Page 182 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
table which presents the stratification based on the self-identification of our respondents, we
will see that the percentage of those who live in a flat without roommates corresponds exactly
to the percentage of those who identify themselves as rich (12%). The greater number of those
who identify themselves as middle class is distributed on the scale of those who rent a flat with
roommates. The rest, together with those who identify themselves as relatively poor, prefer the
dorms as a considerably better in economic terms option.
The conclusions we can draw from these empirical facts are that the family investment in
the formof savings ismostly directed towards the future of the children and their higher education.
These findings confirm our hypothesis that irrespective of their beneficial economic position, the
education of their children in Bulgaria still demands a considerable economic resource from the
Bulgarian out-migrants.
2.2. Forms of co-habitation
The next important factor considered in our study was the
choice of roommate
. Our
hypothesis was that when coming to Bulgaria the children of Bulgarian out-migrants would prefer
to share their living space with other children of Bulgarian migrants but it turned out that only a
small number of future roommates know each other from before. The conclusion we draw here
is that the fact of
out-migration in itself is not a significant marker
when young people who have
come to study in Bulgaria choose their roommates. The questions which aimed at establishing
how the social network is carried across the border, more specifically those related to the choice
of roommates, were introduced as part of our standardized questionnaire survey after the pilot
study in Edirne in 2009. Then our respondents shared with us that the “Balkan Turks” (this is the
term used in Turkey for the Turks who migrated from Bulgaria and from the other Balkan countries
mostly in the 1990s) are easily identifiable and that they would prefer them for shared living
arrangements or in a work environment.
Besides the dynamics of the field, a long-term study has to account for the dynamics of the
generations – students changewith every year. This iswhywe constructed and kept the two groups
mentioned previously. The difference in the generations is that in the first instance we discuss
representatives of that group which we called the
‘20’s generation’
, i.e. of those who were either
born in Turkey or have almost no memories of living in Bulgaria because they were very young at
the point of departure; in the second instance, we are talking about the
‘30’s generation’
– those
who had to live through the difficult situation of transitioning into a new social environment and
who had to rely on one another so as to succeed in the process of adaptation. The fact of ‘out-
migrating’ is a significant social marker for them based on the principle of, in Bourdieu’s terms,
“social neighbouring”, i.e. defined by the similar and adjacent positions which these people occupy
in the new and unfamiliar social space. With the students – children of Bulgarian out-migrants and
representatives of the 20’s generation – it is also a matter of adaptation into a new environment
when they come to study in Bulgaria but it is not as dramatically and traumatically unfamiliar as
it used to be the case for their older brothers and sisters. We are justified in claiming that they
have at their disposal a number of and a variety of spheres of relevance related to the new social