Page 124 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
off fireworks, shot forth with the aim to “provoke”, to “shock”, to reveal her “difference” and her total
dissimilarity with “others” – the ordinary Turks.
After finishing high school in Turkey, Dilyana/Aishe worked in many and different places: in
a Russian shop for leather clothes in Antalia, where she learnt Russian; then she left for Israel and
worked for four years as a tour guide to Russian tourists and learnt Hebrew; then she went back
to her birth town in Bulgaria; then left for Varna where she worked as a tour guide for Russian and
Jewish tourists and started – via her Russian – to learn Bulgarian again; she got married to – as
she put it – a “Bulgarian-Christian” who occupied a high position in the municipality; worked in
the private hotel of her mother-in-law as a manager, tour guide, etc.; since she felt she did not
possess an“adequate level of education”, at the age of 32 she started studying“Turkish and Russian
philology” at a Bulgarian university. I would say that every discursive element of this auto-story
marks a new phase in her biographical trajectory. It is in the last phase that we – the researchers –
met Dilyana/Aishe in Edirne in her capacity of an agent who is engaged in a “double play” – “along
the rules and against the rules”. In this phase she was with her special
double status
of a“Bulgarian
student”, studying at a Turkish university on an Erasmus exchange.
These empirical data gathered by means of the auto-biographical story and memory
which I call “discursive confessional practices”
34
give me grounds to posit the following thesis:
“the
contradictory inheritor” Dilyana/Aishe refuses to accept the “inheritance” bestowed on her
by her parents and becomes a specific border figure.
What are the particular features of this type of borderlines and in what ways is it different
from the different empirical modalities in the so-called “30’s generation” which is, in practice,
Dilyana/Aishe’s generation? Here we are not talking about adaptation“to” and gradual habituation
“of” foreign social space, as in the cases of E.V. and F. discussed above. This also is not the case of
the perpetually “coming” and “going” Lela and her drama at the attempt to transform this space
from“foreign” to“one’s own”. Here we are talking about a completely different type of habitus – one
which is not structured by the initially foreign social space, but one which creates a unique “no
man’s” social space which is vested with one’s own structures.
My thesis is that Dilyana/Aishe forms a specific habitus of
“living on the border” which
is amorphous and heterogeneous, yet relatively non-contradictory from the perspective of
doxa experience of the world.
Initially, this habitus is formed by heterogeneous and sometimes contradictory official
discourses which shape heterogeneous identities. The two contradictory discourses tell her
in contradictory ways ‘what-she-is’, ‘what-she-should-do-in-accordance-with-what-she-is’ and
‘what-she-has-done-being-what-she-is’.
35
34 This is the notion which I use to describe those everyday socio-(self )analytical practices which, as a specific
form of “confessing (professing) faith”, are part of the ontological hermeneutics of the Self (in the sense attrubted by
Foucault). This is why for me they are specific discursive heterotopia of (self )transformation (i.e. not becoming “what
you are” as a form of social experience) of the everyday agent of the practice (cf. Penkova 2011b).
35 This duality is described in strikingly precise terms in the following snippet from the interview with S. K. who
related his childhood memories of the “renaming”, quoting his class teacher who was also the leader of the math club
in his school. The disappointment with the dual role played by the teacher in the eyes of the then child was clearly
manifested in the tone of the interviewee. “You don’t know the story, you were Bulgarians then, the Ottoman Empire
changed your names. It is hard to believe – you were a Turk until the age of 11 or 12 and then one day they tell you that