Rashkova. Shehasdelved into the folkmusical cultureof Bulgarians fromThrace, examining the roleof
the
acapella
folkgroups, andof thenational and regionalThracian folk fests for preserving the singing
tradition from the villages of the forefathers, with an emphasis on the cultural contacts between
Bulgarian and Turkish musicians, especially in an urban context. She has analysed the maintenance
of the local music specificity among Turks of Bulgarian origin and some of the descendants of the
earlier waves of settlers. Her essay highlights the specificity of Turkish emigrants fromNorth-Eastern
Bulgaria when compared to other groups of settlers in Edirne and Istanbul. Apparently, Bulgarian
musical folklore is one of the ways of maintaining a spiritual connection with Bulgarian culture.
The border – local, national, transnational. TheThrace region
issue
.What is themeaning
of opening the border with Turkey for the Bulgarian population in the region? The problem is being
researched in the Haskovo area: Svilengrad, Lubimets, and Haskovo in particular. Parallels are made
with the Bulgarian-Greek border at Ivaylovgrad with a focus on the border checkpoint Slaveevo—