Page 13 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
Kiprinos. The ‘permeability’ of the border could be analysed by means of the effects of the border
settlements: re-establishing old cultural, trade or economic links in theThrace region, re-discovering
border regions for the sake of national space, etc. Such phenomena as smuggling, ‘suitcase trading’,
shopping, business, sightseeing, or holiday making in Turkey fall within the limelight of research.
The towns close to the border are considered in view of the demographic and cultural
specificity, and the roleof transborder projects in instigatingpartnerships, developing local economy
and cultural links, and managing economic and political interests, or as a potential opportunity to
reconstruct the shared symbolic territory of Strandzha being part of Thrace in the Thrace region.
In the sphere of cultural ties, observation shows a one-way flow across the border, from
Bulgaria to Turkey. In the economic sphere it seems to be quite the other way around.
An important theoretical concern is the link between ethnicity, nationality and citizenship.
A few examples and practices of processing and using these notions have surfaced in the process
of observing the target groups. The research was focused on the interaction, interlinking, and
exchanging these forms of identification in the talk and everyday practices of migrants. The team
attempted to describe and discuss different forms of identification, outlining the experience and
practices of themigrants and their descendants, and highlighting themeaningful differences within
each of those communities.
Making results public
The results of this research have been made public at national and international academic
events. They have found their way into teaching at the
Paisii Hilendarski
University of Plovdiv and the
New Bulgarian University in Sofia. As part of the project, on 1
st
December 2009, an interdisciplinary
theoretical seminar entitled
Borders and Identities
took place in Plovdiv, involving Ethnology
and Sociology students from the University of Plovdiv. Presentations were made at the annual
summer school
Urban Anthropology
organised by NBU in 2009 (Rouse), 2010 (Rouse, Tutrakan, and
Razgrad), and 2011 (Smolian), as well as at the Anthropological research seminar at the department
of Anthropology at NBU. Drawing on the theoretical and empirical results of the research, team
members from the University of Plovdiv have designed several lecture modules.
The project was made widely popular by the exhibition
Shared Thrace
(authors Valentina
Ganeva-Raycheva and Nataliya Rashkova), which has been to Sofia, Plovdiv, Sliven, Haskovo, and
Svilengrad. It draws attention to the Thrace region beyond political borders, as a land of shared past,
shared memory, and shared heritage. The authors of the exhibition turn intercultural contacts and
cooperation, and constructing shared symbolic spaces into a focal point of the exhibition. Thought
of as a result, the exhibition developed into a research experiment and a tool for discerning attitudes,
stereotypes and ways of interpreting topics such as ‘Thrace’, ‘Thracian refugees’, ‘Turkey in the EU’,
‘shared past’, etc. both at institutional and personal levels.
An impressive amount of materials has been gathered as part of the project, much of which
is still to be analysed. Within the time frame of the project, the team observed and documented
dynamicphenomenawith reference to the two target groups,whichgivesdensity toour conclusions,
launches new research emphases, and occasionally redefines the tendencies outlined so far.
Translated by Vitana Kostadinova